November 26, 2009: When I decided to Step Forward For The First Time

(NOTE: Below is my public statement when I announced my intention to run for the Congressional Race of Bacolod in 2010. These are My DREAMS for Bacolod 9 years ago. On November 26, 2009  I faced the public to share these dreams. My dreams never changed – until today – I have consistently worked to help achieve this dreams even when I am in the PRIVATE sector. Even when only 17,000 Bacolodnons believed in these dreams in 2010.)

Slide1Today, I have no choice but to face the question I have long dreaded to ask myself – and that is whether I will think of myself first before I think of my city, before I think of my country.

I have resolved that question last April 2009 – Easter Sunday which symbolizes a new beginning. My calling is to start a new beginning for Bacolod. A beginning that will prove to the world that our city can afford to chose its leaders conscientiously, that our leaders can present themselves to the people without spending hundreds of millions to acquire a seat of power, that our leaders can be of public service without buying votes, that our people can actually demand for a transparent and accountable, responsive and humane governance from its chosen leaders.

Life – I have always believed – is about choice. Every day we are faced with choices, some minor ones like what to eat for dinner or what movie to watch. And some are major ones, like getting married or choosing a career. Most of the time, we are the ones enjoying or suffering the consequences of the choices we make.

For instance, the choice of a candidate is not as easy as our choice of what food to eat, unfortunately some of us have no choice but to choose what is available. Yet the choices we make every election not only tells of the kind of persons we are, but also speaks of the kind of leaders we have, and about the kind of city we will eventually see. While we complain about the kind of leaders we have, we should also realized that they are simply but a product of our choices.

As the day of reckoning approaches – I am compelled to make that choice.

Last week in Malaysia, during the Asia-Pacific Young Global Leaders Summit were I represented the Philippines along with several other top Filipino leaders chosen by Asia Society Foundation – I cannot help but share as a leadership story – the political landscape of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental. I began by saying that our province used to be the Sugar Capital of Asia. So the economy was mainly controlled by the landlords and the wealthy class. Now in the 21st century, when information controls the global economy – I realized that our city resist change. I realized that Bacolod has not really developed young leaders who were essentially molded under the concepts of the Information Age – to be responsible for the future of our community.

As I sat in one room with a lady astronaut, a renowned film director and an Olympic gymnast from India, CEO’s of big corporations from Asia and the US, big names in the media, arts, science, and human rights activism from China, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, Australia and many other countries last week – I had these strange feeling of awe and sadness that most of them where younger than I am. At age 37, I felt I had not accomplished anything compared to all these young leaders. At one point – I felt I was too parochial in my thoughts to just think of Bacolod and not look at Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, or the world.

Then I told myself – I am proud of what I am of what I have become no matter how small I have achieved.   On the last day of the summit, I stood up once again to say – that fighting corruption, ensuring the survival of this planet, promoting corporate social responsibility and the many other missions that we all want to accomplish as young leaders – oftentimes need to be an INSIDE JOB. I am proud to be a young Filipino politician – doing what little I can from the inside to change the system in my own little way.

As my fellow Asia 21 young leader, and now CNN Global Hero – Efren Penaflorida say – there is a hero in each of us. As President Barack Obama believes – it is up to us to decide whether we will continue to believe in the politics of hypocrisy and cynicism or this time – believe in the politics of hope and change.

BACOLOD HAS NO TIME TO WASTE.  We need to address squarely the global challenges and demands of the 21st century with timely, relevant and responsive solutions and strategies to ensure that our city reach her full potential.

WE WILL SOON FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR CHOICES. As early as now, we want you to know that YOU HAVE A CHOICE – between repetitious political promises couched in motherhood statements or unsustainable projects and political rewards of minimal impact OR relevant and realistic solutions with immediate and long-term effects studied and prepared by you – as stakeholders yourselves for the last six years.

The big question is – IS BACOLOD READY FOR A NEW BRAND OF LEADERSHIP? Is there a room in this city for the NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS who adhere to principle and program-based governance rather than personality and money-based politics?


UNESCAP cites participation by both men and women as a key cornerstone of good governance. Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. Participation needs to be informed and organized.

OUR VISION IS A Bacolod that is characterized by a self-sufficient local economy, humane and dynamic leadership, transparent, accountable, participatory and responsive governance, and up-to-date sustainable strategies and approaches that contribute to the evolution of one of Bacolod as one most ideal cities of the 21st century.

