Naguit’s Lethal Weapon: Bayanihan Power in 2013-A A +A
By Ram Mercado
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
STO. TOMAS is the only municipality in Pampanga where all its former mayors had tried but failed to finish their mandated three terms.
Whether this is a curse to the elected officials or a blessing to the residents, is a conundrum that town historians could not explain.
Incumbent municipal mayor Joselito “Lito” Naguit is a 42-year-old two-term mayor who is now on the crossroads of his political career. Naguit is attempting to break the “jinx” of a historical reality. He wants to serve his municipality beyond two terms. His possible reelection in 2013 will unbind him from the “curse.”
Not only do the Sto. Tomas residents intensely anticipate Naguit’s successful bid for a third term. Concerned business leaders in the City of San Fernando are watching the outcome of the mayor’s aspiration for a reason.
One major cause of the destructive inundation in San Fernando is the flashfloods surging from its neighboring town after heavy rains. This problem has triggered serious concern of Fernandinos in the quality of leaders in Sto. Tomas.
Naguit demonstrated his competence in leadership, and genuine initiative in rebuilding and strengthening the breached portion of San Fernando-Sto. Tomas-Minalin tail dike.
The damaged dike caused untold economic losses in Sto. Tomas and San Fernando. Naguit rallied local residents, and in the tradition of “bayanihan” united their efforts to reconstruct and repair the broken tail dike.
As he led some 3,500 workers in massive rebuilding-sandbagging operations to staunch rampaging flood waters, Fernandinos were impressed by the speedy and effective results of Naguit’s intervention program.
“This is the reason why concerned CSF residents were hoping for Naguit’s reelection bid,” reported newsman Chris Navarro.
Fernandinos saw in Naguit a guarantee that any and all future breaches in the Sto. Tomas portion of the dike will be quickly and surely attended to by the indefatigable entrepreneur (small business financing and restaurant enterprises).
What is important to the youthful mayor is to continue to protect his town from further flooding caused by the flood-vulnerable dike. He is now focused on promoting and encouraging the growth of three vital industries in his town – pottery, coffin manufacturing and poultry-raising.
Capitol sources reported that Naguit’s spectacular work on the breached dike was made possible because of his good reputation. This made possible the assistance of officials of the World Vision Hong Kong/Philippines in the sum of P10.5M for Naguit’s food-for-work program. Gov. Lilia Pineda, through former Mayors League president Dennis Pineda, gave the mayor some 5,000 sacks for sandbags. He also received P5-million fund aid from the Capitol for flood intervention work.
If given another term, Naguit vowed to continue road building and street repair program and increase his work output from the present 25 kilometers of road/repairs already finished. He also wanted to double his 1,000 scholarship grants to indigent students while putting to action a tax mapping program to upgrade the 4th class municipality to the next grade.
His economic advisers said a solid source of local revenues could come from the vehicle assembly industry, a principal economic activity in the town. His close rival is a known ally and protector of the craftsmen group. He is not expected to raise revenues from this sector, thus derailing efforts to improve collection targets and hinder municipal growth and development.
Will the Sto. Tomas folk help break this feared two-term cycle jinx and put Naguit on the saddle? With the spirit of “bayanihan” tested in the massive dike repair, the same kindred spirit may spark a move to reelect Naguit. With his 3rd term, the mayor may yet make Sto. Tomas as progressive and peaceful as the other Pampanga towns.
“Fernandinos who worry about periodic flash floods that threaten our city are putting their faith on Naguit’s reelection,” Navarro said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 31, 2012.