IF I am not mistaken, Mayor Bing Leonardia has just secured his 6th term as local chief executive of Bacolod City. Congratulations are in order. By this time he must have already mastered the art of local governance. Gone are the learning curves, this is now the time for cementing his legacy. Something to really look forward to.
I would have to say that Bacolod must have been handled well by local leaders over the years as visible indicators would suggest it being in its momentum for great progress. We have top universities in the city, we have BPO companies here, our sugar industry has thrived and peace and order are relatively felt in all corners. All indicating the city is ready for a big takeoff.
What then is there to expect from the reelected mayor in the next three years? Well there is so much to benchmark with super cities with twice internal revenue allotment (IRA) than Bacolod’s. You see, if we only do what we always did, we will only get what we always got. A good takeoff necessitates careful preparation. One has to see how other cities made it.
And while the new term of office foreshadows a new beginning of new innovations, I would say there are few essential issues that shape Bacolod’s future.
One: People empowerment.
Now more than ever, people need to be capacitated to catch up with the city’s progress. The city is only as good as how intelligent and skillful its population is. And while we got great universities in Bacolod, there are a greater number of people who are living below poverty line. This indicates that a great majority are still not yet empowered. There is so much that the local government can do to capacitate its people depending on the direction it wishes to pursue.
If Bacolod positions itself as an IT city then capacitation has to be geared towards skills in technology. If we position for agriculture, then certain skill sets necessary in improving our land have to be introduced to our youth as well. If there is one thing I learned in my engagements with LGUs it is that a local government can actually set the direction of its people’s future depending on the programs it funds.
Two: Polarizing politics.
The recent election has divided the city. That is very clear. Usually after elections, winning politicians would prioritize serving their loyalists and those that were instrumental in their victories. We do not mind that, it’s almost natural, but if unchecked there will be people who really need certain social services but will be deprived of it due to political partisan which is a form of injustice by the way.
It would need a visionary leader who can transcend on the deep culture of political patronage for us to really get into the next level of development.
While Bacolod is already ripe for takeoff, a wrong formula for development would also mean wasted power and wasted term.
Innovation is the key to progress. Things should not be business as usual. New things have to be introduced, those are what we call innovations. Bacolod does not even have to reinvent the wheel, all it does is to learn from super cities who made it and are more advance than us here.
Innovations should be the new mindset of local leadership as the old ways were all found wanting. We need game changing innovations for example in solid waste management, traffic management, social services, and especially in environmental management.
That said, Bacolod City has spoken, Mayor Bing is given yet another 3 years to make the people’s lives better.
Congratulations Mayor Bing and good luck!