From a trike driver to mayor-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
“UP to now, I can feel the presence of my father when I am about to make a difficult decision,” said Magalang Mayor Romeo Pecson.
Only some years back, Romy was one of those tricycle drivers lined up at the gate of Marisol Subdivision in Barangay Ninoy Aquino in Angeles City, waiting for passengers. His income as a trike driver was hardly enough to support his wife Carol Villanueva and first born Rommel. He decided to sell his tricycle for P2,000 and ventured into a small-time meat processing business. That was in the early 80s.
Romy's father, Francisco, popularly known as Tatang Kiko, was family driver of rich families of Magalang town. He served as family driver of the Lucianos, Dayrits and Dizons, the town's leading families during those years. He hadn't known any work but driving, and it was in this honest toil he supported his family. When Romy finished high school, he started looking for work but the only job available to the youths of the town was as personnel of monte operations. Monte is a Spanish card game popular in the 60s up to the 90s.
His being a monte personnel didn't last long, for Romy felt gambling is not the kind of work he would like to be in for the rest of his life. His father advised him to pursue a college degree, but then he felt that the matriculation fees and other school expenses will bring heavy burden to the meager family resources, and he elected to enroll in a short college course. He finished an auto mechanic course at the then Angeles Institute of Technology, now Angeles University Foundation (AUF).
“When I was in high school, I belonged to the so-called ‘Row 4’ boys because I was never good in academics, but I was so well loved by my teachers and fellow students because I always shared whatever I brought to school. I was the quiet type and was too shy that I can't even look straight in the eyes my crush in school,” Romy recalls his high school days.
Now, Romy is one of the most distinguished graduates of the Magalang Institute.
After finishing his course in AIT and already a full grown man at 19, he immediately looked for a job. He was hired first as an apprentice at the US Motors Corporation, the leading motor shop in Angeles City during those years. After serving for some time, he was considered one of the best mechanics the company ever hired. He was a model employee, never complained about working longer hours just to keep the motor shop's clients satisfied. And that became his motto in life: keep the customer satisfied.
His father Tatang Kiko drilled into his mind that if ever he is engaged in anything, he should give his best, be efficient and don't reason out when he committed something wrong. And in occasions when he should make decisions, he should think it many times over. So when Romy embarked on his political career in 2007 and made a run for the Magalang mayorship, the first thing that crossed his mind was the many advices of his father. It was as if his late father, who passed away in 1980, told him to proceed and share his success to his town mates.
Business and political success didn't come easy for Romy. His mother, Amparo Sanchez Feliciano, was a buyer of scrap meat from Clark Air Force Base and re-sold them to a customer in Manila. His mother learned how to make hamburgers out of the scrap meat, and that's how the family started in the meat-processing business. And with Romy's P2,000 proceeds from the sale of his tricycle, Roel's Food Corporation -- which was founded in the mid-80s and which started in his house located at the back road of Marisol Village with only three workers -- grew to become one of the leading food corporations in Pampanga today.
He parlayed into politics after he found inner satisfaction in community service. Under his watch, the Rotary Club of Angeles City was voted as the most outstanding Rotary Club in the district, and he as most outstanding Rotarian President in 2004. It was during his presidency that the club garnered more awards and grew in membership.
Romy's dream today is to do more service to his town and to complete three terms as chief executive of Magalang. And when he completes his services to his town, he feels pretty sure the image of his father will again interfere in his thoughts and will give him good advice.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 25, 2012.