By Loejan Anudon
Being a good leader often involves making tough decisions. While it is easy enough for most people in office to appear to be the beneficent one, funding projects and doling out charities, it takes a more substantial will to appear heartless for the good of the whole.
What with the recent floods and the damage it left in its wake, everyone mobilized to aid those in need. This time around, many already know what to do based on past experiences. These monsoons come through the country every year and every year people suffer the ill effects of flood and wind. Every year, the government, various charitable organizations and individuals get better and better at responding with rescue and donations.
But in addition to the efficiency after the fact, preventive measures before the calamities should also be seriously considered. This is something that every citizen should take up with their leaders.
Both Cojuangcos, former congressman Mark and present congresswoman Kimi, call for more preventive measures on top of relief efforts in order to keep such catastrophes as the flooding experienced this past week, from happening again. Mark Cojuangco imposed protocols to prevent another flooding as the one that devastated areas of Pangasinan when the San Roque Dam overflowed its bounds during typhoon Pepeng and it worked! It saved lives and farmlands from devastation as per recent tweet reports to the congresswoman by no other than the mayors of the 5th district of Pangasinan based on the aftermath of typhoon Gener and the current monsoon rains.
During her term as mayor of a 4th class municipality in Pangasinan, Rep. Kimi Cojuangco nurtured and raised the town of Sison and its people. But like a thoughtful guardian, she also protected its interests and those of its citizens; sometimes at the risk of alienating the very people she aims to protect.
One instance of this happened when she learned of a dwelling that has been built dangerously close to a waterway that is notorious for flooding during the rainy season. While previous LGU administrations tolerated such practices, she stood her ground when she ordered the dwelling be demolished. She was unwavering in her decision despite the obvious displeasure and name calling she was subjected to. She knew it was the right thing to do in order to save its occupants from being washed away when the inevitable flood came.
Perhaps she lost the votes of those people, but she saved their lives and that is more important.
Sometimes harsh measures have to be taken in order to serve the needs of all. Some may call it unkind and uncharitable, but it doesn’t always have to be so. For instance, in a metropolis especially, zoning laws must be enforced, infrastructures must be strengthened and maintained, emergency protocols established. To do all that, it is inevitable that many will be inconvenienced at the least and at worst be displaced. This is the nature of good governance, and it isn’t always pretty.
Rep. Kimi, who is quite vocal on Twitter, urges LGUs and fellow politicians to find the will to do what is right and prevent more calamities in the future. Storms cannot be prevented, but we can all do our parts to minimize their impact on our environment and on our livelihood.
If only more officials had the same political will to risk their ‘pogi points’ and truly serve their constituents, leading by example and showing that integrity and the mere act of doing the right thing does not have a price. Its worth incalculable, only to be seen in the far off future and palpable only in the hope for a well and satisfactory existence.