2022 PH local races

Davao NGO worker challenges Paolo Duterte’s congressional bid

Herbie Gomez
Davao NGO worker challenges Paolo Duterte’s congressional bid

IN THE RUNNING. NGO worker Mags Z. Maglana shows her COC with her legal counsel, Dean Manny Quibod of Ateneo de Davao Law School, after she submitted her papers to the Comelec in Davao. Maglana is running against Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte.

Mags Z. Maglana Campaign Team

'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 at the expense of people’s rights and welfare and good governance,' says Maglana

Prominent Mindanao-based non-governmental organization worker Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana is challenging the reelection bid of the eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao’s 1st congressional district.

Popularly known in NGO circles as Mags Z. Maglana, she filed her certificate of candidacy for congresswoman against Davao 1st District Representative Paolo “Polong” Duterte before the Commission on Elections on Friday afternoon, October 8.

Maglana had strong words in a prepared statement about her candidacy: “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 at the expense of people’s rights and welfare and good governance.

(We should trash the old governance playbook of Davao City which has been used for 35 years. We were tied to a situation where the interest of only a few reigned supreme at the expense of people’s rights and welfare and good governance.)

She promised to work on proposals to rid the country of political dynasties, post-COVID-19 measures, and oppose any move seen to breed dictatorship and authoritarianism.  

Maglana said she was counting on the support of Davao’s progressive groups in her attempt to unseat Duterte’s son who, before getting elected a congressman in 2019, served as the city’s vice mayor.

Maglana said the Davao-based Konsyensya Dabaw has thrown its support behind her bid.

The group is known to be part of a network of organizations of women, workers, youth, farmers, Lumad, Bangsamoro and LGBTQIA rights advocates, and informal settlers, among others.

Maraming mga progresibo sa Davao City: the politically progressive, the economically progressive, the socially progressive, the culturally progressive, the environmentally progressive, and the technologically progressive. Bawat isa, may kayang ibahagi.

(There are a lot of progressives in Davai City: the politically progressive, the economically progressive, the socially progressive, the culturally progressive, the environmentally progressive, and the technologically progressive. All have something to share.)

Maglana added: “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.”

Shared vision

She said that to be able to explore other and better futures, citizens “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.”

Maglana said, “Mao na ni ang higayon para mag-uban ug magtinabangay kita para atong matabok sa sunod nga ang-ang ug yugto ang Davao sa atong mga pangandoy.” (This is the time for us to unite and help each other so we can cross to the next chapter of our dream for Davao.

Maglana, a known peace and development worker, brings with her candidacy three decades of experience in accompanying local governments and communities through capacity building, technical assistance, and direct support.

She has been involved in policy development and advocacy work to pass responsive legislation at the local, regional, and national levels. 

A daughter of migrants who came to Mindanao in the 1950s and who has made Davao her home city, Maglana has been known as a supporter of indigenous peoples and an advocate of Bangsamoro rights since the mid-1980s. 

Maglana said her candidacy is based on the idea that Davao is a product of many historical processes. “But in a fundamental way, it is also about people’s aspirations for a better life.”

“In general, nais kong dalhin ang boses ng mga nasa unang distrito ng (I want to bring the voices of those of the 1st District of) Davao to help address national or sub-national issues that require legislative response. Related to this, dapat gamitin ang (we should use the) legislative platform to call attention to matters that concern the people of the 1st District, the rest of Davao, and Mindanao.” – Rappler.com