Two types of politician
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is admirable. Just days into his first term, he has accomplished what his predecessors, despite their brutish ways, had not. For this, he inarguably deserves the accolades.
But Moreno just got lucky — largely. He is at the right place at the right time, with the resources of one of the Philippines’ richest local government units. And the reforms that the capital city needs are sexy issues in the eyes of a public that has grown jaded, no thanks to years of unfulfilled promises and false hopes given by unworthy politicians.
Whatever Moreno does, whether it is bringing back the streets of Divisoria or the bloodless ferreting of drug criminals, sells papers and precious airtime. But in the time of Isko Moreno — a “rock star mayor” — may we not push aside to the sidelines leaders like Vice President Leni Robredo who have walked on the road not taken by other politicians, who address issues that are as pressing but rarely make it even to the inside pages of newspapers or get a minute of TV newscasts.
Robredo does not have a marketplace to do some spring cleaning (and doing so is not the Vice President’s main job), but she has concrete programs that address poverty where it hurts most: the countryside. But introducing alternative livelihoods to fishermen and farmers is not sexy enough to attract media mileage.
As a rookie politician, I’d be lying to myself if I would say that no part of me longs to have the popularity that Moreno enjoys now. But I also prefer leaders, like Robredo, who work silently to address issues that force people to leave the provinces — to risk it all — to congest the national capital with nothing but hopes for a better life.
JONAS CABILES SOLTES
Zone 4, Antipolo, Tinambac, Camarines Sur
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