OVER the past months while I was still the chief of this paper, the name ‘Calizo’ always comes out in my gathering of news and information as the best and the brightest rookie in local legislation. As a first termer he already made for himself an impeccable public value of securing the peace and order of our city being the chairman of the committee on police, fire, and public safety.
Now as well that I have already relinquished my post as editor-in-chief of this affiliate, and now that I can already endorse any leader of my preference without compromising the editorial independence of this paper, I took the initiative of contacting the good councilor to check and verify for myself if the guy is indeed as good as his reputation. True enough I was not disappointed.
On Thursday, April 4, I had an audience with Councilor Romeo Calizo in a coffee shop uptown. When asked why would a retired army general join local politics he simply said it was never his plan. It was always his wife who was in local politics until Mayor Oscar Moreno convinced him to run under his ticket in 2016.
His initial struggle was the big difference between the military world and the civilian world, because while it is easy for him to manage the military it was extremely complicated in civil service; a white is not always white and black has all sorts of shades. In a civilian world, laws have so many interpretations he said. Yet, as he got more immersed in local governance he saw real poverty among our people and realize just how much work still needs to be done.
Fired by the desire to make our city better, Calizo eyes to work in the metropolization of Cagayan de Oro in tandem with Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, an equally brilliant legislator. And since his background is in military, Calizo positions to concentrate on peace and order, a prime component in propelling progress and development in a highly urbanized city like Cagayan de Oro.
When asked what has he done so far, Calizo enumerated unprecedented results and legacies in his first term.
Being the chairperson of the committee on police, fire and public safety he happily reported that the city now finally crafted a public safety plan to address threats in insurgencies, calamities, terrorism and all other security issues we may face. Ironically, at the time where peace and order was the greatest challenge in Mindanao, our crime volume has tremendously reduced and is continuously on a downward trend. This was due to their innovation of forming the Oro tanods which became the force multipliers of the police who helped in the immediate response for crimes reported, conducted barangay profiling, and provided intelligence for the police force. This innovation was also complemented by seven static checkpoints and 12 random checkpoints making our city police and its regional office the best in the country.
But their victories are not without challenges. Calizo is not one who sugarcoats the real problems as he identified the lack of local facilities like drug testing centers that we have to rely so much on national agencies which are very congested already. He also pointed that while the crime volume is on the downtrend, crime solution is a totally different story in itself, something he would like to work on in the next term if given yet another chance.
Why run again? Calizo said he was just warming up and there is still so much more to be done. His advocacy in poverty alleviation still has to get materialized through education programs which he would like to dip his hands on as well as his desire to be part of the team that will solve the perennial traffic woes as he already studied some decongesting schemes that may just work in our context.
It was my first time and probably my last to meet Councilor Romeo Calizo as I am now waiting for my flight for Bacolod City as of this writing. But with his track record and after confirming just how passionate the guy is in changing the bureaucracy for the better, I say Calizo should have a place in the city council more than ever and more than anyone else.