Evasco: A real servant of the people | Inquirer Opinion

Evasco: A real servant of the people

11:18 PM November 03, 2013

Mayor Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. of Maribojoc, Bohol, has been thrust into the limelight because he ordered a Philippine Red Cross team out of his town for refusing to coordinate relief distribution with him and his local government (LGU) network. The Red Cross, being “apolitical,” wanted to bypass the Maribojoc government’s relief distribution network because LGUs, in general, are wont to use such initiatives for political purposes. And it was barangay election time.

But Mayor Jun raised other issues: Not all LGUs are corrupt and political in a partisan way (there are also good mayors and local executives); he knew the relief situation in Maribojoc better than the Red Cross; and he had organized an effective and tested municipal-wide relief network that could


equitably distribute relief goods among the earthquake victims. The Red Cross, by working independently of him and his network, actually subverted relief operations in Maribojoc.

The mayor described the Red Cross way of distributing relief goods as inhuman, since it treated victims as beggars and without any dignity—they had to line up for hours under heat and rain to receive the goods. He insisted that the victims deserved some compassion and respect after losing many of their loved ones and most of their worldly possessions in the earthquake. This, on top of the traumatic experience of the earthquake and its numerous aftershocks.


Believe it or not, despite the DAP and PDAF scams, the rampant corruption in government and the shamelessness of political dynasties, there are still some honest and hardworking lawmakers and local government executives. Former mayor Jesse Robredo, Rep. Leni Robredo, former governor Among Ed Panlilio and former governor Grace Padaca are shining examples. To this list I must add Mayor Jun. He has not lost the ideal of his Roman Catholic priesthood, and is following the dictate of Pope Francis to “bring Jesus into politics,” with his sterling performance for seven years as mayor of Maribojoc.

Under his stewardship, Maribojoc consistently received the Ulirang Pook Award from the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo for several years; and the 2011 Galing Pook Award. He has eliminated graft, corruption and the padrino system in Maribojoc, and drove away drug dealers and users who used to infest the town as the backdoor drug supplier for Tagbilaran City. He is now encouraging organic farming in his municipality in a bid to introduce healthy eating habits and enhance the natural environment in a sustainable and viable manner. A leading hydrologic engineer, whose engineering firm performed water supply feasibility studies for around 80 municipalities nationwide, described Mayor Jun as one of the very few municipal mayors who did not demand a kickback.

My point is, the Red Cross, instead of competing with the mayor in relief efforts in Maribojoc and disrupting his well-established distribution network, should have cooperated with him to achieve greater results. Why fix something that ain’t broke, as they say? Why make traumatized earthquake victims line up like beggars under the elements for relief doles, when the mayor had devised a more humane, equitable, tested distribution system?

Unbelievable as it may seem, we still have lawmakers and LGU executives, like Mayor Jun, who are real servants of the people. May their tribe increase!

—SAMUEL J. YAP, [email protected]

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