THIS is a major challenge that Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and their team have to focus on if they really wanted to seal firmly their leadership, development agenda and people’s endearment – regardless of people’s perception of who they are and how they are doing.
How well or bad the people perceive them indicates how well or bad their performance is.
Perception always carries some elements of truth in it though it may change after some disproving or confirmation. This is so because perception is often a snap judgment, influenced by others, peer groups, social media, and opinion-makers.
Some who claim that the Leonardia administration has done nothing against the pandemic and its socio-economic impact on the people is a perception. There are also people who insist that despite its limitations due to the newness of the pandemic crisis, the Leonardia administration has still done much to curve the pandemic and provide relief to thousands affected however temporary. This is also a perception.
Some sectors who claim that top officials of the Leonardia administration have made money out of the pandemic is also a perception. It is also a perception that claims this perception as part of the propaganda mill machine of some anti-administration groups.
These and those are all perceptions we confront every day.
But is it a perception that no tens of thousands of Bacolodnon have rallied against or assaulted the new government center and the offices of the mayor and city officials over pandemic and related concerns?
Is it a perception that despite the alleged pandemic funds corruption charges against the administration, no single case has been filed against Leonardia and his officials, except some barangay officials, and that no tens of thousands ransacked the city treasury nor store warehouses as a result of those?
Is it a perception that despite complaints lodged against not a few barangay officials over the SAP distribution, and other emergency assistance, only a handful was suspended or still under case proceedings? No, but to summarily accused all is a perception.
Again I say No. The preceding accounts are not perception. I call them people’s trust, or a confirmation bias, or plain likability or Bacolodnons ability to like the city mayor, vice mayor and their team, regardless of what happened to them during the pandemic.
There are so many nuances in perception. Many have not seen or validated the persons they perceived as this bad or good. And there are just as many who contradict themselves, and still couldn’t care less.
We can direct, manage and improve governance on the basis of vision, mission, goals, policies, programs and projects – not on perceptions.
We measure the performance of governance not on perceptions, not even on intelligence quotient, emotional quotient, adversity quotient, or social quotient, political quotient, or likability quotient of the people – but on what matters much to people’s lives.
I believe the Bacolodnon have basic trust in the Leonardia administration, and given the chance to vote tomorrow will still support the administration till 2025. But I see some shadows of sentiments, unreleased frustrations that if not addressed decisively and immediately, or not turned into tangible benefits to the people – could be converted into anxieties, fears and anger – the drivers for change.
These are jobs, livelihoods, good health care projects, and some amount of attention, care and love for everyone.
Actually, these are not much given the enormous capacities and resources at the command of the Leonardia government.
Just consolidate people’s trust and convert to holistic sustainability.
And by that, all that is needed is for the Leonardia administration to give more focus, exert extra energies, mobilize right people for this challenge, increase people’s participation in governance, and unleash its powers and authority to intensify services, consolidate relations, change lives, and in the process galvanize people’s trust on the city government, a trust that can stand pressures, pinpricks, vilifications, demolitions, from the MMA politicians and partisans.