Egay Uy .
THE leading candidate for mayor of Cagayan de Oro City is harassed, portrayed, and persecuted by his opponents. Cases were filed against him by personalities who are known to be allies of the other side of the political fence. Most of the cases were either dismissed at the prosecutor’s level or by the courts of law vindicating him from political harassment and persecution. But we know that is not the end of it.
This leading candidate manages the bureaucracy by empowering his alter egos – and the entire organization in fact – instead of micro managing it. He sets the directions to where the city government and the City of Cagayan de Oro should be headed, instead of making commands and directing people as if they were military troopers or herds of sheep.
This candidate has a long-term outlook and sees the bigger picture instead of merely focusing on a myopic view of governance. He is inclusive and he empowers. He brings government closer to the people. He serves as he leads. He gives back to the people what they contributed to government through taxes in terms of better and effective public service.
He is Oscar Serina Moreno, the incumbent mayor of Cagayan de Oro. He is running for re-election for his third term.
I knew little of Mayor Moreno when he was still the governor of Misamis Oriental. I was then a vice president of the local electric distribution company whose franchise area includes the city, and the municipalities of Tagoloan, Villanueva, and Jasaan. As the power provider of these municipalities, we often coordinated also with the office of the governor.
Then in 2013, one year after I retired from my private employment, I had the opportunity of rubbing elbows with the governor who was now preparing to run for mayor of Cagayan de Oro. I was formally introduced to him as a probable candidate for city councilor by our XUHS ’70 “solicitor general” – as what my erstwhile partner, the late Engr. Peter Abejuela, would describe him – the other Oscar from our high school batch.
After several meetings, The Oscar, the then provincial governor, made me say yes. The 2013 elections are now under the bridge. I never got a city council seat landing only in the tenth slot (only the top eight were to make it) but in my heart I won because I did not spend a single centavo to buy votes. Prior to the 2013 elections, XUHS70 was actively campaigning against vote buying dubbed as “My Vote is Not for Sale.”
Speaking again of The Oscar, after two terms as mayor, he was able to build more than 601 classrooms, establish fifteen new school sites, paved 174 kilometers of roads to the hinterland barangays of the city, and dramatically improved the health services and the facilities of the JR Borja General Hospital. He also established 45 housing resettlements or relocation sites benefiting at least more than 12,000 families, and had many more accomplishments to boast of such as reaping several awards conferred upon local government units. These are all unprecedented.
Sadly, the other side of the fence paints a different and grim picture. But The Oscar remains unperturbed.
(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team. He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)