THEN president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo used “Imperial Manila” in her 2006 state-of-the-nation speech. National Artist Nick Joaquin wrote in his 1990 book “Manila, My Manila,” “When Manila sneezes, the Philippines catches cold.”
In Cebu, Lito (Emilio Mario Renner) Osmeña, 21st governor (1988-1992), was griping publicly about “Imperial Manila” as regards infrastructures and the national language.
Even local autonomy, decreed in Local Government Code of 1991, hasn’t stripped Metro Manila of its claim to power and sense of entitlement. But then, isn’t that what a capital city or region confers on the area, a reputation that its people relish if not brag about?
Manila is seat of the national government and site of offices of the top leaders in its branches. It’s where decisions about public spending are made. Being “imperial” is consequence of Manila being what it is. Cebu is similarly tagged -- “Imperial Cebu” -- by neighboring provinces that aren’t as progressive.
The pejorative term was used by Manila on itself when results of the 2016 bar exams were released. Manila was clobbered at no other time before by an absolute shutout of Manila bar takers from the Top 10. Not only did the #1 spot go to a Cebu candidate, Karen Mae Calam of USC, three other Top 10 places also went to the school.
And other “promdi” schools such as Silliman University, University of Iloilo and Ateneo de Davao, helped complete the rout.
The performance of the “provincial” law schools could be a fluke. Was it some freaky happening in the annual ritual of the law community? The 10-0 score maybe but two “promdi” schools, USC and Ateneo de Davao, are in the list of best law schools of the country, next only to U.P., Ateneo de Manila and San Beda.
USC for one has shown it has bright students, a terrific dean like Atty. Joan Largo, and smart school policies. The next bar exams should tell us more how Manila could be battered by law schools in the provinces. But USC’s record as producer of bar topnotchers looks secure.
And, yes, promdi” law schools have served notice they already know how to beat the odds against Manila, imperial or not.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 05, 2017.
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