Kalinga Hero, Juan M. Duyan
[Note: This is part of my continuing project to make available to the public historical documents about Kalinga written by the late Kalinga journalist, Augustus Ulát Sabóy (AUS). Kalinga’s military provincial headquarters in Tabuk was named after Duyan].
“A Leader Fades Away: Duyan Dies; Interred Friday”
By Gus Saboy (published in The Mountaineer (03 March 1968, p. 1);
Baguio-Mountain Sentinel (02 March 1968)
Gov. Juan M. Duyan, the first elective chief executive of the province of Kalinga-Apayao, died last Saturday. He was 51 years old.
Provincial Secretary Camilo Lammawin ascribed the governor’s death to a “bleeding peptic ulcer.”
The late provincial official, who was also a congressman until his election and assumption of office as governor of the new province last January, was interred last Friday in Tabuk with former fellow congressmen, ranking provincial officials, relatives, friends and sympathizers attending.
A special Philippine Air Force plane ferried a number of congressmen, mostly from northern Luzon, to Tuguegarao, Cagayan from where they motored to Tabuk specially to attend the last rites for their fallen colleague. Among them are Congressmen Andres A. Cosalan and Luis Hora of Baguio-Benguet and Ifugao, respectively.
The two, together with Duyan, were instrumental in the congressional approval of a law which ultimately divided the old Mountain Province into four new political subdivisions, one of which is Kalinga-Apayao which made Duyan its first elected governor.
Duyan’s death ended a colorful public career for the Kalinga leader who is considered as the foremost and “greatest leader Kalinga ever had.”
According to reports which reached Baguio City last Monday, the late Gov. Duyan was on his back to Tabuk from the NLAA Meet in Bangued, Abra, which he and other provincial officials of Kalinga-Apayao attended, when he was stricken with serious body ailment.
He and his party hiked a portion of the Abra-Kalinga road which is under construction to look into the progress of the road construction and also to conduct an on-the-spot investigation of the reported road irregularities in the same project.
At the border barrio of Balbalasang, they were entertained with a “palanos,” a native welcome reception. From there, and on their way back to Tabuk, they were again entertained in the barrio of Talalang.
Last Tuesday, another big reception had awaited him and his party at barrio Pantikian. It was there where he reportedly collapsed while speaking before an early morning crowd.
From Pantikian, he was rushed to Naneng, Tabuk, where he died later. Efforts to contact Manila for an airlift of the stricken Kalinga leader before he died proved futile. It was gathered that at that time, no air force helicopter which was required by his widow, Mrs. Iluminada Duyan, was available. (It was learned later that a rescue helicopter complete with an emergency medical team composed of military doctors was dispatched to Tuguegarao, but was unable to proceed to Tabuk due to inclement weather.)
Born on January 23, 1917, the late Gov. Duyan was the eldest of four children of Donato Duyan and Magdalena Akobay, both deceased of barrio Naneng, Tabuk.
An “exceptionally bright” pupil, during his elementary school days at Naneng, he was urged by the Belgian missionaries stationed at his barrio to pursue his higher education. He enrolled at the Saint Theresita’s school (now St. Theresita’s College) at Lubuagan where he finished his high school before the war.
He was among the young men who were called for military training and after his trainee course,he was employed as municipal secretary of Tabuk whose capital was then at Naneng.
When the war broke out, young Duyan was called to the army with the rank of third lieutenant. During the Bataan campaign, he fought fiercely with an Igorot unit along the Pilar-Bagac line which earned him a promotion to second lieutenant.
Although Maj. Helmert Duisterhorf, US Army, recommended him for the Distinguished Service Cross, Duyan actually received only the Silver Star (USA) and the Gold Star (PA) for his meritorious military exploits in Bataan.
He was among those who escaped from Bataan and in Kalinga, he helped organized guerrilla units under the USAFIP-NL. At the end of the war, he was assigned as commanding officer of the “K” Company 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry.
Duyan joined the Huk campaign after the Liberation. He was later transferred to the PC. With the rank of captian, Duyan was assigned to head the 12th PC company of the old Mt. Province PC command at Bontoc.
In 1957, he was urged by Kalinga leaders to run for Congress. In the same heated contest in the 1st district, he won over Alfredo Lam-en, one of his strongest opponents.
In 1961, he re ran for reelection under the LP. He lost to Lam-en but in an electoral protest, Duyan was declared winner over Lam-en.
In 1959, when the LP was bankrupt of political timbers for the gubernatorial race, Duyan accepted the challenge to run against Governor Bado Dangwa. Duyan lost the governorship but he helped preserve the tottering LP unity in the old Mt. Province.
In 1963, Duyan ran again for Congress. This time, he fought Alfredo Lam-en and won overwhelmingly.
In the gubernatorial elections of the new province of Kalinga-Apayao last year, Duyan was prevailed upon again to run for governor. He handily won the elections over his three opponents.
He chose to leave his congressional seat to assume the governorship – a painful sacrifice he had to make since it was a choice between less work and heavy executive work in public affairs.
One of his programs of administration was to speed up the massive road program of the province. It was his obsession to have the Kalinga-Abra road completed in order to link the Ilocos provinces through Abra to the Cagayan valley via the subprovince of Kalinga.
He died as a man of action and a leader who was consistently and profoundly a fighter for his people, especially the Kalingas.