By: Elena Grace Flores
The “Punong” shrimp farm of the late Rodulfo Flores and Pilar Branzuela was a successful aquaculture joint venture between private hacienderos and the Marcos administration through the public service projects of then first lady Imelda Marcos.
Correspondence in telegraph forms between Lolo Opong and Imelda were seen in the Flores family’s ancestral home in Centro, Calamba, Misamis Occidental proving their alliance. When Lolo Opong died, Maurice Flores, one of his sons became the administrator of the Punong property but he was not a farmer. He graduated with a Commercial Degree and served as Baranggay Secretary instead. None of the Flores siblings took the challenge to continue Lolo Opong’s manual labor on the land because most of them are already professionals and living in the cities, particularly Cebu City.
It was rumored that the engineer of the family George B. Flores, Sr., my father failed to pay for the arrears of the land that’s why when I went there in 2005, it was about to be confiscated by the government according to the Flores-Pollescas family who were the collectors of the coco land proceeds of the Flores family that are for payments of the property taxes. This triggered family differences so, in spite being appointed by the majority of the heirs as President of the ancestral lands, I decided to go back to Manila and let time heal the wounds. After Maurice died, his wife baby or Conception Flores volunteered to take care of my grandson so that I can earn money for the Punong. As I have fulfilled my personal responsibilities to my own family, I am now ready to go back. I asked Melvin Flores, my cousin and son of Maurice to get the official statement of the Punong’s land taxes to be guided accordingly on what we have to pay and found out the truth that my father, was innocent of the accusations against him. The arrears for the Punong taxes started only in the year 2000 – and he was already dead at that time. The balance that the Pollescas family were talking about was actually the running taxes of the land that were not paid by them – and put the blame on my dead father instead. Here’s the evidence:
Nevertheless, they are still my family so we will start slowly but surely. Will try to start all over again little by little and raise the money needed the way we can without holding anyone accountable. Just hoping that in time, the family will be reunited and forget past pains.