Governor Alfredo Galicia Maranon, Jr. was born in Sagay City, Negros Occidental on December 21, 1935. Today, he is one of the most distinguished, respected and recognized leaders of Negros Occidental. I worked with the good governor some 8 years ago and saw for myself why he is so.
Last week, on my birthday – December 14, 2018 – out of the blue, he decided to raise my hand as his choice for mayor of Bacolod. I considered it as his birthday gift to me. Today, on his birthday, I have nothing to give that would mean a lot to him. He has everything. And has lived a full life. All I have are these pictures – which show how much he has done for both Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.
These images are all I have as a present to a man who is very dear to me because he gave me a chance to be part of his journey as a leader.
I can go on with more pictures of the Governor to show all the things he has supported but let me show the posters of the projects which the governor supported and funded for ICT.
At the end of the day, these images will show how a man has dedicated his life in helping the province and Bacolod. I will always look up to him as my mentor and my example. I thank the Lord for allowing our paths to cross. Happy Birthday Governor!!!
It is difficult to be weak. To not have a voice even when you need to speak. To have no power to help even yourself. I have seen so much weakness in the faces of many. In the eyes of an abused child, or woman, in the face of a poor farmer who is falsely accused or a young person who wish he can go to school but needed to work. Or of a whole family sharing a few bananas for lunch. Some of us shout in the streets for them, some of us help them directly. Some of us try to be strong and lend them our strength. When we aspire to be strong – to seek power so one can speak for others, we run the risk of being misunderstood. Of being judged as ambitious.
Since elementary, I tried to be strong for others. I fought against kids who look down on other kids. I used my voice to defend other kids. In high school, I would always speak up for my classmates. I would always volunteer to lead in the class. In college, I run for president of the student government and stepped on several people’s toes to stand for other students. Many called me ambitious when in truth I was just filling up a post because no one wanted to step forward. I was oblivious since elementary that all these standing up for others indirectly affected my academics. Oftentimes, I was perceived as too outspoken, too argumentative. At times, too opinionated. I did not care about academic honors, although I still ended up getting some honors.
Fortunately, I was able to make the most out of my skills. I was best debater in college and always loved argumentation and debate subjects. Eventually, I became opinion editor of our school paper. It worked out well for me. I found myself in the right places.
While it was satisfying to have the opportunity to speak your mind, it was also painful to keep on pretending you are as strong as you appear to be.
When abused children and women cry in front of me, I feel my heart bursting inside but still I try to collect my thoughts and expresss them in a voice that will inspire them to be brave.
Half of the tears I have cried in my life were not for myself but for others who are rendered weak by the circumstances. Until today, I refuse to accept that I am an empath. I am just an ordinary person trying my best to stand up for others.
Do I think myself a hero? If heroes are foolish people who would go and rescue a trafficked victim without the help of any law enforcer, then yes. If a hero means acting like a moron and running for public office without resources and a political party just to fulfill a dream of being the representative of my generation to government (as if my generation really cares), then yes, I am a hero. If being a hero means unreasonably spending all my time away from my own family to go to places just to share what I think would help these places generate jobs, then yes I am a hero.
Quite frankly, if these were the definition of hero – I would not look up to anyone like that. So instead of twisting its meaning, let me just call myself – an overly zealous dreamer whose goal in life is to be the mouthpiece of others. My outspoken nature is both a gift and a burden. It is a gift when I am able to succesfully speak for others. It is a burden when I had to point out a flaw to make things better.
Today, I stepped forward for my city. Just like when I was in college when no one wanted to lead – I needed to stand and offer myself. Again, I am judged as ambitious. Sadly, being mayor is not even an ambition for me – the position in fact is not something I want to covet for my own sake. Given the chance, my ambition is to write books that will outlive me, visit places in my bucketlist and age gracefully. But this – this is a mission. Another mission, just like when I was small – to speak for others who have no voice. To stand up for the weak. To use my God-given skills in the service of others.
Do I regret being outspoken? There are times I regret saying things I should not say – but I never regret being outspoken.
I do not need my critics to believe me. There are people out there whose biases, dogmas, doctrines, beliefs and prejudices in life do not afford them the luxury of understanding others except what they wish to understand.
There are people out there who has an opinion of everything under the sun. And sadly, only opinions.
There are people out there who do not like what I say, how I say it, or what I said – but never care about who I say it for and why I say it. I cannot sacrifice my present mission for these people – they are too unworthy even for a minute of my time compared to those I need to lend my voice to.
I do not have even a minute to tarry. I am on my way again to speak for others. I have stumbled and fell so many times in the past but I need to stand up and keep going. I know in my heart, somebody needs me to speak and stand for him or her.