  • MORE JOBS IN THE IT-BPO INDUSTRY. See Bacolod as one of the Top 50 Emerging Cities in The World for Outsourcing (like Cebu, Davao and Pasig) and reach the target of 10,000 jobs by December 31, 2010 (as of now there are 6,000 jobs in the call center industry alone) by aggressively pursuing initiatives in other IT-based outsourcing such as software, transcription, back office, and animation
  • NEW JOBS FOR NEW MARKETS. Produce an initial pool of top-caliber Bacolodnon animators trained by the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI) and incubate software programmers through local incubation companies catering to local market
  • PRODUCT-BASED JOBS. Put into operation more industrial and manufacturing zones in Bacolod to support local manufacturers and attract investments or partner with the province in developing zones outside of Bacolod (aside from the 16 PEZA-accredited IT ecozones in Bacolod today)
  • MORE JOBS IN THE SERVICE SECTOR. Develop Bacolod as the premier Health and Wellness Destination in Western Visayas and as Emerging Retirement and Medical Tourism Industry Destination in the Visayas
  • OPPORTUNITIES EVEN FOR PEOPLE WITH NO JOBS. Establish a functional Informal Sector Center to assist, address, maximize and  integrate the potential of informal sector workers such as vendors, drivers, construction workers, plumbers, carpenters, freelance professionals and the like
  • SKILLS DEVELOPMENT TO ATTRACT MORE JOBS. Creation of a Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC) for Bacolod that will actively be involved in skills training and business matching, product development, identification of markets, branding and promotions and facilitation of trade missions and international and local exhibitions
  • SCHOLARSHIPS AND TRAININGS FOR TEACHERS TO PREPARE OUR TALENT POOL FOR AVAILABLE JOBS. To eventually integrate new disciplines such as Service Science Management and Engineering (SSME),  Multi-Media and Animation, Business Process Management and ITIL in the academe, congressional scholarships and study grants will be offered to teachers
  • BRIDGING COURSES TO EMPOWER OUT-OF SCHOOL YOUTH AND NEAR HIRES. To increase the chances of getting hired, scholarship grants for short-term bridging courses will be offered in cooperation with TESDA, industry and other concerned sectors
  • GUIDING THE YOUTH TO BECOME GOOD CITIZENS. Establish a Comprehensive Youth Rehabilitation Program which will entail a 24-Hour Youth Crisis Center and community-based interventions (Compliance with RA 9344)
  • GIVING CHILDREN A CHANCE TO DEVELOP. Develop programs to reduce the incidence of child labor by 50 percent for the next three years and increase the coverage of out-of-school youth population of Bacolod under the alternative learning system (ALS) program by 80 to 90 percent (Compliance with RA 9231)
  • IMPROVED FIRST LEVEL HEALTH SERVICES AND ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES. Empower ground personnel delivering health management services in the grassroots level through trainings and benefits and establishment of “botika sa barangay” promoting generic medicines
  • PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM MODERN-DAY ABUSES. Strengthen the multi-level, multi-tiered human trafficking program of Bacolod City in the aspect of prevention, prosecution and conviction (Compliance with RA 9208)
  • IMPROVED SERVICES FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN. Improvement of the One-Stop-Shop concept of the Bacolod Women Center to include immediate legal and psychological assistance to abused women and children
  • DEVELOPING CHILD-FRIENDLY LEGAL SERVICES FOR CHILDREN. Assist the family courts to put in place child-friendly teleconferencing facilities to ensure a child-sensitive court proceedings
  • IMPROVED GENERAL HEALTH SERVICES. Establishment of Bacolod City Hospital and more services for early detection of lifestyle illnesses, Creation of a Blood Bank for Bacolod, and Improvement of a Child Protection Unit (CPU) especially in terms of forensic equipment, and development
  • AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO QUALITY AND INDUSTRY-CALIBRATED EDUCATION. Conversion of the Bacolod City College into a the Bacolod City Polytechnic University with more technical and bridging courses,
  1. Transparent, Accountable, Participatory and Responsive Governance means effective participation of stakeholders in planning, implementation and utilization of congressional funds and resources
  • RELEVANT AND SECTOR-BASED DELIVERY OF PROGRAMS. Establish a Congressional Office and Create 8 Congressional Desks: (1) Women & Children, (2) Business Sector (3) Senior Citizens (4) Persons With Disabilities (PWD’s), (5) Youth and Sports, (6) Urban/Rural Poor, (7) Informal Sector, (8) Arts and Culture
  • TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY IN ALL PROGRAMS. Open all congressional programs and utilization of funds to the public participation from the planning, procurement, implementation, oversight, monitoring and evaluation levels
  • DYNAMISM AND PARTICIPATION IN LEGISLATION. Conduct regular congressional hearings involving national laws in Bacolod including regular consultative meetings with all stakeholders on various issues
  1. Up-To-Date and Sustainable Strategies and Approaches mean MORE RELIABLE AND CHEAP POWER AND NO GARBAGE PROBLEM 
  • WASTE-TO-MONEY. Start Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in the City s by obtaining carbon credits and climate change grants for development of sustainable waste diversion programs (waste-to-energy, bio-fertilizers, re-usable items from waste for livelihood programs, hazardous and toxic waste buy-back centers, recycling plants ) and develop programs and grant or assistance to encourage barangays to engage actively in waste diversion programs or ZERO-waste projects
  • RELIABLE AND CHEAP CLEAN AND ENERGY. Develop programs to encourage renewable energy projects for integration to the Bacolod ’s power supply to provide sufficient “green energy” for a stable but reasonably priced electricity


