TO THE new Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez. Least this capital city of Negros, an important corridor of growth in central Philippines, the seat of political power, maybe pillage to waste.
Notwithstanding your experience once as a congressman of your home district, Mayor Benitez is basically new to the world of local governance, more so in leading and managing a dynamic highly urbanized city, a melting pot of a more than million people by day, and half million by night, and a city that nearly never sleeps, so to speak.
As such nothing can make your administration more solid, progressive, responsive and inclusive than the way you will exercise your powers that Bacolodnons and, so the Negrosanons, will love and support.
Now is your time to make yourself known as you really are, not what you appeared to be, as conveyed by your planners and campaigners during the campaign. Authenticity, honesty and humility will now matter most in governance, not how you were packaged by your public relations experts.
You must avoid the pitfalls of Machiavellianism if you ever think about it. I know he is revered by many politicians as the father of governance and one who uses amoral means to keep one’s power. Just be a Christian for I know you are.
Like any great rulers, you must rely most on the masses, the organized masses, who believe you. Take cognizance of their support in your policies, programs and activities, instead of relying only and always to barangay leaders and their errand leaders because most are without solid agenda and loyalty, only with consistent muddled vested interests.
You must solidify your leaders, but never feed them with the spoils and poisons of political war, they will eventually turn against you. Never ever isolate other groups who have supported you in some or many ways on their own, and those who have been skeptics towards you. Support them, give them space to grow and enjoy life. Just be careful to indirectly strengthen those among them who have laid plans to oust you any day they could.
Don’t be a hypocrite, nor a superman. You are only as good as your term, not really long to make an impact in the quality of life of Bacolodnons. Don’t waste your time reinventing your brand of governance because despite the dozens or thousands theories about governance, they all share the same universal standards laid down since Plato and Aristotle to modern republics, either socialist or capitalist, bourgeois or proletariat.
Don’t dwell as well on petty, piecemeal, hodgepodge and vindictive agenda, like “correcting spaghetti wires, replacing traffic uniforms from red to white, so called truth commission, among others.” They will bring you to nowhere. Just pursue the good development tracks and governance platform your predecessor have done because in many ways, ask the DILG, they have followed governance standards set by the Local Government Code.
Never mind to whom the credit is due, it is a petty bourgeois childishness. At the end of the day, people will still know what you have done, and what theirs. Unless of course you want to be revolutionary. But that’s a different hobby I know you have no time to form.
Focus instead on improving and further strengthening the weak spots or flaws in his platform and practices, and fill other gaps with your own. Better still, have advisers or consultants to aid you, those who can really speak their mind and heart out what is wrong and right, not what is pleasing to you, nor what is beneficial to them only.
Never consider your newly acquired power as an end in itself because that will lead you to do anything, to use any means, evil or not, to keep it. You may be feared, as Machiavelli opined to the Prince. But you will be hated by the people and will be ousted by them in due time.
Power is just an instrument to make the state truly work for the people, even the opportunities for growth and advancement of all, keep a just and fair order in society.
Finally, not the last though in my opinion stock, work and lead with reasons and compassion.
In today’s world ruled by google, Facebook, twitter, and other online platforms, where disinformation, distortions, revisions and fake news abound, one who works, lives and leads with reasons and compassion will truly make a big difference.
I don’t think you have none of those, because the stature you have achieved this far, by whatever means, share some reason and compassion, that subtle mind and heart-set which make people happy and the world goes round.
When you all do this, you could consolidate the template of a truly inclusive, smart, resilient and sustainable governance and city, and you will be endeared in the hearts of Bacolodnon, and Negrosanon.
Not the least, you will make a new political history which other LGU officials can be proud of and replicate.
Just some solicited advices from a perspective.
July 05, 2022
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