DAVAO CITY – A former president of Ateneo de Davao University has expressed support for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s candidacy for the country’s highest executive position.
Emeterio Barcelon, Ateneo de Davao’s first president when it gained university status in 1977, said Duterte “will fully harness Mindanao’s development potentials and will eventually help accelerate the growth of the Philippines.”
“His main agenda is peace and order. He has shown that he is good at that in Davao,” he said.
He said that the Davao mayor could be the catalyst that would unleash Mindanao’s full economic potential.
“If Duterte gets elected as President, the Mindanao problem will be solved. And Mindanao will carry the whole nation to the prosperity that it deserves,” said Barcelon.
For Barcelon, Duterte could spur “the development of power sources, especially hydro resources, which abound in Mindanao.”
“Mindanao has at least 20 potential large hydro powers, like Pulangi five’s potential 500 megawatts, that can be developed,” he said.
‘Minerals need to be explored to alleviate poverty’
The Jesuit priest also cited the island’s rich natural resources that are waiting to be tapped to help alleviate poverty.
“Gold, copper, nickel and other precious metals are left in the ground while people have no jobs and suffering from hunger,” he said.
In 2011, the Mindanao Daily Mirror described Barcelona as a vocal supporter of the mining industry, and quoted him as saying that “the Catholic Church is not against mining.”
In the said report, he was quoted as saying that a third of all the bishops in the country is for responsible mining, and that “the mining industry is the nation’s only way to squarely address poverty and unemployment.”
In the same year, the Union of Catholic Asian News also reported that Barcelon was in favor of the open-pit mining operations in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
His views run in contrast with the current president of Ateneo de Davao, Fr. Joel Tabora, who has campaigned against the said open-pit mining in the province.
To recall, the said $5.9 billion copper and gold mining project attracted controversies as concerned groups pointed out that increased militarization to protect the area caused human rights violations against indigenous peoples who inhabit in the same area.
Duterte talks “crazy” but gets things done
On Duterte’s tough-talk and expletives, Barcelon admitted that “he says crazy things but he gets things done.”
In December last year, Duterte has spurred controversies after admitting that he was molested by a Jesuit priest in high school while he was still a freshman.
Duterte was a former student of the Ateneo de Davao High School department before he was expelled.
He also made headlines after his speech during his proclamation Monday where he uttered expletives, which did not spare Pope Francis when he commented on a traffic jam due to the Pope’s visit in January last year.
On December 4, 2015, Duterte met with the Catholic leaders to whom he promised that he would lessen his use of cuss words.
Duterte met with the Archbishop of Davao, Archbishop Romulo Valles and Bishop George Rimando, Auxiliary Bishop of Davao together with Monsignor Paul Cuison.
Who is Barcelon?
At present, Barcelon is senior vice president at F & J Prince Holdings Corporation (FJP), a publicly-listed company with interests in mining and oil exploration before 1997. FJP’s subsidiaries are Pointwest Technologies Corporation, Business Process Outsourcing International, Inc. and Magellan Capital Holdings Corporation.
Barcelon also taught at the Asian Institute of Management and was a senior fellow at the Development Academy of the Philippines. He holds a number of post graduate degrees from several US universities.
Known as Fr. Terry to his friends, Barcelon finished his Masters of Business Administration and Doctor in Philosophy in Business Administration from New York University, according to Xavier University. (with additional reports from Mick Basa/davaotoday.com)