THIS Sunday, June 30, at 12 noon, my third and final term as City Councilor of Mabalacat City ends. How time flies. It’s been nine years since I snatched the last spot in the 8-man municipal council in 2010, edging the ninth placer by a mere 180 votes. It was a sweet victory after suffering a defeat in 2007 where I placed ninth. On my second term, I moved up to 4th place, and inched higher to second spot on my final term.

As a neophyte public servant, I had to make a lot of adjustments. With 25 years of experience in the corporate world when I entered politics, I had to learn how to deal with government bureaucracy – and mediocrity. I tried to make a difference as best I could, starting with basic things like editing resolutions and ordinances for grammar, sentence construction and content. Then I tried to instill discipline and punctuality in our sessions by incorporating fines in our internal rules.

Another area for improvement that I immediately saw was the voluminous documents that we have to deal with every session. Storage space was a problem. Photocopying was expensive and time consuming. The best solution was to go paperless. I started acquainting my colleagues with the wonders of technology by bringing my 1st generation iPad in our regular sessions. They were impressed with on-the-spot information I give whenever there is an inquiry on the floor. For this, I was called Mr. Google and Mr. Walking dictionary.

Convinced with the wonders of technology, we purchased netbooks. All documents needed for the day’s session were scanned and uploaded. As a result, we saved a lot of papers and storage space and cut down photocopying expense. The clutter on our tables disappeared. We can even bring home the day’s documents for further study. The switch to e-documentation not only saved money and improved efficiency, it also reduced waste.

In my nine years in the City Council, I authored and co-authored many resolutions and ordinances. Some of the significant ordinances are the Mabalacat City Environmental Code, the Sewerage and Septage Management Ordinance, the New Charter of the Mabalacat City College, and the Mabalacat City Traffic Code. I was also privileged to have been part of the Cityhood of Mabalacat.

As Chairman of the Committee on Education, I sit in the Local School Board (LSB). It was during my term in the LSB that we were able to provide all public school teachers in Mabalacat City with laptops. We augmented the budget of all schools for utilities and manpower from the Special Education Fund. With meager funds but proper budgeting, we also purchased a lot for an elementary school.

I wish I could have done more. But the Sangguniang Panlungsod is a collegial body. I am just one voice among the 13-man council. Sometimes it is a game of numbers. You just have to respect the opinion of the majority. Agree to disagree. But in the end support the decision of the majority and uphold the integrity of the august body.

Thank you so much Mabalaqueños for giving me your trust and support. This is not goodbye, but rather, see you soon.