Suroy suroy is an excellent program
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 22, 2019 - 12:00am

It is becoming more and more difficult to find one who can beat the incumbent governor of Cebu. She knows how to play the games of politics and governance.

I am not exactly well-known as an admirer of Governor Gwen Garcia, but I am a fair journalist and I give credit where credit is due. I think her program, Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo, is not just a tourism project but a multi-pronged activity that hits many birds with one stone. First of all, it gives visibility to the provincial government vis-a-vis the “hoi polloi,” the people in the outlying areas, her constituents in far-flung municipalities and barangays. Visibility is important to the ordinary men and women in the streets. They need to see their leaders, they need to feel that they are important enough to be seen personally, not just during campaigns and elections, but on ordinary days.

The recent visit to the south by Garcia and her entourage showed that she doesn’t fail to remember her roots. She demonstrates by action that she is the governor of all people, even to those who voted against her. And I am particularly referring to the towns of Dumanjug and Ronda where the mayors aren’t her political allies. These also happen to be my towns, aside from Argao. My father is from Dumanjug whose ancestral lineage is linked to the Paras and the Marinas clans, and thus related to Noy Pabling Garcia, Gwen's great dad. In fact, my late father and Noy Pabling were classmates in the old San Carlos extension unit in Dumanjug. My late mom was from Argao, but we settled in Langin, Ronda.

Governor Gwen's visit to Dumanjug was heartwarming because that is the town where her dad grew up in, and yet she lost by less than 20 votes there last elections. Mayor Gungun Gica and Vice Mayor Waldo Gica are aligned with Agnes Magpale and Junjun Davide. It must have been heartbreaking for Gwen to have lost in her father's hometown. But Gwen is an excellent politician, not showing that she holds grudges. The same is true in Ronda. Although she won there over Magpale, her brother, Nelson, who ran for congressman and his running mate Salimbangon lost heavily in that town. The mayor, my compadre, Terence Mariano Blanco, belongs to the other side. But still Gwen is able to rise above petty politics and showed leadership and grit. That is what Noy Pabling taught her and she is a very good learner.

Ronda, a small town, 82 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, with about 15,000 voters, already produced a governor, the late Francisco Emilio Remotigue, the first Cebuano to have been appointed to the Marcos Cabinet. Dumanjug has produced one of the earlier governors of Cebu, Dionisio Jakosalem, and two more, Pablo Garcia, and Gwen. They wanted to make a record by the attempts of Pablo John and Winston, Gwen's younger siblings, but the two failed to match the feat of Noy Pabling and Gwen. Dumanjug today is a bustling municipality, about to become second class, and is the most prosperous among the DRAMMBAG, or seventh congressional district of Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Malabuyoc, Badian, Alegria, and Ginatilan.

Suroy suroy is also a clever way of campaigning way ahead of her opponents and with all expenses paid by the government. To the Cebuanos, to see one's leader, to shake her hand, and to have a selfie with her, is an experience that is treasured until the next election. And so, I say that Gwen is the best politician, even better than all the rest. There was only one other governor who visited all the thousands of barangays in Cebu, and that was Eddie Gullas. Eddiegul is the only one who can beat Gwen, but they are allies. They have to find another iron lady to match the dragon lady from Dumanjug and Barili.

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