Hence, I carry this gift and burden gladly and gratefully.
The search for The Outstanding Women in
Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award is now underway.
Presented by TOWNS Foundation, the award is given to outstanding Filipino women ages 21 to 50 years old who have contributed positively to strengthening national capability and shaping the nation’s future.
Since 1974, TOWNS has recognized 165 women from various walks of life who have served as catalysts for economic, social and cultural development, national security and national unity.
The award is given every three years during the last week of October and the search for these women is held nationwide for a period of one year.
TOWNS Foundation is a national organization of dynamic and effective women who by their common shared activities help transform the lives of the Filipinos. All TOWNS awardees become members of TOWNS Foundation.
Incorporatedin 1995, the TOWNS Foundation was established to support and harness the talent and capabilities of women excelling in their own fields.
Any Filipino women are eligible to be nominated by a person or organization under specific criteria. She must be at least 21 years but not more than 50 years by October 31, 2019, a Filipino citizen, distinguished in her field of specialization or advocacy and committed to the promotion of the well-being and upliftment of the people and community she serves.
The nominee must possess a pioneering spirit and has achieved success despite challenges attendant to new endeavors and must be dignified, respectable, articulate and self-confident.
TOWNS Foundation Inc. conducts this triennial search for the purpose of identifying outstanding Filipino women who, in their various capacities have served the country well and to recognize those who are true role models for Filipino women and girls who aspire to dedicate themselves to nation-building.
Statement Regarding the Endorsement of Governor Alfredo Maranon, Jr. Dated December 14, 2018
I feel blessed to receive this wonderful gift on the occasion of my birthday from a man who is well-respected and widely-recognized for his work as a public servant for many years.
I thank Governor Alfredo Maranon, Jr. for publicly endorsing my candidacy as mayor of the City of Bacolod and declaring his trust and confidence in my capacity to lead and help effect changes in Bacolod.
In his speech before provincial government employees last night, he said many are asking him to run for mayor of Bacolod but he said “kapoy na tuhod ko” (My knees are already tired). Instead he said, someone is running whom he believes can clean up Bacolod, put system and order back and provide jobs and opportunities.
He challenged everyone by saying – “this is my last campaign. I will exhaust all means to campaign with the help of all the voters of Bacolod to clean up Bacolod – mentally, physically and morally”. He repeated the phrase “limpyuhan ta ang Bacolod (let’s clean Bacolod).
His endorsement is very special to me not only for political reasons but because he is one of my exemplars for his brand of leadership.
Let me share a few major points based on my observations in having worked with the governor for several years.
He is a symbol of inclusive leadership, one that listens and welcomes new ideas and solutions marked with innovation and out-of-the-box strategies.
He would go to other places and carefully observe their best practices, then he would improve, adjust or modify these concepts and replicate them for the province. He was always happy to share what he saw in other cities and countries and would proudly say – “we will do these in Negros Occidental” and would always add why he can do it better.
He would intently listen to ideas being presented to him especially when these ideas redound to the benefit of the Negrosanons in terms of making their life easier and giving them jobs and opportunities. I remember him always patiently listening as I run through the numbers when we created the job targets for the Negros First ICT Investments program and several other ICT related projects.
He is an unassuming leader who always wants to keep a low profile. He tells me always not to include his pictures in any publication that I did for information on communications technology (ICT). He would say “put the more important data for investors to see and not a picture of me.”
He is someone who would always give credit where credit is due. I remember him always saying every time he meets ICT investors that the one who really works hard for ICT jobs to come to Bacolod and Negros Occidental was me and he was just there to support the direction. He is someone who is not hungry for praises but always generous in praising others when they deserve it.
He firmly and fully understands the need to create skilled talent for ICT jobs and he would always check whether we have enough manpower to supply more ICT investments. He would always highlight and support the programs of the Negros Occidental Language and ICT Center (NOLITC). He would always ask me to help and promote NOLITC.
He is one person who pursues an idea that interest him with passion and I would remember from time to time that he would call me and share ICT related ideas and ask my opinion.
When we were developing the Negros first CyberCentre, he would patiently listen to updates about the feasibility study on the projects. It took as more than a year to finalize all the studies and present to the public. He wanted to ensure that before the project is undertaken which will cost take a big amount of loan, the revenue and job targets were already in place.
I have so much to share about this man who I consider as my second father. He gave me a chance to help him as governor of the province for that alone – I am very thankful. Now our fates are sealed – I am humbled and truly honored for him to raise my hands in that stage last night – but above all – I am in awe – how a leader can speak up and stand up for Bacolod. With courage and firmness.
