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Interview with Anne Mariquit D. Oppus
« on: February 19, 2017, 12:59:17 PM »
"The Only One in a Dozen"
By Loy Palapos - Published on April 9, 2007 - Bohol Sunday Post

Appropriately gowned for the occasion, befitting a smart lady that she is, she marched down the aisle, not for a wedding, but to take her oath-of-office, as the only female Councilor who won the nod of the thousands of Tagbilaranons in the May election. On stage, she was joined by her husband, Col. Louie Oppus, and their three children. In front of the stage were more of her relatives and friends, led by Dr. Quintin Derikito. He was on a wheel-chair, and coming up on stage was not advisable, but he was beaming with pride as he witnessed his daughter, Honorable Anne Mariquit Derikito Oppus, as she accepted her new role as a legislator in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Mayor Dan Neri Lim, Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Salera Veloso, and nine other Kagawads (all of them clad in exquisite Barong Tagalog), made Mrs. Kit Derikito Oppus (KDO) a stand-out as the only rose among eleven machos. The only one in a dozen.

It was a drizzling Sunday morning and the newly renovated and air-conditioned Bohol Cultural Center was jampacked. This was climaxed by a sumptuous lunch at the Grand Ballroom of the Metro Center Hotel. As Master of ceremonies on both settings, I offered a toast, joined by hundreds of guests, for the 12 newly elected officials. The mood was merry and contagious, enhanced by the individual speeches of the political victors. When it was her turn to address the audience, she positioned herself in front of the lectern. On her hand was a piece of paper, which turned out to be an outline of her extemporaneous speech, including names of those she heartfully thanked for sending her to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

If some of those called to speak came to the stage not knowing what to say, she was prepared. A solid anchor to predict that when she attends the SP sessions every Wednesday for the next three years she would have done her homework, and ready to air her side on any issue.

This interview took place in her office at the second floor of the new City Hall. It was her first day of work, and the eager-beaver nuance was prevalent, which is expected of anybody who turns over a new leaf.

LMP: How does it feel being here in the office for the first time?
KDO: Honestly, I feel so lonely, because when I arrived this morning and when I got to the parking space, somebody approached me and gave me flowers from my VGO (Vice Governor's Office) family. I've been with them for almost 7 years.

LMP: How about the reaction of your children? Of your husband?
KDO: My husband called me at lunch time. He knows that I can manage, even in the new situation. Everything is normal. I think I can do it more now, because I have my own time. I can always adjust.

LMP: You speak about adjustment, especially that you are in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. You can really agree with the people who were with you in the campaign. How about those of the opposite side?
KDO: I realized yesterday that I'm very idealistic up to now, I'm very opinionated, but everything has to bow down to what is best to our City.

LMP: Can you hope that the same thing will also happen with your colleagues?
KDO: I've always been this person who has no doubt with other people, but if I'm very doubtful myself with the people I'm with, they might have the same feeling, and I don't want that. I have to start with myself, I have to trust other people.

LMP: What about the comments of your children? Do they understand the change of job?
KDO: Actually, no. They don't because I always make it a point that I don't make them feel that my work is negative for them. I still attend to whatever need they want. Up to now I'm still the tutor of my two little children. I always believe that to be able to achieve at the professional level, you have to achieve in the home.

LMP: The last time I interviewed you along that line, you mentioned about success in the home could also be brought up in the office. If you are a success in the home, you could be a success in the office.
KDO: I always believe that I have to be at my best between work and home. My personality will always manifest wherever I go.

LMP: You cannot hide yourself?
KDO: I don't like plastic nga tawo. I'd rather let somebody tell me I don't like you than tell me ok ka pero dili diay.

LMP: In the celebration that we had yesterday, especially the one at the Metro Center Hotel, as far as communication is concerned, you have an edge over the others. Do you believe this is something that you can use in a very positive way?
KDO: In my speech I said it's different when you talk than when you do. If people are impressed with what I say or how I say it, I'd like to impress them even more with how to do it. I was very much influenced by my grandmother who spoke very well, and did things right.

LMP: How about your parents, what kind of influence do they give you, especially Doctor Derikito?
KDO: Despite what he has accomplished, ang akong makit-an niya is, despite what he has been through (he started as a working student), he really shows to me what integrity is all about.

LMP: In the activity yesterday, starting from the Bohol Cultural Center to the Metro Center Hotel, something was very obvious. You were the only girl among the twelve officials. Would you like to comment on this?
KDO: My family told me it is good I am the only woman in the group. I did not intentionally wear that gown, but it came out nga mura ko ug rosas. I've started working with men for some time. One thing I want to tell them is that I don't want to be given special attention

LMP: That's for the man's point of view. Did you feel any discrimination since the very beginning, not necessarily here, could be in your student days?
KDO: No, I don't think gender as a barrier; it even challenges me more.

LMP: But then, did you feel that you have been discriminated by men.
KDO: Not at all. Except, it's not a being a woman. It's not discrimination. I even feel it's a complement. But some people think I am dumb.

