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The three-time majority leader, Senator Migz Zubiri reveals his humble beginnings, from being a nervous neophyte to being the picture of confidence in the Senate.
BY GODFREY T. DANCEL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENJIE TOLENTINO
An abstract painting greets visitors upon entering Senator Juan Miguel “Zubiri” Zubiri’s office unit at the Senate building. A collection of photos of him visiting different parts of the country, as well as some other paintings, line the wall across the tables of his office staff. Inside his actual office are yet more paintings. Behind his desk are crystals, fossils, and photographs of his family and him with his constituents over the years.
The eclectic collection of art pieces, photographs, and natural wonders may seem discordant at first, but actually come together to produce a calming vibe amidst the obvious ardor of his staff attending to different concerns. The scene is a testament to how the Senate majority leader’s attention to detail and zeal for work has rubbed off on his staff.
Initiation into Public Service
“I had no dreams of becoming a politician or a public servant. I wanted to be a vet,” Zubiri reveals. After finishing his secondary education at Colegio San Agustin in Makati, he entered the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños to pursue his “first love,” which is to become a veterinarian. This was not surprising, as even if he had been born in and was studying in Metro Manila, he had spent all his summers and school breaks in Bukidnon.
“That is how I grew up—exposed to farming, to the beautiful environment there, the communities that we had to work with [later on],” the senator says.
Senator Zubiri’s father, then-Congressman Jose Maria Rubin Zubiri, Jr. of the third district of Bukidnon, talked him out of his original plan. The young Zubiri eventually decided to take an Agribusiness course, after completion of which he settled in Bukidnon to manage their farm. With this, it was inevitable for
Zubiri to be exposed to public service. ....