I am truly praying to the Lord for people to follow his example. And be silent no more. We had enough of a leadership that has rendered itself obsolete and self-destructive. I do not anymore even consider it a leadership but purely a case of people in power managing the city but not inspiring innovation, not inspiring obedience and inclusion.
On that stage last night – are two people standing (me and the Governor) who have no business caring for Bacolod except as residents. I am now enjoying my private life, especially because I get the chance to help other cities and even countries. The governor will soon go back to private life by June 30, 2019 and I wish and pray for him to enjoy a long life in happy retirement – and yet we stood there last night – knowing our critics will (for lack of other decent strategies) attack us over the airwaves because money is their only power.
We stood there – because we both know there is more to this city than what we have now. People are wallowing in the dirt of status quo but are not happy. Their momentary bliss brought about by fleeting dance parades and unstable jobs (not even jobs – because they receive pittance) – that is the panacea given to them today for them to forget their problems – of joblessness, lack of services, lack of opportunities. Short term gratification that deprives them of their dignity and honor as human beings but mere political pawns. And many do not know – because in Bacolod, traditional politicians made life one big festival – devoid of carefully and meticulously, inclusively planned and designed programs with clear success indicators and legal compliance – that will outlive many of us existing today.
The governor has inspired me to focus on the poorest members of our community by ensuring equitable healthcare, livelihood, housing and education – focus on programs that will empower them and result to sustainable results and impact and not just palliative solutions. He has given me great insights on how to strategize on these four major aspects sharing models that the province has already implemented as proof of concept.
The governor and I stood in that stage last night – to create a legacy. I belong to the middle age generation and the governor to the older generation – we stood there thinking of the new generation.
Many times, all I needed was a single reason to continue the journey in the midst of a million reason to give up. I am always faced with a situation where the odds was a hundred to one. The most important factor is to find a truly important mission.
Facing insurmountable odds has become a commonplace where I am concerned. Growing up without a mother was terribly scary and sad, but I managed to survive. How? Because I believed I will survive. Every day as a child I would tell myself that I would grow up just fine. That even when people can break my bones, no one can break my spirit.
I always did not have enough during my school days, just one or two sets of uniform, and a few pesos in my pocket but I did not allow anyone to look down on me. I believed in myself and in what I was capable of regardless of what others say. I fought against self-pity and discarded all the thoughts that will weaken my determination. I strived to survive everyday with the grit and zealousness of a wide-eyed child – always looking forward to what each day has to offer.
Almost all the decisions I made (and will be making) in mylife is a leap of faith. I am one to never consider all the risk to the pointof being scared in doing what I wanted to do – I am one who would embrace achallenge and knew there were always be dangers and difficulties I need to facealong the way. Despite this, I trudge on, sometimes failing, but always movingforward and trying to finish what I have started. How do I survive? I believe I was born to take on the hard tasks and survive.
Today, I face yet another difficult mission – something Imust undertake not alone but with other dreamers and believers. People who think things can be better if we try harder.
Some three years ago, I decided to step away from politics. Grateful to have served the city I grew up and had been my home all my life, I wanted to spend the rest of my life helping others in a different capacity. It was painfulto have so many ideas and to be burdened to get these ideas out in an environment where everyone is competing instead of collaborating. For me, nine years as a public servant is already enough to earn me a chance to also live a peaceful life. I started to realize many of my dreams already came true. Examining my heart today, I know I can only be grateful for all that I have.
Do I still have a dream? Yes, to be happy. I told myself –happiness is the opposite of a stressful political life. One day, however, I woke up and asked myself – how about the dream of others? Don’t I need to help them achieve their dreams? Am I capable of helping others achieve their dreams? I reminded myself again about what I always believed – I was born to take on the hard tasks and survive. If in the past, I tried to survive for myself, now I feel in my heart, I need to survive for others, for their dreams and aspirations.
I need to survive and overcome this latest challenge. Thiscity lacks a vision. It has no direction. Shortsightedness in leadership that only tries to survive every three years has affected the city and citizens have become weary to the point of being apathetic – government has become irrelevant.
As I mark my 46th year today, I lift my mission to the Lord. This is His Battle and His Mission – I am just an instrument.
The people are out on a mission to change the city – make it brand new – with new and innovative ideas and solutions – and I shall join them once more this time. I am now inspired as I was inspired the first time I joined politics to see this growing interest in really scaling up the city to its highest potential as community with a vision and direction.
We all need to work together to see change really happen. The most difficult part is raising resources. But people have been generous with their ideas on how to creatively raise campaign funds. This is the essense of real open governance – people contributing to the overarching goal of creatinga full-integrated city of the future.
I trust the millennial generation will help my generation –Generation X. If both generations join hands now – we can make a big difference for our city. We just need to believe. Let’s keep the faith.