FOR every political leader elected into post after each election, most people think the "challenge" is how to beat the performance of the past administration. The cycle of social and economic problems in the country cannot be entirely blamed on lack of resources but it lies heavily on the common lack of vision among many elected leaders.
Most number of local politicians spends their first year in office auditing the former governor or mayor, then launch their own programs. They are only given three years in office for every term. The irony is that after wasting the first two years trying to prove themselves as worthy, they use their last year in office to prepare for the following elections. The result of this practice is too devastating and creates long-term problems that impede the potential of every local government unit to fully develop and prosper.
Pampanga and Angeles City must elevate the "challenge" and be more pro-active. Given the current economic climate in Clark, where multinational investors are pouring billions of pesos in investments and infrastructure, local leaders must see beyond the three-year term.
Elected Governor Dennis Pineda and Mayor Carmelo "Pogi" Lazatin Jr. need to take a serious study on the competitiveness and preparedness of both LGUs in terms of sustainability.
The most progressive and most-livable communities in the world such as Singapore, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Hong Kong and New York to name a few, have invested so much on education and human resource development. A sustainable city is an intelligent community.
With the growing number of population and migrants from other regions attracted to job opportunities in Clark, the resources such as land, water and energy will continuously be depleted. Without proper planning, Pampanga and Angeles City will end up just like Metro Manila.
Intelligent planning and setting up the appropriate policies for sustainable development should be a top priority, especially the capitalization on human resource development. The people must be prepared for what lies ahead of them. The children should be given equitable access to learning and empower the common people by changing the way they think towards the future.
There should be a future for Pampanga and Angeles where its people respect cultural diversities and actively contribute to creating a more sustainable community.
What is a sustainable community anyway? What makes a city a livable city? The United Nations identified six parameters to identify sustainability: efficiency, responsibility, integrity, acceptability, liveliness and equity.
Pampanga and Angeles City are still way behind being sustainable. Other cities in the country have the same situation. Take for example the issue on access to education and children's care. According to Unicef, 31.4 percent of children in the country are living below the basic needs poverty line. A survey conducted by the Labor sector in 2016 also showed that 28 percent or 12 million of the country's workforce did not finish basic education.
Providing better access to basic education, enhancement of highly-skilled human resources and producing more collegiate professionals is one of the true challenges to local leaders. It is not enough that there is a law for free education. Every child must go to school. Every adult must have basic education. Everyone must learn how to read and write. The governor or mayor of every LGU can actually create a system of inventory and make an honest assessment on the condition of their human resources.
The LGUs were also given enough authority and autonomy to plan and find solutions how to be sustainable. They can plan with the education sector and every school, college or university in their locality so as to maximize opportunities for all. And education is just one aspect of elevating the challenge. The issue on efficiency such as in distribution of energy, transportation, traffic management, solid waste management and environment, delivery of health and social services and more, still needs to be properly addressed.