I was driving down Aguinaldo Highway the other day, and something struck me: I saw an owner-type jeep.
I’ve been in professional politics for 21 years and so much has changed. It used to be that in Cavite, the sum of all ambitions for a young man was a lowered, owner-type jeep, fake fog lamps, Pioneer sound system, Isuzu 4K engine, no seat belts (uncool), and a loud horn. If you had one, you were THE MAN!
These days, they are rare. Cars are cheaper, air conditioning is a necessity, and traffic is so horrible. Expectations are different, life is more complicated, there is work to be found, and the possibility of a better life is real.
Like much of Cavite, I am unrecognizable from who I was 21 years ago.
I was brash, self centered, and entitled. I was the governor’s son, engaged to my college sweetheart, had my own business, and was starting a political career. I had everything and I had nothing. Like the emperor who paraded with his new clothes, I thought that I was above everyone. I was proud, but the people actually saw who I was.
I was a fraud. I pretended to know more than I did. I talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk.
The lenses of which I viewed the world were so tinted that I didn’t actually care to see what was real. There was so much poverty but I didn’t know what to do about it. There were drugs all around but I thought they were victims of their weaknesses. There was corruption and I just looked the other way.
In 2007, I quit politics. I didn’t run. I didn’t participate. I realized that for me to be governor, the one thing I have never done was take a personal inventory of who I was.
I began going around the province and started listening.
I listened to laborers in the zone and realized the dignity of their work.
I listened to parents who were concerned about their children’s education.
I listened to the smaller employees of government and saw how demoralized they were that the people above were pillaging the coffers and getting the fat of the spoils while they were making ends meet by bridging paycheck to paycheck and loans to pay loans.
I ran in 2010 with the promise of making things better for the people.
For the first time I realized that it wasn’t about me, but about them.
In 6 years the jobs have returned and increased;
the school rooms have doubled;
the teachers are better equipped.
With the help of Congressman Loyola and Congressman Tolentino, Mayors Strike Revilla, Melan de Sagun, Ver Varias and Areng Poblete, access to public tertiary education has been increased.
Corruption in the capitol has been plugged and the employees are generally happier. The access to free wifi has begun and will continue to expand. And most of all, Cavitenos have a renewed sense of pride, purpose, and ambition.
In a few weeks, Gov. Pogi signs off.
I hope to be back one day better, refreshed, with a clearer vision of where the province should go and how we can all help the country.
I’m confident that my more able (but not better looking) brother will do a great job of steering the course and protecting the gains. I hope he solves the traffic problems and increases the access to better health care. There is so much to be done.
When you see me around please don’t hesitate to greet me. I have never refused a selfie, and I have always cared to listen. I’ll see you all soon.
In all appreciation,
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ―Dr. Seuss
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