July 16, 2013

So how's Mayor Edna Tabanda doing?

About 9 in the evening yesterday, I was walking home and as I approached the area in KM5 (near the hanging bridge going into Balili) where there's a cluster of karaoke bars, a police car passed me by. I wondered where its going because that road is a dead-end just a few meters in. Suddenly, I heard some youths frantically moving to and from the bars murmuring to themselves "Sanas Tabanda.", a Kankana-ey phrase which translates to "Here comes Tabanda."

Only then did I realize that the cops in the mobile car were making their rounds and checking on bars and clubs if they are operating under the rules and policies that govern them. And that includes not serving liquors to minors. I can only surmise that some of the youths I mentioned earlier are below the drinking age. That was why they were a bit agitated by the arrival of the police patrol car.

The phrase "Sanas Tabanda." are the keywords here. The youths knew that the cops were there because of newly-elected La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda. If you are not familiar with the way the new Mayor works, here's one thing she is known for: she has very strong convictions upon matters that involve alcoholism and the operations of establishments whose main business is to serve liquors. How strong? I do believe that if she has the power and the means to ban anything that has a hint of alcohol in it, she will. That is a character you'll find in great leaders. And I do think that Tabanda is starting to prove that she is one. She stands firm by what she believes in. And she fights (toes and nails and all) to see her policies implemented. I for one sometimes disagree with her seemingly over-the-top stand on bars.

A good leader designs policies. A great leader sees to it that these policies are given teeth and put into REAL action.

I remember very well when I voted last May in Tawang. It took me over three hours to reach the election booths. Yes, the line of people was that long which is of course a good thing. I was really impressed with the voter turnout. In the over three hours that I stood in line, I managed to strike bits of conversations with the shy twenty-something girl in front of me. When she asked me who I was voting for Mayor, I answered that I'm still in the process of weighing my options.

I threw the question back at her. She didn't give me an answer. She just raised her eyebrows and gave me a big smile. When I mentioned that I might be voting for Tabanda, that was when I learned that she's probably betting on the then incumbent Mayor Gregorio Abalos. She mentioned something about how "inumans" in La Trinidad will be closed if Tabanda wins. In her campaign, Tabanda has set this as one of her priorities. I have no problems with that as I can always get myself wasted in nearby Baguio City.

When I asked her about Bobot Fongwan, she mentioned something about the younger Fongwan being a hot-headed freak. Whether the rumors were true or not, I was never going to vote for Fongwan anyway. The man didn't earn enough stripes. He's got a long way to go before he'll be able to run an entire municipality. You could say Fongwan is the Nancy Binay of La Trinidad politics. The only difference between the two is that Binay won, Fongwan did not.

Edna Tabanda taking her oath. Photo from Facebook/I Love La Trinidad
An then there's the unfortunate Gregorio Abalos. Abalos was in fact my first pick. I subscribe to the theory of continuity in politics. One of the reasons why so many local government units can't seem to get things done is the constant change in leaders. Every few years, the Mayor is changed. Along with this comes the changes in how the municipality is run. Policies get modified. Projects are either discontinued or abandoned altogether. People are thrown out the window. In short, the move towards progress is often hindered by the change in the guards.

This was why I was willing to take another risk with Abalos. He had done some bad and stupid things. He got himself in a few controversies. But overall, I think he did a more than decent job as mayor of the town. He got the ball rolling, so to speak. And I wanted to see him in another term so he can continue the good things he has already started.

But alas, a "baket" (an old woman) candidate changed my mind. In the end, I voted for Tabanda. And I'm glad I did, at least at this point in time. She's been in office for just more than a month and I can already see the good changes she has spearheaded for the town. For now, I'm impressed. Here's to hoping that we will feel the same for the rest of her tenure.

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  1. pard, intuloy mo met kayet..nice :) keep up. wish i cud write as you do..kkk

    1. Salamat. :)
      Yes, you could. You might even do it better. :)

  2. Very well said sir, I and hubby proudly voted for madam Edna too..Let us continue to pray and hope for good changes in our dear La Trinidad. :)