IF I were to evaluate or assess former Mayor Malu P. Lacson's performance during her short stint as local chief executive, I will not have any hesitation in giving her passing grade.
This is so, because in just short period of time, she was able to transform the old and deteriorating condition of the town plaza into a classic one where Magalenos young and old can now spend and enjoy their leisure hours like jogging, walking, social and sports activities and sometimes group gatherings and meetings. She was able to boost the town of Magalang as conducive to business opportunities considering, of course, that Magalang is located on a high ground and is scarcely visited by flood water during rainy days.
She was able to put up school buildings and evacuation centers, concreting farm to market roads and thoroughfares. These were promptly finished on time before the previous local elections because the Municipality of Magalang has a huge budget of more than 300 million pesos, inclusive of internal revenue allotment (IRA).
On top of this, there is President Duterte's Train Law and Build, Build, Build program that make it easier for elected officials nationwide to accomplish their project for the development of their respective communities.
In comparison, during my incumbency as mayor for three consecutive terms, the municipality of Magalang had only P60 million budget inclusive of Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). What a big disparit! Nevertheless, despite the constraints in budget, I was able, through the assistance of Municipal Budget Officer, Accountant and Treasurer to introduce some realignments just to meet the necessary personnel needs and services. Here comes the puzzling question that bothers the people of Magalang, especially her supporters who catapulted her to power.
Why is it, despite her immense and tangible accomplishments, she was defeated by a small margin by Mayor Pecson? Were Mayor Pecson and his cohorts able to impact the issues vis-a-vis the implementation of former Malu's project? They said there was overpricing in the implementation of her project.
But these were all innuendoes and no material evidence to prove it. Pundits and people on the streets who come from the different walks of life have a diversity of opinion.
They say it was a simple miscalculation and extremely over-confidence on the camp of Ex-Mayor Malu Lacson. Mayor Romy F. Pecson may have to work on his administrative and technical know-hows in effectively pursuing his advocacies and good governance.
But to his credit, Pecson is known to possess humility and benevolence whose heart is always open to those who come to him for assistance materials or whatever.
These are precisely his vote -getting potentials and prowess. These are the very reasons why he is being loved by the people of Magalang. Amid the present circumstances, will there be a possible return bout on the part of two protagonists in 2022 local elections?
I will leave that question to the wise judgment of the people of Magalang for them to decide.
The author is former mayor of Magalang from 1998 to 2007. He is the brother of former Pampanga governor Bren Z. Guiao and an uncle of Gilas Yeng Guiao. He contributed this article to SunStar Pampanga.