February 20, 2014
To Fr. Primitivo E. Viray, Jr., S.J., the esteemed father president of the Ateneo de Naga University; to Mr. Rodolfo SB. Virtus Jr., director of Student Affairs; to the future of this city and this country, the young Ateneans who have been trained in this highly-regarded academic institution to be men and women for others; to their parents, relatives and friends, ladies and gentlemen, Warm Naga SMILES and good afternoon!
It is a great honor to be with you today, to speak before a crowd of brilliant and principled men and women, and, as I was informed, to meet you personally and to confer to you prestigious recognitionsasOutstanding Student Leaders and, to the most exemplary one,as Jesse M. Robredo Most Outstanding Student Leader of the Year.
Truly, I am privileged to knowthe young individuals who have been inspired by the values and leadership of the late Interior Secretary and former Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and, as such, have endeavoured to follow his footsteps and to contribute to the society in whatever capacity or means possible. The same with you, I was also enthused to be in public service due to Secretary Robredo’s encouragement and guidance. On July 2, 2001, my careerin the city government started when I was appointed by then Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo as Legal Officer of Naga City.
The City Government of Naga has become a centre of good governance urban as a result of the vision and management of the late Secretary. His administration championed the empowerment and participation of individuals in running the affairs of the government. He always reminds us that we, public officials, do not have the monopoly of wisdom and that we should be cautious of “when to lead and when to be led.”This simple reminder has become our guiding principle.
Today, the City Government of Naga, under the leadership of Mayor John G. Bongat and yours truly, continually strives to continue his legacy and, in the process, to even make the best better. People empowerment and participatory governance have been the cores of the present administration, as expressed in our agenda H2ELP your CiTy.
H2ELP your CiTy outlines the prioritiesof the city government, such as Health, Housing, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Order, Cleanliness and Environment and Transparency and Good Governance. But, more than that, it is also a call for all Nagueños to be actively involved in equitably and sustainably developing Naga’s socio-economic status. It is our aspiration that our initiatives in informing and empowering the people will result to stronger citizen participation.
Consistent with this, the 11thSangguniangPanlungsod of Naga has embarked on various initiatives, over the past six months, to enhance transparency and accountability in our governance processes, fortify our partnership with the public, and promptly and proficiently pass sound legislations that shall effectively and efficiently respond to the pressing needs of our people. Through radio, TV and print media, the Sangguniang has ensured that the information being given to the public is timely, relevant and responsive to their needs.
We also created a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/spnagacity, a popular platform today, to engage the citizenry and solicit their comments and feedbacks. It provides every citizen of Naga the power to lobby and to push for concrete and sustainable reforms that are close to their hearts and highly relevant to their everyday lives, especially the youth who are too engrossed nowadays in utilizing said platform.
Again, we comprehend that we do not have the monopoly of wisdom and, at times, it is the young individuals who provide new and fresh ideas on how to mainstream the systems of the government. Thus, we believe that you should be given more avenues to be involved, as early as possible, in our governance processes. We believe thatthe youth should be educated on how the government runs and be provided the opportunity for their thoughts and opinions to be heard.
Given this, the SangguniangPanlungsod Student Participation Program (SP-SPP) has been conceptualized. As some of you may have experienced, SP-SPP teaches students of the city’s legislative process and engages them in a discussion with the SangguniangPanlungsod, thereby providing them an occasion to share their opinions and ideas on the various developmental issues of the city.
Inclusive and consultative – this is the kind of leadership Jesse M. Robredo demonstrated and what we are now sustaining. Your thoughts and recommendations build, sustain and improve our Maogmang Lugar. They ensure our city’s growth is equitable and comprehensive.
Inclusive and consultative - this is also the kind of leadership that what we want for the youth to emulate and uphold. Our experience in City Hall is also applicable in a more local and a more compact level, such as your organization or your school.
Held as outstanding student leaders by your alma mater, do not ever forget to involve your members in all your decisions and undertakings. Encourage involvement, incite the creativityof your team and foster ownershipand shared-responsibility on all your endeavours.As what Secretary Robredo said in his commencement address to the graduates of Ateneo de Manila, the country, or in this case, your organization, your school or community will definitely lag behind amidst your successes if you solely rely on your capacities, rather than on the contributions of the ordinary people you are responsible for.
May the history of the City of Naga, the legacy of the beloved Jesse M. Robredo and the directions and actions of the present administration be your beacon on how to lead and on how to be led. The awards you will receive today are testaments that you are doing great so far, and we hope that you will continue to do so. As you soar higher, do not forget that you are a leader of a flock. The stronger the cooperation between and among you and your members, the higher you will ascend and the longer the distance you will cover.
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God). Thank you and good afternoon.