Monday, August 19, 2019

Aguilar: On change of leadership

Against the current

NOW that the results of the local elections are officially out and winners have been declared, transitions are also automatically in effect.

Good if the incumbents won because it will just be an issue of continuity and no major disturbance will be experienced in any office as workers will just have to continue the tasks they were mandated to do. But for those whose offices are to be replaced with new leadership and new priorities, we would be expecting an overhauling of people, assignments and processes.

You see, I have heard countless of horror stories on the chaos of transitions after elections. Allow me to share to one to clarify my point.

My friend Cheryl works in municipal office in the south as the focal person for persons with disabilities (PWD) since 2006. In her time, in the whole Philippines, there were only two municipalities that were chosen to pilot the program for non-handicapping environment sponsored by Japan International Cooperation Agency in partnership with National Council on Disability Affairs, her office was one.

Chyrel was trained over the years to orchestrate what would be a model for the rest of municipalities all over the Philippines that local governments can champion the rights of PWD. She was so good at what she does that her municipality has received a number of international recognitions for her work. To wit, her accomplishments garnered her municipality the award on International Universal Design as the only municipality in the world to have successfully organized the persons with disability prior to creating enabling projects for them. Their municipality was also awarded with Apolinario Mabini Award from the Malacanang for their success in implementing accessibility law BP 344 and RA 7277.

Sadly, the old mayor lost in the election and a new mayor took place. Chyrel shared that there were still a lot to do for persons with disability in her municipality. She was even waiting for a grant from Japan to provide PWD with a program on Independent Living where a center will be built for them. Suddenly, all of what she has toiled over the years and all her future plans for the program will have to have an abrupt end simply because she was assigned by the new administrator as one of the road sweepers. This is what usually happens when a certain employee is perceived to be very loyal to the old administration. They get transferred and some are not even given jobs at all as they enjoy a floating status.

Her story was a perfect example of the bad side of politics and a horrible face on the chaos of transition that is happening right after every election. There are so many Chyrels in each municipality right now and I think it is high time that they be mentioned into open not to tarnish anyone’s reputation but to simply re-assess the system that all of us have become victims of (including those who were elected in office).

I am therefore moved to dare all those who are in local government offices right now to rise above the occasion and be the leaders that this country needs , i.e., someone with a genuine interest to improve his/her community over and above being sucked by the cycle of petty quarrels in local politics.

Let us put all the Chyrels back to do what they do best, for the good of the community.


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