“The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has.” Confucius
By Alex P. Vidal
Let us give credit where credit is due.
This time, we credit Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog for standing ten feet total during the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in the Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City last July 28.
Not all past and incumbent mayors in the country have the privilege to be recognized by a President in a SONA.
Thus when President Benigno S. Aquino III mentioned Mabilog and Binan City, Laguna Mayor Len Alonte in his SONA last July 28, Ilonggos had all the reason to be proud and honored.
“Mayroon tayong mga umaangat na bagong o mas bata sa akin pulitiko. Ayoko naman ho sabihin na napakaluma ko nang pulitiko sa pagtukoy sa mga mas bata. Mga taong tulad ni Mayor Jed Mabilog at ni Mayor Len Alonte (palakpakan),” announced President Aquino.
Mabilog, a Liberal Party (LP) die-hard and five years younger than the President, immediately posted this message in his Facebook account: “Thank You very much President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) for the gesture and kind recognition! I am very humbled. I am Iloilo. PROUD TO BE FILIPINO.”
Overjoyed by what she heard, Marivic G. Mabilog, the mayor’s wife, who monitored the SONA in Calgary, Canada where she is based, immediately posted this message in her Facebook account: “Like Pnoy, I’m just as proud of Jed. To be specially mentioned and recognized by the president himself in his most emotional SONA as one those political leaders who can continue his legacy for his ‘matuwid na daan’ is testament to Jed’s brand of leadership: transparency, honesty and hardwork.”
We don’t wish to pit Mabilog and Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Trenas here, but during the incumbency of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, she never accorded the same prominence to Trenas, then the president of the League of Cities, who was her former college student.
To be mentioned in a SONA should be a big boost not only to the leadership and credibility of a local chief executive, but also to the city, municipality or province.
The SONA was delivered almost a month since President Aquino visited Iloilo City last June 27 to inaugurate some multi-million pesos worth of projects that included the widened Diversion Road or formally known as Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue and Iloilo River Esplanade, both in Mandurriao district here and the 14-kilometer Iloilo Circumferential Road.
Another reason why Iloilo became closer to the heart of President Aquino these past years is probably because of the influence of Senate President Frank Drilon, a close relative of Mabilog from Molo district.
Drilon almost got the biggest slice of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to fund flagship projects in Iloilo worth P720 million.
Even if the Supreme Court has ruled that the DAP is unconstitutional, some of these Iloilo projects would still push through since initial funds were already appropriated and released, the Palace had declared earlier.
President Aquino also reportedly supports Mabilog in his quest as a finalist in the World Mayor 2014. Among the criteria for the contest are: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and protect the environment, and the will and ability to foster relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds.