Can Bing be an Isko and Vico?

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion - KARL OMBION [email protected]­

WELL, that is a ques­tion only Mayor Eve­lio Leonar­dia aka Bing can an­swer.

I ad­mire new­bie lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tives Isko and Vico for mak­ing sharp changes in their re­spec­tive cities early in their pub­lic ser­vice. In fact, their fresh ini­tia­tives have al­ready gone vi­ral na­tion­wide and put many lo­cal gov­ern­ment units on the front­line of pub­lic opin­ion.

How right and well are they do­ing and how long can they sus­tain their bolder and fiery start for bot­tom up changes only them and time can tell.

There are how­ever some im­por­tant in­sights on ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and the role of lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit that the na­tional gov­ern­ment es­pe­cially the De­part­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DILG) and as well as the rights-con­scious cit­i­zens can draw from the two young ex­ec­u­tives.

One, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment takes more than tech­ni­cal e.g. en­gi­neer­ing works, and aes­thet­ics e.g. land­scap­ing and de­sign­ing. Po­lit­i­cal will and good lo­cal gov­er­nance play equally im­por­tant roles too.

Isko and Vico have shown how crit­i­cal and piv­otal the po­lit­i­cal will, de­ci­sion-mak­ing and in­flu­ence of the lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tives in chang­ing mind­set, per­spec­tive, poli­cies and pro­grams on ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment.

It takes strong-willed gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tives and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to con­front crooks and cor­rupt prac­tices, un­der­world and or­ga­nized syn­di­cates within and out­side the city hall that of­ten caused so­cial in­equal­ity and mass poverty, and poor en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

Two, ur­ban man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment is iden­tity build­ing cam­paign. It goes with it the mak­ing of sto­ries about its cul­tural her­itage, the sto­ries of its cit­i­zens’ strug­gles on var­i­ous is­sues, the sto­ries about its he­roes, hero­ines and leg­ends; the story about its po­lit­i­cal and ju­ridi­cal ex­is­tence.

For many for­eign­ers, and the world com­mu­ni­ties, Philip­pines is Manila. And Manila has great sto­ries of de­struc­tion and re­build­ing. These were lost for decades due to crook lo­cal of­fi­cials in ca­hoots with the pow­ers in Mala­canang. This is what Isko wants to re­claim un­der the ban­ner of Bagong Maynila.

Pasig, a much younger city, and so Vico is in­stalling data-based and free­dom of in­for­ma­tion rich gov­er­nance to help it make bet­ter de­ci­sions with broader so­cial im­pact. Pasig too is an in­dus­trial-com­mer­cial cen­ter, a rich city, and as such its pos­ses­sion of wealth and high val­ued prop­er­ties are some­thing that should be con­sol­i­dated and given right per­spec­tive to en­sure that a wider seg­ment of its cit­i­zens ben­e­fit from it. This is what Vico is work­ing harder on.

Three, the need for par­tic­i­pa­tory gov­er­nance which re­quires cit­i­zens and ma­jor stake­hold­ers par­tic­i­pa­tion, data-based gov­er­nance, to en­sure

trans­parency, re­spon­sive and ac­count­abil­ity.

The great task of de­vel­op­ment, trans­for­ma­tion and man­age­ment of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and ur­ban cen­ters re­quires ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient par­tic­i­pa­tion of or­ga­nized cit­i­zens and pro­fes­sion­als in gov­er­nance.

Fourth, right en­vi­ron­men­tal plan­ning and man­age­ment. This means more open spa­ces and green struc­tures. If done well, these would de­crease spend­ing for ex­pen­sive in­fra­struc­tures, de­con­gest more closed spa­ces, in­crease mo­bil­ity of the cit­i­zens, and safer spa­ces and routes for se­nior cit­i­zens, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and chil­dren.

Isko and Vico have al­ready taken ini­tial steps in this re­gard, and vow to sus­tain them to­wards get­ting sub­stan­tive and mean­ing­ful re­sults.

Fifth, a gov­ern­ment that puts in their en­tire equa­tion the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the cit­i­zens ba­sic rights is a peo­ple-first ori­ented in­sti­tu­tion.

Isko vows to pro­vide re­lo­ca­tion and al­ter­na­tive and sus­tain­able jobs to the in­for­mal sec­tor of the city. Vico plans to use the bil­lions sav­ings of the city to pro­vide for low cost hous­ing, uni­ver­sal health care, more anti-poverty mea­sures. And the best is his mea­sure to pro­tect work­ers’ rights and se­cu­rity of ten­ure, which Pasig is a host to nu­mer­ous big fac­to­ries and plants.

Well, ur­ban planner and ad­vo­cate of in­clu­sive cities Ra­gene Palma said of the two young ex­ec­u­tives, ur­ban trans­for­ma­tion takes time, but with their new per­spec­tive, 3 years could still spell a big dif­fer­ence in these two cities.

Again, can Bing be an Isko and Vico?

Will he have the po­lit­i­cal will to craft right poli­cies and pro­grams and use his in­flu­ence to en­sure that the city’s cit­i­zens get a city gov­ern­ment and so­cial en­vi­ron­ment se­cure, safe and free of crooks, syn­di­cates and crim­i­nals; en­joy their ba­sic rights; and take ac­tive part in all spheres of lo­cal gov­er­nance?

For Bing to be an

Isko and Vico is to be more than just pop­u­lar and vi­ral; he must tran­scend him­self and his pol­i­tics and be the change that peo­ple wants.

If the two young ex­ec­u­tives have shown they can do it, Bing has even more rea­son to do it and do it bet­ter hav­ing been in var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal seats for more than two decades.

Yes, he can do it bet­ter, un­less the cit­i­zens, or his close ad­mir­ers, have over­val­ued him to a fic­tion.*

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