CHARLOTTE, North Carolina—I had been hibernating thanks and no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and during one of those rest days, I read somewhere online that Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto regularized 53 casual employees who worked for two decades.
For me that is good news since the pandemic had impacted heavily on the economies of countries around the world and security of tenure in employment is crucial to shield employees from the whims and vagaries of partisan parochial Machieveillan politics.
I also read that the 31-year-old mayor, the son of celebrities Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes, declared in no uncertain terms that low level, rank-and-file government employees should be shielded from said partisan parochial politics. I am in awe of this mayor´s pronouncement as it is rare to hear it from elected officials young or old.
We are all aware that working in the Philippine government either on the national or local level is bogged down by patronage politics as supporters of winning candidates immediately seek employment and favors.
Hence the government had become an employment agency with supporters being hired as street sweepers, cleaners and so on while some allies are appointed as department heads even without eligibility or qualifications whatsoever.
Political accommodation is resorted to by winning candidates to ensure loyalty and retain a sizable bailiwick that would be useful in succeeding elections. Mayor Sotto´s move makes me happy since it is long overdue for casuals, contractuals and job order workers that slaved for years without securing tenure, let alone being promoted to better jobs.
The 55 casuals who got regularized by Pasig City Mayor Sotto is a tiny fraction of the large bureaucracy of Pasig City Hall. Then again despite being a neophyte mayor, Sotto acquired a masters degree in public administration which gives him a good grasp of management of personnel. Security of tenure is earned, not bought as a gift with strings attached by traditional politicians to retain loyalty among supporters.
Mayor Sotto is like a lotus flower growing in the mud in the middle of a parched and bleak political landscape. We elders draw inspiration from these young leaders in whose hands lie the country´s future. In my time there are more trapos who tighten their grip on power instead of building a better future for their constituents.
That Mayor Sotto headed to local governance instead of showbiz entertainment like his parents showed that while his beliefs and moral center may be shaped by family, he is his own man. And being one´s own person is rare in the chaotic, unforgiving world of Philippine politics.
Four years serving Pasig City and Mayor Sotto showed his commitment to education and cracking down on corruption. I hope he continues on the straight and narrow path to good governance and that his journey would find him in the upper echelons of government. Who really knows how far he can go?
His leadership and management style had easily won him recognition from institutions like the US Aid for International Development (USAID) and Publicus Asia Inc. , joining an illustrious group of mayors that include Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno.
Leaders that inspire us with their clear vision of development, their innovative ideas and political will to implement them should be supported continually by the Filipinos.