IT WAS a surprise for media.
Not that she guested unannounced at News@Hues media conference at Park Inn Hotel but Lubao Mayor Esmeralda “Esmie” Pineda yielded to the invitation early in her assumption to duty.
As local chief executive for only one-and-a-half months, Mayor Esmie braved facing the media in a meaningful discussion of issues and concerns. I heard she has had some reservations when she was first invited by the Pampanga Press Club but lo and behold she gathered enough strength and obliged. Something that is not common among new mayors.
With composure, knowledge and conviction, the neophyte mayor has laid down plans and programs for Lubao. A manifestation of true grit, dedication and service that runs in the family.
It was more than just following the footsteps of her “Nanay Gov” (now Vice Governor Lilia Pineda), “Gov Delta” (Gov. Dennis Pineda) and sister Mylyne Pineda-Cayabyab (2nd District Board Member) who all held the helm of the town on different periods, Mayor Esmie says topping her priorities are programs in health and education.
“Tulad ng nasabi ko po noong campaign, priority po ang health and education. Ipagpapatuloy po natin ang nasimulan ni Nanay Gov sa health at titingnan ko po kung ano pa po ang aking maidadagdag,” Mayor Esmie said.
Noting the increased number of people with renal failures, she said that she is looking at extending more assistance to patients even as Gov. Dennis Pineda eyes putting up dialysis centers in Pampanga.
She is also eyeing putting up more government high schools in various barangays of the town, in cooperation with the Provincial Government and other national government agencies.
With barely two months into office, she is also preparing for the onset of storm season at the westernmost Pampanga town. Lubao, which name comes from Spanish “lo bajo” meaning low-lying gets perrenial floods. It has 44 barangays.
She said that Barangays Arbol, Remedios, Balantacan, Calangain, San Nicolas and Sta Monica are the “usual areas” prone to floods.
Her priority now are keeping access roads and pathways leading to schools passable during rainy season. She has also sought the help of Gov. Pineda and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Mikey Arroyo.
She cited in particular Barangay Balintacan where about 100 truckloads of sand and filling materials are needed just to keep access open during torrential rains. Imagine, the second eldest in the brood of five in a well-off family now thinking about how to keep floodwaters away from their townmates when she could just be sitting around had she not entered politics?
But service runs prime in their hearts, Mayor Esmie is no exception.
Among her other programs now are anti-dengue operations as well as the clearing national road (Sta. Cruz area) of illegal structures as ordered by President Duterte. Rehabilitation and repair of the Lubao church, expansion of the Bamboo Hub and other tourism attractions in the town. Oh yes, she would also pursue and improve the Sampaguita Festival.
Aside from getting help from her family, she said she is grateful for the support of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who hails from Lubao.