LMP: Because with the thought of the generalization that women are dumb?
KDO: Probably, because I attended one seminar miingon gyud siya nako nga "Kama-o diay pud ka?" I don't really come out nga diritso, I'm a very observant person at the beginning, especially when I'm new. I don't want to say anything, unless I'm sure of what I'm saying. I keep silent until the time when I know I can speak.

LMP: Would that be the same thing that you will do in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, listen first before talking?
KDO: Yes. I believe it is the best thing, especially for a new comer. Don't pretend that you know everything.

LMP: Does it follow that, as far as your observation is concerned, there are some members of the group who cannot talk sense?
KDO: Obviously. The more now nga nag-katiguwang ko, I read more, because it helps you a lot, and then it tells you that you're not alone.

LMP: What do you expect from your colleagues in the first session?
KDO: I expect them to do their part well.

LMP: The way you do it?
KDO: I hope. I hope they take me seriously. But like I said, I hope that they will expect not too much also. I just realized that I'm very hard on myself, I have a very high standard on myself.

LMP: Do you also expect that from other people?
KDO: Probably. Indirectly, I am tougher on myself. I realized that when I had a seminar last December, I had to evaluate my boss and myself. My staff would tell me if they have evaluated me I would have been rated higher than my boss. But, when I rated myself I rated my boss higher than myself.

LMP: Would this be to your advantage when you are already legislating?
KDO: I think so.

LMP: In your case, what committee would probably be given to you?
KDO: Sa akong campaign, I wanted to concentrate on family and education. Fortunately, the committee includes social services, women, men and family. There is one good thing I planned out, I asked my husband about it and he said: the committee he really loves me to chair is peace and order.

LMP: So, that's the committee you're interested in?
KDO: Yes.

LMP: How about other committees?
KDO: Probably, tourism and health.

LMP: In the arrangements that you have, how many committees are you entitled to be a member or a Chairman?
KDO: I checked with the files, some of them handled three chairmanships, some only one, some only two.

LMP: Who makes the decision?
KDO: It's arranged among the members, so aron patas lang pud and fair, I would really like to request nga tagorha.

LMP: You have not started with your session, and I understand that you still would like to listen, now if in case the time comes when you were be able to legislate, what would be your priority?
KDO: It should be about women.

LMP: The Chairmanship that you are aspiring for?
KDO: Yes.

LMP: What about women?
KDO: I'd like to see kay sa akong nahibaw-an nga duna nay gender code, I'd like to see if we need implementing rules on this?

LMP: Who made that?
KDO: The previous administration.

LMP: Let's go to tourism. How would you comment on the issue that there are some establishments which have these rates that are so high? One suggestion was the possibility of regulating the rates. In your case if that eventuality happens can you do something about it?
KDO: Compared to Cebu, we have lesser rates, but considering that Bohol ni we expect that it needs to be lower, but if we have to maintain our rate, if business is what we really want, let's see what facilities we have. Actually, foreigners or tourists really don't complain much about the rates, they want to get benefits out of facilities and services. If our hotels cannot adjust their rates down, they have to provide better services.

LMP: It is not a question of the rate; it's a question of whether it's commensurate.
KDO: Yes, and also reasonable.

LMP: Let's go to education, there's a mention about this multiple intelligences theory being implemented.
KDO: As far as I know maayo ang sistema, I don't have a personal knowledge on the program.

LMP: You believe it's doable?
KDO: Of course. In fact, when I heard the Mayor yesterday, miingon siya nga murag i-extend. So, probably iapil ang high school. Nothing wrong with it. One thing with education, we really need not really change the teachers, but the system.

LMP: But when you make a sudden change, it's not that easy.
KDO: It's not that easy, and you really have to reach the people or the teachers implementing the program. It's insane to do one and the same thing but expect a different result. A lot of people now are complaining about education, and I will be doing something about it. You have to make changes if you're not satisfied with what is happening.

LMP: So, you're now ready to work?
KDO: We have to. I told myself if there is one thing I really want to achieve in the short time, but I have to make the best out of anything I do.

LMP: What's your message to your readers now that you are a Councilor?
KDO: I'd like to thank them for the confidence, and I hope they will thank me after three years.

LMP: The winning is not the most important.
KDO: Yes, it's what you do after winning. And, how I wish I can rally all those people with me. One thing, no special treatment for a woman like me. Let's respect each other. I'm a keen player, people know that from me, because I really believe that there is more force with many people, so let's just help each other.

When I interviewed Anne Mariquit D. Oppus for the first time at D Buzz of ICM, she had just decided to enter the political arena. There were hints of uncertainties, which could be construed as offshoots of intimidation. For after all, she was entering a new phase in her life. In this interview, there was no hint of anxiety, no trance of indecision. I was facing a woman convinced of her role as a wife, mother, and lawmaker. Articulate and spontaneous, she embodies what a Councilor should be.

Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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