THE first time I saw Congressman Bing Leonardia after he was voted as Bacolod City’s lone representative to the Lower House and has seen just a few months in Congress, my question was if he does not find legislative work boring.
A mayor’s work is an endless “hands-on” task where constituents knock on your door at all ungodly hours. A mayor is king of his kingdom but he cannot sit on his throne because he has to ran and inspect an ongoing fire, check flooded streets before, during and after a deluge, and must listen to countless, tragic stories of his people as well as attend to socials, functions, etc., at the same time, plan projects and programs. The list is bottomless. So if you are transported from this 24/7 dizzy and busy schedule to sitting long hours of just listening to ceaseless debates among peers, it must be torture.
Cong Bing was quite surprise with this question. For sure, this must have been a first for him. But he was quick to say that it is a new challenge and it is quite interesting as he learns the ropes of the legislative machinery and the public relations that go with the job. There can be no fruition for lobbying of his projects if there is no legislative support.
With the celebration of his birthday just a few weeks ago, Cong Bing highlighted some of his accomplishments. Better to establish what has been done than to make promises. There have been soft projects like medical and educational in coordination with TESDA and CHED. Classrooms have been built all over the city. As to the hard projects, there are roads, pedestrian overpasses and more. All these projects whether of high impact, which are visible, or soft, which are delivered directly to the people, have been fully realized with the P2.3 billion budget he has been allocated. There are still much more he hopes to accomplish if granted the additional P3 billion he is still working on.
Out of sight but not out of mind, a congressman’s job is concentrated on weekdays in Manila sitting in that august hall, however, when he comes home he follows up on his local projects to see how they are being accomplished.
This weekend also gives him time to look into the new areas of possibilities of development. For every new project, there is a hiring component and he sees this as an opportunity to alleviate the problem of unemployment. A staunch advocate for the family, he dreams of the day that no parent or both parents need to leave the country in order to put food on the table or for their children to have good education and have the basic necessities of life like clothing and shelter.
Developments spell investments and businessmen are inclined to see opportunities of investment where there is a healthy and happy environment. Developments=investments=jobs. The equation solves the nagging problem of the flight and family abolishment.
Cong Bing has had his roots in the tourism industry. Sitting as a member of the transportation committee in Congress, together with Cong Albee and the other congressmen of Negros, the realization of the Bacolod-Silay Airport as an international airport is paramount in his lobbying causes. To come straight to Bacolod and not to pass through Imperial Manila cuts the inconvenience of investors and visitors as well. We wish them all the success for this much-awaited progress.
My relationships with our provincial and local public officials have always been on a social nature, never political—community-based issues, perhaps. My friendships with Cong Bing and Mayor Monico have stretched over the years.
If there is an issue to broach to the powers that be, I don’t hesitate to say them. However, I extend it personally. But if there are areas that my limited capacities can help or promote, they know I am a text or call away.
Let’s be bold with our affirmations of a job well done to our public servants, just as much as we should be never be shy to say what we feel and know is wrong. Who can best give our public servants constructive advice but his constituents?