PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte last week issued a Marching Order to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to clear the National Capital Region (NCR) of illegal vendors, illegally constructed edifices, and vehicles that use public roads as parking lots which hamper the flow of traffic.
This prompted the MMDA to call a meeting among NCR Mayors to appeal for their support and cooperation in compliance with the directive of the President. They were given 45 days to clear their respective areas of jurisdiction of illegal vendors, road blocks and illegally constructed buildings.
In the same way, President Duterte also gave an order to Secretary Año of DILG to call the attention of Provincial Governors, City and Municipal Mayors nationwide to clean their respective areas of jurisdiction of illegal vendors, illegal shanties and buildings and other road blocks.
I wish to thank our beloved President for this timely and laudable directive. In pursuance of this order, the newly elected mayor of the City of Manila, Isko Moreno, without being told, started clearing the city of illegal vendors in the Divisoria and Quiapo districts and ordered the dismantling of illegal shanties and buildings constructed by irresponsible city and barangay officials. Kudos to you Mr. Mayor. Continue the good job.
In the same manner, when yours truly was first elected Municipal Mayor of Magalang in 1998, first in my priority was to clean the town of Magalang. I still remember what my late brother, Governor Bren Z. Guiao used to say: "PERFORMANCE IS THE BEST POLITICS". Inspired by that beautiful phrase, I made it a habit of waking up early in the morning to supervise personally the proper collection of garbage. I went around the town proper picking up cigarette butts, used plastic bags and paper wastes, inspected comfort rooms in the public market to see to it those who were manning the CRs observe hygiene and maintain their cleanness.
In the final analysis, this action of mine produced good results. The town of Magalang was awarded by the Provincial Government, religious and private sectors and DILG as the Cleanest and Greenest Municipality not only in the province of Pampanga but the whole Central Luzon.
Magalang became a "Hall of Famer" in the last nine years I had been the Mayor. By way of an unsolicited advice, I urge other mayors particularly the newly elected Mayor of Magalang, Hon. Romy Pecson, to emulate the same, in order for you to gain the respect and admiration of your constituents. Don't rely much on your confidants. Use your own wise decision and discretion on important and delicate matters. Don't be misled into believing that being a Local Chief Executive is something that is glamorous. In reality, it is a self-sacrificing one. You are there to serve, not to be served. In so doing, I am very sure you will not be misguided and get away from a potentially embarrassing situation.
This article was contributed by the former Mayor of Magalang, the brother of the late Bren Z. Guiao and uncle of former Congressman and Gilas coach Yeng Guiao. He was mayor from 1997-2007.