DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 October) – Governance, peace and development worker Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana filed Friday afternoon her certificate of candidacy (COC) for 1st district Representative, the second to challenge Presidential son Paolo Duterte’s reelection bid but the first to openly say the need to end the governance playbook in the city in the past 35 years under the leadership of long-time mayor and now President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and family, challenging residents to “explore other and better futures” with a “shared vision and a commitment to make way for what is possible, rather than just stick with what we have gotten used to.”
As of 2 p.m. on Friday, Maglana was the third to file her COC for 1st district Representative, a post held by the Presidential son since 2019. Last Monday, businessman Jamal Ranon Kanan, chief executive officer of a recruitment agency, filed his COC for the same post and told reporters he will be proposing laws that would provide employment opportunities.
Like their brother Paolo, Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte are also seeking reelection.
Maglana expounded on why she is running for the post and what her legislative agenda is in a statement read before reporters waiting outside the filing area of the Commission on Elections in Magsaysay Park, in mixed Cebuano, Filipino and English.
“Kailangan nang itapon ang lumang governance playbook ng Davao City na siyang ginamit for 35 years. Itinatali tayo nito sa mga sitwasyong ang interes ng iilan ang nangingibabaw (We need to throw out Davao City’s obsolete governance playbook that has been in effect for 35 years. For too long it has trapped us in situations where the interests of a few are gratified) at the expense of people’s rights and welfare and good governance,” said Maglana, one of the convenors, and spokesperson, of Konsyensya Dabaw.
Filing her COC as an independent candidate, Maglana explained that Davao City is not lacking in progressive citizens: the politically progressive, the economically progressive, the socially progressive, the culturally progressive, the environmentally progressive, and the technologically progressive, and each one can contribute much to the betterment of the city.
“But we need an enabling environment that will allow us to get our acts together and step up. This will not happen if we continue to accept that our future is exclusively reliant on the same recurring family names and that all that we have to do as citizens is to be passive and compliant,” Maglana said, adding that for citizens to “explore other and better futures, we need a shared vision and a commitment to make way for what is possible, rather than just stick with what we have gotten used to.”
“This is the time and opportunity for us to work together and help each other to transition to a new chapter to achieve the Davao City of our dreams,” Maglana stressed in both Filipino and Cebuano.
Maglana was at the Comelec filing venue at around 12:15 p.m. to file her COC but technicalities prevented her from filing. The Comelec said the downloaded forms should be printed back to back on long size bond paper. Maglana’s COC was printed on A4 paper with one side only. She returned after an hour and her papers accepted at 1:50 p.m.
The 52-year old Maglana has 30 years of experience in accompanying local governments and communities through capacity building, technical assistance, and direct support and has been involved in policy development and advocacy work to pass responsive legislation at the local, regional, and national level. She is also a most sought after facilitator in conferences in government and non-governmental organizations.
Among her forte is her long engagement with multistakeholders such as national and local government, civil society, communities, the private sector, the security sector, and international partners to find common ground and work together for sustainable development and durable peace.
In broad strokes, Maglana said she wants to amplify the voices of the first district of Davao to the halls of Congress “to help address national or sub-national issues that require legislative response” and to use the legislative platform “to call attention to matters that concern the people of the first district, the rest of Davao, and Mindanao.”
To achieve these, she called on the citizenry to be active in governance, adding that their representative must keep dialoguing and listening to them, and challenge them to participate continuously and not only during the election period.
Maglana also wants to help solve the problems of the country that have long been waiting for “resolute at effective legislative action” such as the absence of an anti-dynasty law, the pandemic response, and the resistance to a resurgence of dictatorial and authoritarian forces.
For these reasons, she said, she is ready to work with groups with the same vision, during the campaign period and beyond.
High marks and student activism
A consistent honor student since elementary — she was the valedictorian of Class 1981 at the University of Immaculate Conception here — Maglana spent high school in St. Rita College in Manila and returned to Davao City for college at the Ateneo de Davao University where she was a Dean’s lister. Her former teachers continue to praise her for maintaining high marks even as she was a high-profile student activist.
Maglana was Outstanding Student of ADDU’s Philosophy Division in 1987 and 1988, Most Outstanding Student of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1988 and was Best Debater in the 1986 Speechfest.
She served as President of the ADDU’s Samahan Central Board for two terms, was founding chair of the Davao Alliance of Student Councils, national chair of the 4th Buklod Atenista and Vice Chair for Mindanao of the National Union of Students of the Philippines.
She finished AB Philosophy in 1991 and returned to ADDU in 2011 to take up MA in Anthropology, Major in Environmental Anthropology where she completed all the academic requirements and the comprehensive academic exams. She also earned some units for Master in Public Management at the University of the Philippines Open University Program.
Until recently, she wrote a weekly column for SunStar Davao and contributed opinion pieces to MindaNews.
Maglana is also one of the convenors, and spokesperson, of Konsyensa Dabaw, an open movement of groups and individuals from and in Davao who are against dictatorship and martial law. It was organized in August 2016, initially to protest the burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani of the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos who declared martial law in 1972 and ruled the country until his ouster in February 1986 by People Power. Konsyensa Dabaw subscribes to “human rights and are inspired by the Davao we know: a diverse, inclusive, and progressive community.”
Maglana said her filing a COC is supported by Konsyensya Dabaw and various sectors such as women, professionals, youth, LGBTQIA, informal settlers, workers, farmers, Lumads and Bangsamoro.
“Magsugod na kita sa atong hiniusang pagpaningkamot. Magsubang na ang bag-ong adlaw dinhi sa Davao! (Let us now begin with our collective desire. A new day is dawning here in Davao), she said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)