Friday, July 13, 2007

New Face

During the last May 14 national and local elections, a couple of new faces made successful, first time forays into the field of politics in Lianga. One of then is Jun Lala, the scion of one of Lianga's more prominent political families.

Jun's older brother is a former municipal vice-mayor while a maternal uncle as well as a first cousin had served as governors of the province of Surigao del Sur. The father is also a high ranking official in the Department of Public Works and Highways. A distinguished lineage indeed.

His entry into local politics comes at a time when Lianga is at a nadir, its economy at an all time low, its peace and order situation unstable and its social and political development at a standstill. It goes without saying that a neophyte politician like him would have to prove himself immediately while still trying to learn the ropes of his new career.

That Jun topped the elections for seats in the municipal council came as no surprise to many political observers here. He had the requisite logistics, the prominent family name and he had the backing of the national political party in power. He also had the gregarious, affable and engaging personality that thrives well in the handshaking, backslapping world of politics.

In the difficult task wooing of votes and the projection of a public image of competence, integrity and trustworthiness, he has had little trouble and the results of the last election have proven that he has been a skilled political campaigner and someone who has been effective in gaining the local townspeople's trust and confidence.

The euphoria of the elections has since faded away and the time has come, however, for him with the other new municipal councilors to pull up their sleeves, get down to work and face the hard challenges of helping the municipal government put its financial and economic house in order, address the town's peace and order problems and plant Lianga back on the path of progress and prosperity.

There is also the urgent need to rebuild trust in the municipal government which has over the years been perceived to be rife with graft and corruption and largely indifferent to the sad state of the town. This may prove to be a task next to impossible to achieve in the short term and may be accomplished only in the long haul and at great political risk and with the greatest diligence and fortitude on the part of the up and coming political leaders like Jun.

As to the fact whether the young leaders like Jun Lala are what Lianga needs in the municipal council today remains to be seen. For he has still to prove himself worthy of the mandate given to him.

What is clear is that the people of Lianga did largely vote for young and untried personalities like him because they represented change and the infusion of new blood and hopefully a new vitality and hope into the tired politics of the town. And for the nth time over the decades and countless elections, the people of Lianga may soon again be wondering and asking the same question they have been asking themselves over and over again. Have they made the right choices this time?

Let's hope the answer this time is a resounding yes.

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