HIS polo barong screamed Noynoy Aquino. His baller ID said he was for the Liberal Party standard bearer. Mayor Oscar Rodriguez of the City of San Fernando confirmed all the pieces physical evidences of his presidential preference.
I apologized to the mayor for the inappropriateness of my attire, linen shorts and t-shirt, which I thought was only right for the 40-degree heat of Pampanga. The visit to his office, on his invitation that was relayed to me by acting Sun.Star Pampanga editor Jovi de Leon, was unplanned and unexpected.
I didn’t find it pertinent to talk about the weather of Pampanga, despite my lamentations of it since I arrived here last Tuesday. I knew that when he visits Cebu today, he will say the same about the sun biting his skin which, I should point out, is flawless for a 64-year-old guy.
The City Council of San Fernando will receive an award from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for best legislative work at a ceremony to be held in Cebu tomorrow. Rodriguez will be there with his councilors.
It seems the City of San Fernando has been successful in passing and implementing an ordinance revising its tax codes. Rodriguez said it hasn’t been difficult for the local government to do this because of the public’s support.
Seeking a fresh mandate two months from now, Rodriguez credited the success of his six-year administration to the multi-sectoral governance council. The council gives him feedback on his projects, helps him carry them out and aids him in setting directions for the city.
The City of San Fernando is one of the very few local government units (LGUs) in the country that has included the public in a governance performance system using a balanced scorecard, said Rodriguez.
The balanced scorecard is a tool that manages and measures performance of a local government. It helps the LGU become accountable for results and conscious of how to use taxpayer’s money on programs and services.
Rodriguez said he has taken to heart the balanced scorecard because he has seen that it has improved results, processes and culture change in his city.
The one group that has opposed it is the “trapo” who saw the beginning of the end of patronage politics in the component city of Pampanga, the mayor said.
“But that’s precisely my point, for government to be transparent to all the stakeholders,” he said. It’s transparency that has made the implementation of the revised tax codes less arduous for City Hall “because people understood what we were doing and why.”
Not one to be self-effacing, Rodriguez said, “Fortunately, may konti akong integrity and credibility in the community. I exercise political will.”
In his office is a camera equipment set, ready to record what he needs to say to the public about what his administration has done. He has put up a weekly TV program, “Magsilbi Tamo,” which means “Yes, we can” or “We serve.”
The TV program is not a propaganda tool, he said, but more like a vehicle for him to instill in the people the right values and thoughts. “Pagpapanday ng mga tamang kaisipan” was how he said it in Tagalog.
Among the mayors of Pampanga, it’s only he who understands and shares the vision and direction of Gov. Ed Panlilio, he said. The governor, a priest with maverick political views, is beleaguered by criticisms from his political adversaries.
I do not know Rodriguez, having met him only for the first time yesterday, but if he is what he says he is, then I wouldn’t mind him being my mayor for as long as he is mayor of Cebu, whose heat I prefer to wither in than San Fernando’s.