A fast, decisive and action-oriented governor
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - March 31, 2020 - 12:00am

I did not vote for Governor Gwendolyn Garcia last elections (I am a registered oversea voter as a former diplomat). But I am beginning to be impressed by her fast response to the Corona challenges, in being quick and daring in decision making, and in her action-oriented stance and attitude.

LGUs need these characteristics, because the local governments are our frontlines. Governors and mayors must be men and women of action, of passion and of dynamism. They deal directly with the people. They see the problems with their own eyes, meet the hungry, angry and sometimes hopeless people. They see their crumbling houses following earthquakes and super typhoons. They witness their pains and sufferings in crises like COVID-19. And leaders like Governor Gwen, by their mere appearance, give hope to the hopeless, especially when they bring packages of rice and sardines.

Congressmen may be invisible, as they really are when you need them most. They can always give the perennial alibi that they are in session, even if it’s a majong or poker session. But the governors and the mayors must be present when a barangay captain dies, when a town councilor is getting married or when a new water system is to be inaugurated, a school building is to be opened, or there is a ribbon cutting for a bridge, chapel, or waiting shed. That is why Governor Gwen is better off as a governor than as congresswoman or even as deputy speaker. Her character is suited for the executive; she can even be secretary of DILG.

The same is true with former governor Eddie Gullas. He was the only governor in Cebu who visited all the barangays in the whole province. I hope that Governor Gwen can duplicate or even exceed that record. I'm sure that she has not even visited all the barangays in Dumanjug, like Bullogan, Kabalaasnan, Masa, Kolabtingon, Cotcoton, and Balaygtiki. I don’t think she has visited Alambijud, or Tulang in Argao, or Apo in Sibonga, and Langin and Kansalonoy in Ronda, or Salagmaya in Alcantara. Well, visiting all nooks and crannies is not really the most important criterion for choosing and outstanding governor, but such gestures are indicative of a provincial executive who isn’t lazy and sleeping in his or her ivory tower and comfort zones.

The decision of Governor Gwen in stopping all flights inbound and outbound borders on “ultra vires”. She might have asked her dad (Bar topnotcher) and her brothers, Deputy Speaker PJ (also a Bar topnotcher) and Winston (former GSIS chairman) whether or not a provincial governor has the power to stop international airlines from landing in the international airport of an independent city like Lapu-Lapu City. She has a very good vice governor who is also a brilliant lawyer and son of a former chief justice (I hope that the governor values the opinion of Vice Governor Junjun, who is a very cautious and prudent public official). And she enjoys the legal advice of the provincial attorney. I am not sure if she needed to clear that with the secretary of Transportation or she could decide on her own.

Whatever it is, I still maintain that governors need to be fast, decisive, and action-oriented. Governor Gwen just has to make sure that she stays within the bounds of law and regulations. Overall, I am giving her a grade of Very Good, not yet Excellent, not yet Outstanding, but better than all the other governors nationwide. It may not be hard to vote for her after all.

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