Disability, No Hindrance To Success, Says Bohol Governor

by Joseph G. Lariosa

“Challenges will always be there. But looked up to them not only as stumbling block but a stepping stone toward success.”
–Bohol Gov. Edgar M. Chatto  (Speech in Chicago, IL July 6, 2013)        

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – President Barack Obama had just acquired top-of-the-line Samsung teleprompters that almost nobody noticed during the past month because of its “ultra-thin” screen and despite its “brighter text.” (A teleprompter is a through-the-glass device that projects a speaker’s script but is out of public view.)

They should serve Mr. Obama well since he does not want to misspeak again after he did an encore of his oath of office in 2009 when U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts initially misplaced the word “faithfully” in his oath out of “abundance of caution” so nobody can doubt the legitimacy of his official acts.

On the other hand, some government officials like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who may not be comfortable using teleprompters or who may not be able to afford to have one, would just have to be content with scribbling down some “bullet points” in the palm of her hand and glance at them from time to time.

Apparently, these challenges faced by ranking government officials like President Obama and Governor Palin and other speakers so they will not flub in their speeches are nothing new.

But a Philippine government official – Bohol Gov. Edgar M. Chatto — had made such challenges look very easy when he delivered a 30-minute speech in English in deference to some non-Boholano guests.  He delivered his speech without teleprompter, notes or “bullet points” written in the palm of his hands.

Thanks to an invitation extended to me by Chatto’s kababayan, Rey Anub Juan, from Bilar, Bohol, an “innoventor” and businessman from Toronto’s suburb of Brampton, Canada, who asked me to attend their international convention of the Confederation of Boholanos in U.S.A. and Canada (CONBUSAC) last July 6 in Chicago, Illinois, I was able to watch up close an interesting and impressive speech.


Governor Chatto has proven that a Filipino, whose English is a second language, can hold a candle to deliver a speech in English extemporaneously with any speaker, whose first language is English, if not the only language.

I only wanted to catch a short and interesting sound bytes and visuals from Gov. Chatto’s speech. But when I noticed that he was delivering a speech without reading any notes, it piqued my interest to focus my video cam on him a little bit longer. Before I knew it, he ended his speech after 30 minutes.

Governor Chatto repeated the same phenomenon when he administered the oath of office of the officers of Conbusac without reading a copy of the oath of office.

Quoting Herbert Marshall Macluhan, a Canadian philosopher of communication theory, Governor Chatto said, “The medium is the message.” He explained the meaning of the quote by saying that a speaker does not have to deliver “a long speech. Our presence is a message in itself.”

In inspiring his fellow Boholanos to lead, Chatto defined leadership as “shared leadership. Not leadership with one person but shared leadership.“He quoted a great Chinese philosopher, Lau Tzu, who defined share leadership by saying, “to lead the people, walk behind them.” This quote reminded me of the critics of President Obama during the last elections. They accused the president of “leading from behind.” But the criticisms did not stick as Obama was re-elected. Thus, validating Lau Tzu’s philosophy.


Calling leadership as a gift from God, Chatto said, “For man to develop and share with others is a great responsibility by the government.

“We have shared leadership in Conbusac, in Bohol, and shared leadership in other places of the globe. Shared leadership is getting involved in things that bring mutual interest in a common understood and collective dream of making Bohol the province we want to make out of the place that we dream of the province.”

He reminded the guests at the Gala Night that Boholanos are brave warriors exemplified by Daguhoy, who launched the longest Philippine rebellion – 90 years – against Spain. But Boholanos are also friendly types as shown by Datu Sikatuna, who forged the first international treaty with the West, when he agreed to a blood compact with Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

The blood compact has now taken a life of its own as it is now promoted as a tourism come-on when Tagbilaran City celebrates the Sinulog Festival every July.

While Chocolate Hills in Bohol are the hands-down No. 1 tourist attraction in the province, Chatto also reminded the guests that a Boholano in Carlos P. Garcia had placed Bohol in the political map by getting elected as the eighth president of the Republic.

I believe Garcia’s “Filipino First Policy” that was mocked during his time actually endeared him to Filipinos when he set the groundwork to cut short the terms of the U.S. Military Bases from 99 to 25 years. The terms were later terminated in 1992.


When this columnist asked Governor Chatto if he has dreams of following the footsteps of Garcia although he has physical challenges as a polio victim survivor, he demurred by saying, a polio victim, like him, should not be hindered from dreaming in occupying Malacanang someday.

He was probably drawing inspiration from a portion of his speech, where Chatto quoted Hemingway as saying, “A kite can never fly higher unless it soars against the wind. The wind will always be there but the challenges will also give you the best opportunity to rise higher than your dreams.”

A member of President Aquino’s Liberal Party, the 53-year-old Mr. Chatto has an enviable credentials – a lawyer (from Ateneo Law School) with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Philippines and had attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He was also a Bohol board member, a (Balilihan) town mayor (adjudged most outstanding mayor of the Philippines in 1991), a three-term congressman, a vice governor (adjudged most outstanding vice governor in 1997), a re-elected governor whose province was adjudged the Best Governed Province in the Philippines by the Department of Interior and Local Government under Sec. Jesse Robredo a year after he took office. What more can you ask?

If Chatto has no skeleton in his closet, President Aquino should include him in the short list of vice presidentiables or presidentiables in 2016!

After all, Chatto is articulate – he is capable of delivering an extended speech extemporaneously that makes sense.

Although Edgardo Migrino Chatto (EMC) is a polio survivor, this disability that afflicted Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), who became the first and only U.S. president to be re-elected the unprecedented four times, should not be considered a challenge but a stepping stone to his success! (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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