by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — The Nacionalista Party marked its 100th anniversary Wednesday night, Nov. 28, with a gathering of national and local party leaders at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Senate President Manuel Villar and the party president called on his party-mates to continue their fight for nationalism and against poverty.
“As public servants, we should keep in mind our motto – Ang Bayan Higit Sa Lahat (The Nation Above All Else) – as we go along with our responsibility to provide a better future for our people,” said.
Villar also unveiled a new book, entitled “Building the Nation: First 100 Years, Nacionalista Party 1907-2007” to mark the party’s centennial.
“It tells us a story of how past party presidents – Sergio Osmeña, Manuel L. Quezon, Jose Yulo, Eulogio Rodriguez Sr., Gil J. Puyat, Jose B. Laurel Jr., Salvador Laurel – navigated through the colonial, neo-colonial, and independent stages of the country, producing in the process six presidents,” Villar said.
The book, which explores the early days of the organization to the present, details how the party flourished and struggled through the days of glory and trials of the Filipino people in building the nation in the last century.
“We are the new breed of Nacionalistas – young, dynamic and vibrant. Guided by the wisdom and virtues of our forefathers, we will continue to move forward towards the realization of our goal to provide a better future for the Filipino people,” Villar added.
House Speaker Jose de Venecia, May 2007 senatorial candidates Ralph Recto and Butch Pichay, party-list representative Satur Ocampo and other politicians joined their Nacionalista colleagues in the anniversary celebration.
The NP’s centennial anniversary also marked the launched of Pondo sa Sipag – Puhunan sa Tiyaga, a nationwide project aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and providing livelihood opportunities.
“A nation of entrepreneurs will have a winning chance in the economic arena of the world,” said Villar, a successful businessman who rose from poverty prior to his entry to politics.
Through the Sipag at Tiyaga Livelihood Caravan, Filipinos from all over the archipelago will be provided with livelihood and skills training. Those who excel in their respective fields will then be provided with a gift of P100,000 to help them in their own businesses.
Villar hopes that the project will produce the next breed of entrepreneurs who would lead the country to economic recovery.
Among the Nacionalista Party stalwarts who attended were Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, party spokesperson Gilbert Remulla, Laguna Rep. Justin Chipeco, Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, Las Pinas City Rep. Cynthia Villar and family members of former Vice President Salvador Laurel.
The party has produced the most number of presidents of the Philippines, among them Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Jose Laurel Sr., Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia and Ferdinand Marcos. The party presidents before Villar were Osmeña, Quezon, Jose Yulo, Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, Gil J. Puyat, Jose B. Laurel Jr. and Salvador “Doy” Laurel.
The NP’s centennial celebration came just two days after its archrival of yore, the Liberal Party crowned its 2010 standard-bearer, Sen. Mar Roxas, who was installed party president. His election was seen as a major step toward clinching his nomination as the LP standard bearer in the next presidential election.
Pundits are already pitting Roxas and Villar as the top contenders in the 2010 presidential elections.