Not long ago, Marikina City has transformed into a city where “good taste, elegance and discipline” are the virtues of the day. To date, there are still vestiges and virtues as gleaned from the behaviour and attitudes of the city residents. This means that the transformation of the city is now shady. This can be attributed to the dynamics of politics at play.
The Rule of Politics Will
As a personal view of this writer, during the incumbencies of the spouses Fernando, Marikina City was revolutionized into becoming one of the remarkable and admitted local government units in the country. They ruled the City with a sense of autocratic leadership. Politics adopted and implemented by the City Government were lopsided and they are reflective of the peculiar decisions and interests of the Fernandos.
Many people find it agreeable with this kind of governance because what the Fernandos decide for the city is oftentimes agreeable with the ideals and aspirations of the city residents. Seldom were these politics questioned or argued about. Moreover, city officials would not dare to cast doubt on the motives of the Fernandos and would just have to give their blind concurrence.
It was a sheer show of political will of the Fernandos. It was their strength of character, including their resolve and determination to make Marikina City as one of the leading cities not only in the country but also in the world. Many citations were received because of their significant and outstanding leadership.
However, the kind of political leadership mustered by the Fernandos has also its downside.
The Un-empowered Constituency
While many people find the skyrocketing progress of Marikina City attributed mostly to the Fernandos, they also equally hit upon the leadership style of the Fernandos as an intimidation to their creativity and freedom.
As they claim, the city residents, including some of the key officials of the City Government, are aloof and restrained to speak their minds about what they want for the city. They are tight-lipped about policy direction espoused by the Fernandos. They feel reserved and distant to share their ideas and views to make the city better-no matter how novel and exceptional these are.
Hence, the people are fainthearted and ineffectual. They cannot initiate things on their own except that these have to be sanctioned by the powers-that-be. Simply put, the people were not empowered.
Transition to Democratic Governance
With Mayor Del R. De Guzman at the helm, local governance was shifted to a more democratic extravaganza. Mayor De Guzman opened the doors of the city to all, regardless of political parties, persuasions and beliefs. The people were consulted on matters of running the affairs of the city government. The type of political leadership is like an inverted pyramidal structure such that the baseline at the top most represents the people where ideas and decisions come from and cascade down to the local leaders for consideration and possible adoption.
People’s organization are officially recognized and accredited to staunch partners of the City Government. They are given the leeway to steer the wheel of governance together with the city officials.
In fine, Mayor de Guzman bequeaths to the people to lead their own lives by their own choices and decisions. This is people empowerment in a nutshell.
The Unspoken Flaws
Many say that this kind of democratic leadership is overstressed. This are certain occasions that the leadership of the City Government is paralyzed into waiting so long for the people to air their views. In other words, it takes lingering days and months for the City Government to make decisive stand on issues of the day. It has still to carefully weigh its options well by checking the social barometers like the views coming from social networking and political grapevines.
The style of political leadership, while it bespeaks of genuine democracy in action, derails and delays the much needed timely decisions and policies for the city.
This is a reflection of the dynamism of local politics in Marikina City. A political style of leadership has its own merits and drawbacks.
On my own, the vitality and essence of political leadership is dependent on the temperament of the people. If they are unruly or lax, an autocratic leadership is vogue. If the people are decorous and empowered, democratic style of leadership is very ideal.###