Shining bright Ram Mercado-A A +A
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
THE Pampanga media is proud of its two former practitioners who are now making their niche in government service.
First, I wish to focus the spotlight on career diplomat Elmer G. Cato, Special Project Assistant at the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration of the DFA. He has just recently received the Presidential Gawad Mabini award for a major accomplishment.
Cato’s latest brainchild is the highly acclaimed DFA’s public-private partnership program, which had established consular offices in Metro Manila shopping malls and select regional centers. The scheme has brought the speedy delivery of consular services, including passport processing, closer to the public.
When he joined the DFA in 1998, his brilliance and performance caught the attention of two Foreign Affairs secretaries. He initiated the transfer of the DFA consular office from the flood-prone Paskuhan Village to Clark. The ecozone consequently stirred with life and spirited zeal as hundreds of passport holders and applicants – involuntary tourists all- enlivened the desolate premises with their presence.
Cato was the strong voice of the country as outspoken officer-in-charge on the Visiting Forces Agreement. While assigned at the Philippine Mission at the UN, his exemplary service as Alternative Representative to the Security Council established him as a seasoned diplomat.
His excellence in the field of foreign service is impressive but I remember him more as a patriotic newspaper and magazine editor. Journalism’s loss is diplomacy’s gain.
I was honored to have been his columnist at his “Angeles Sun”, Central Luzon’s outstanding newspaper in that era, and then at the “Daily Globe” and “Today,” influential and popular broadsheets in Metro Manila.
I was happy with him as my editor. He never cut, changed, and rewrote a line in my piece that often times bordered on the absurd, incendiary, and outrageous. That spoke of his discernment, liberal intellect, and progressive convictions. As we wish him the best for the future (as DFA Usec), I joined my colleagues in endorsing him for the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Award ‘l2.
A former newspaper man like Elmer, Mark Allen Sison is now creating waves in the local political scene.
Son of late Teresito Sison, a celebrated freedom fighter during the Marcos regime, Mark was former city administrator of the past administration.
Aside from skills in administrative work, the “little mayor” was a master propagandist and a political strategist of the city mayor.
In the course of representing Mayor Francis Nepomuceno in official functions and project negotiations in Metro Manila, he was “discovered” by then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay who has sharp eyes for young men of talent and potentials.
Sison was among the first recruits of Binay in his camp. Today he is a highly trusted special aide and project manager of the Veep. He also coordinates Binay’s political outreach program in the province.
Mark has recently announced he was joining the race for city vice mayor. What could be the Vice President’s plan for Sison? The answer is quite distant but inevitably forthcoming.
The former city administrator seems to have overshadowed his former boss lately. Why, Sison has been distributing Binay-donated computer units to various public schools in Angeles.
His campaigners said this public service project is only one little example of what he could bring to Angeleños in the next presidency. I asked a former VM Vega Cabigting supporter why he shifted allegiance to Mark who, in my last reckoning, is far behind among the lead aspirant s for vice mayor.
“Maaring ‘di pa mapakinabangan si Mark ngayon, pero pag dating ng bagong Pangulo, he will be a big man and make Angeles proud for the great things he would bring us,” he explained. “Nag-i-invest lang ako ng maaga.”
Mark had hitched his wagon to Blueboy Nepo which grounded to a halt. He is now seeking his destiny by hitching his star to the Binay constellation.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 08, 2012.