Vice President Leni Robredo warned of the dangers of her hometown of Naga City falling back to the old and rotten system of politics that it has long rejected, citing the temptations that lurk despite decades of honest and good governance there.
In a speech before the oathtaking ceremony of Naga City officials and the city's 74th Charter Anniversary on Saturday, June 18, the Vice President lauded the Nagueños and Team Naga for electing “pillars of good governance” since 1992.
“Ang pagkapanalong ito, alam nating hindi tsamba; patunay ito ng matino at epektibong pamamahala, na hanggang ngayon ay nakaangkla sa paniniwalang ang kapangyarihan, laging nasa kamay ng ordinaryong Nagueño (This win, we know is not luck; this is proof of decent and effective governance, that until now is anchored in the belief that power lies in the hands of the ordinary Nagueño),” Robredo, a Bicolano, said.
“It is fitting that you take oath on the day of our 74th Charter Anniversary. As Nagueños, there can be no better reminder of how far our humble city has come, and of how we have flourished under the servant leadership we are known for,” she added.
But she reminded the newly elected public officials of the dangers that lurk and the efforts to temp the city to go back to the kind of politics it has long ended.
“I hope we also take time to recognize the presence of efforts seeking to undermine these very pillars,” the lady official said.
Admitting deep concern for these past elections, Robredo chastised those who tried to use money to influence the electorate.
She asked the officials, led by Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabby Bordado and Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion, to protect the city for the next generations.
The outgoing Vice President, who came into politics after her husband, the beloved Naga City mayor and ex-Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, died in a plane crash, said Team Naga is “lucky” because Nagueños believe and stand for what’s right.
“Pero ang pagkabahala, naririyan pa rin—na kung hindi tayo magbabantay, baka hindi natin mamalayang unti-unti na palang nakakabalik ‘yung klase ng pulitikang matagal na nating isinikwal dito sa Naga (But the worry is sill there—that if we don’t guard, we might not notice that the kind of politics we’ve long rejected here in Naga has slowly come back),” Robredo added.
Thrust into public service in 2013, she went on to win as district representative against the matriarch of the powerful and moneyed political clan of the Villafuertes in Camarines Sur.
She reminded the public officials, who took their oath before her, of their role as “scaffolding” in protecting Nagueños.
“We must keep strengthening this scaffolding, empowering our people as they forge ahead with a new and better normal,” she said.
The best way to do this is to assess themselves on what more they can give to Nagueños “to build the city that best represents
and responds to them.”
Robredo called on them to ensure that Naga stays progressive, people-centric, and people-led.
“Karangalan ko na ang Naga, isang lugar kung saan walang kapangyarihan ang pera, sa eleksyon man o sa mismong pamamahala ng ating mga opisyal (It is my honor that Naga is one place where the power of money has no value, in elections or in governance),” she said.
“Sana hindi ito magbago. Sana hindi dumating ang panahong magigising na lamang tayo na ang Naga, hindi na ‘yung parehong Nagang pinagpaguran at ipinagmamalaki natin (I hope this doesn’t change. I hope the time won’t come that we are going to wake up that the Naga is not the same Naga we strived for and proud of),” the Vice President added.