  • COMPLEMENTARY RELATIONS BETWEEN BACOLOD AND NEGROS OCCIDENTAL. Help create and/or initiate a more harmonious, dynamic, and complementary relations with all the congressional districts of the province to produce a province-wide triennium development  agenda
  • GREEN BACOLOD FOR A GREEN PHILIPPINES . Help create an environmental bloc in Congress composed of “green-minded representatives” with the pressure and support of international, national and local environmental organizations
  • HELP THE PHILIPPINES IT-BPO SECTOR. Become the voice and the champion of information and communications technology (ICT) – business process outsourcing (BPO) in the House of representatives
  • INVEST IN A BRIGHT FUTURE BY INVESTING IN CHILDREN. Help create a child rights advocates bloc in congress composed of representatives who advocate children’s rights and welfare with the pressure and support of international, national and local environmental organizations


  • Empowerment of the Purok System in the Barangays thereby amending the Local Government Code
  • Amending the 60-40 income sharing of the National Government and LGU to 40-60 share (40% National Share and 60% Local Share)
  • Improvement of the Women and Children’s Protection Centers
  • Empowerment of Volunteer Personnel in the LGU level such as Barangay Heath Workers, Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Social Workers, Child Development Workers and Day Care Workers
  • Creation of a Family Welfare Officer and Barangay Environment Officer
  • Increase of Income Tax Deductions and Exemptions


  • Maintenance and Construction of Roads will now be subjected to People’s Quality Monitoring Groups which shall be encouraged to affiliate with anti-corruption units and “graftwatch” groups
  • Immediate identification of priority roads such all roads leading or serving as access to elementary/secondary schools and health care and children’s facilities and all roads serving as access road to big volumes of pedestrians
  • Provision of medicines and medical facilities for the less fortunate residents of Bacolod through the City and government hospitals and improvement of early detection equipment such as mammogram and thermal scanning devices
  • Facilitation of government social security benefits to the less fortunate residents of Bacolod

Provision of congressional budget or assistance to the city government for the effective implementation of all APPROVED ORDINANCES authored by Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue as councilor:

  • Creation of Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons
  • Annual Gawad Kooperatiba Awards
  • Procedures for SP Endorsement to PEZA of ICT Parks , Buildings, Tourism Development Zones and Economic Zones
  • Celebration of April 22 as Earth Day in Bacolod City
  • Protection of Household and Domestic Workers
  • The Gender and Development Code of Bacolod City
  • Institutionalizing Informal Sector Workers Programs
  • Observance of June 13 to 19 as Social Work Week
  • Development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Industry and Creation of the ICT Council
  • Effective implementation of the Law against Worst Forms of Child Labor Observance of December 1 to 7 as non-Government Organizations-People’s Organizations Week
  • Prevention of sexually-transmitted infections (STI), Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Creation of Bacolod Local STI/HIV/AIDS Council
  • Declaring Bacolod as Organic City and Regulating GMO
  • Mauricio Ferrero, OAR Street Ordinance
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programs


  • Development of Retirement and Medical Special Tourism Economic Zones
  • Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise (BMBE) Ordinance of Bacolod City
  • Bacolod Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC) Ordinance
  • Transparency and Accountability Ordinance of Bacolod City
  • Ten Outstanding Barangay Officials of the Year Award Ordinance
  • CATV and Internet Signal Pilferage Ordinance of Bacolod City
  • Watershed Development and Water Conservation Programs for Bacolod City
  • Community Work Service (CWS) Ordinance of Bacolod City
  • Integrated Health and Wellness Program

If you want to know more about these programs, call (034) 7096135 or email today and HELP SHAPE BACOLOD’S FUTURE. BE A CHANGEMAKER!





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