You still remember that while the City Mayors (organizer of the World Mayor Award) was looking for the Top 11 Mayors around the world last 2007, we found our town Bulan wrestling with the Central Bus Terminal-or CBT Scandal. Whatever happened now to this CBT case, we are practically no longer interested with it as long as our Mayor Helen De Castro does not forget her responsibilities to our town and to our town people, not falling short in delivering the basic services and is sincerely concerned in providing adequate solutions to the immediate problems of Bulan community like unemployment, poverty (malnutrition), health care (hospital and medical personnel!), environmental protection and cleanliness (waste management), education (schoolrooms, more teachers, school dropouts), clean water supply, peace and security- and, last but not least, to inform the public (local, national and international) about the result of the CBT trial.
Practically, what counts are good results and all other minor failures in the past are forgotten. Most of all, she should focus, emphasize and make use of the unifying symbol of her office, a function of supreme importance in activating the identity and creative energy of Tagabulans. A symbol like this needs to be transparent and accountable for it to enter people’s perception, i.e., be processed as such. Investing in such values as transparency, accountability and corruption-free leadership pay off in the end for everybody than investing in their opposites. And this is the proof of it- a pair of shining shoes from Marikina that caught the attention of the world!- a pair of shoes worn by the lady Mayor Marides Fernando of Marikina City for winning 7th place in the World Mayor Award 2008 (launched by City Mayors last 2004 ). This is no joke. Here’ the reason for this prestigious recognition:
-“Mayor Fernando is credited with having turned Marikina into one of the Philippines most desirable places to live in. “Mayor Marides Fernando transformed MarikinaCity from a sleepy and lackluster town (always in the shadow of its bigger sister city Quezon City) into one of the most progressive and shining city in the Philippines. With the Mayor’s creative leadership by example, Marikina is the most peaceful, most orderly, cleanest, greenest, corruption free, educated and cultured new city in Asia.”
-“Under Marides Fernando leadership Marikina was named the “greenest and cleanest city” in the Philippines. The city also received a number of other awards: “The most recent and most prestigious award received the city of Marikina was the Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippines from the prestigious Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Research Center, Asia Foundation, International Labour Organization (ILO), German Technical Foundation, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the Continuing Excellence Award in Local Governance given by the Galing Pook Foundation, DILG, Local Government Authority and the Ford ” . (See other comments given out by some observers of Marikina.)
“Marides Carlos Fernando (sometimes known as MCF) was elected mayor of Marikina City in 2001 and re-elected in 2004 and 2007, is a member of the centre-right Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party of President Gloria Arroyo. She is married to Bayani (“hero”) Fernando (also known as BF), her immediate predecessor as mayor and current Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (himself the son of a former mayor) and Director of the Department of Public Works and Highways in the capital. Marides ran the BF Corporation of property developers during her husband’s three-term tenure as mayor (1992-2001), serving as vice president for admin and finance since 1985. In January 2008, BF announced his candidacy for the 2010 presidential elections.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor)
This years World Mayor Award went to Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town. Here’s one of the many comments about her and her team:
“Helen Zille and her team have brought stability, decency, integrity and good management to the City of Cape Town after many years of ANC mismanagement, corruption and lethargy. She has done a brilliant job of turning things around in the face of thwarted and hostile forces. A deserving winner of this prestigious award.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor)
Indeed, it’s wiser for a mayor to invest in stability, decency, integrity and good management than mismanagement, corruption and lethargy!
For these reasons, I’m proud to see Mayor Marides (Marikina, 7th place) on the list beside Helen Zille(Capetown) and Elmar Ledergerber (Zürich)! I know Ledergerber very well and I can only agree to the comments and praises given to him by people of Zürich, like:
“Mayor Ledergerber is often described as a bridge builder between the city’s Swiss nationals and immigrants as well as between the well-off and the less wealthy residents of Zurich. “Elmar Ledergerber has the unique capability to integrate the diverse political interests of the rich banks and the ordinary citizens, and achieve consensus on a good balance between moderate taxes and responsible spending for social welfare.”
“During Elmar Ledergerber’s leadership, Zurich has several times been named as the most liveable city in the world: “After a large period of decline, Zurich is now vibrant again – not only has it been rated number one for quality of living for several years now, but it is now developing further. Mr Ledergerber is a major driving force behind the redevelopment of Zurich-West, the expansion of public transport, the re-discovery of urban recreational space… I have been living in Zurich for 4 years now and he is definitely my choice for world mayor.”
The mayor is also praised for staying in touch with ordinary people: “Elmar Ledergerberis smart and articulate, he listens to the people, in fact he is very approachable and friendly, has an excellent way to communicate and explain his visions yet with the right amount of tenacity to get them into reality. Zurich is a wonderful town with an outstanding quality of life – and this also thanks to our Mayor Ledergerber who has significantly contributed to this success over the years.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor)
Sadly, he recently announced his resignation in 2009. People don’t want him to go. But listen to his reason: “My 16-year old son needs me urgently now”. Also a very noble reason, isn’t? So people understand him.
“Born in 1944, Elmar Ledergerber has a degree in history and literature as well as in economics. He obtained his PhD in economics at the university of St Gallen. In 1977 he established a consulting firm, which he managed for more than 20 years. He was elected mayor of Zurich in March 2002. Before that he had been active in Zurich politics and nationally, as a parliamentarian.The mayor leads a city council, which consists of nine members from four political parties. He is divorced and a father of three. His youngest son is almost 16.” (source: swiss-info)
I even played with the idea that if it were not for the dramatic political backround in Capetown where Mayor Helen Zille works and achieved good results, Mayor Ledergerber would have won the first place for reasons cited and for his simplicity.
Why publish such things here in Bulan Observer? Well, I think we need to learn some lessons we could use in our journey to a better Bulan if we ever want to continue with it. Success needs both- a good leader and responsible constituents. In a city like Zürich with intelligent and highly responsible and educated population, a good leader is still indispensable. How much more in a developing town like Bulan? For a brighter Bulan now and in the future, we need these lessons.
Finally, Bulan Observer congratulates Mayor Marides Fernando for her exemplary achievements!