T’boli tribesmen of South Cotabato on Wednesday gave vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. the royal treatment as they declared him their “Supreme Leader”.
Marcos was the guest of honor of the municipality of T’boli on their 47th foundation anniversary and 18th Seslong festival. To welcome Marcos after his helicopter landed, the tribesmen carried him shoulders, never letting his feet touch the ground until he was on the stage several meters away as a sign of utmost respect to his stature in the tribe.
The senator was also given a traditional T’boli custome to wear.
In a resolution unanimously adopted by the Municapality of T’boli, the tribesmen gave Marcos the highest honor of Supreme Leader with the rank of Datu Kelmokul and the adopted son of T’boli and Blaan tribes.
“After 42 years, our tribesmen realized the blessings of self-governance and empowerment from the wisdom of the President, His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos, we the tribal people including all T’bolinians who had grown with mutual respect and peaceful co-existence hereby give the highest order of Datu Kelmokul and adopted son of T’boli and Blaan tribesmen to (Marcos) as the T’boli supreme leader in heartfelt appreciation of his late father to continuously protectthe right of the Indigenous People and general welfare of the tribe,” T’Boli Mayor Dibu Tan declared as he presented the senator with the plaque.
Tuan explained that this was their way of showing gratitude to the senator’s father who created the municipality named after their tribe through Presidential Decree No. 407 issued on March 5, 1974.
“This is the treasure that you gave us. We cannot forget your generosity as long as we live and we can never repay it,” he said. “When your father was ousted all of us cried. All of us, T’boli tribesmen, we went back to the mountains and stayed there for six months to show our support for your father,” he added.
Tuan noted that upon creation of the municipality of T’boli, it was ranked 400th out of the 900 municipalities in the entire Philippines. “But now, this municipality that you gave us, we are proud to tell you that it is now a first class municipality and ranked 42nd in the Philippines,” he added.
The mayor said Marcos is the vice presidential candidate the T’boli people will support in the coming elections.
For his part, Marcos thanked the people of T’boli for the warm welcome and the honor they gave him. He likewise congratulated them for their good work that enabled their town to rise to the rank of a first class municipality.
“I am happy but with a little sadness, because my father is no longer around to thank all of you personally. I hope it is enough for the son to express that gratitude,” he added.
Marcos said that apart from seeking their votes for his candidacy he is also seeking their support for the realization of his vision for national unity as a means to achieve our dreams for a more progressive future for all Filipinos.
He said the steady rise of the municipality of T’boli in the ranks of the Philippine municipalities is a good example of what unity can achieve.