Playing with Fire

Mayor BTF, a great ‘coach’ and mentor

By Gonzalo Duque


UP to this writing, Dagupeños were still talking about the city’s winning the regional sports (R1AA) competitions in Alaminos City last week.

We have sent our warmest congratulations to the people behind the success especially our beloved mayor Belen Fernandez and her team like the schools division superintendent Lorna G. Bugayong.

Of course, unang una ay ang mga athletes, the warm bodies who slugged it out in the arena and brought home this grand victory for Dagupan.

At this point, we want to reflect a bit on the inspiring event. It should not be treated as an end in itself but rather as a spur to motivate and inspire them, the sports people, and the city officialdom led by our hardworking mayora to convert the victory into a working philosophy, starting with a declared policy on how every human component of the city should govern his or her own self to give life and meaning to leadership.

We feel that under the present leadership, a culture has been put in place or being developed so that from sports, we can use this mantra or discipline or attitude to the workplace and in all endeavors.

Those who have watched Mayor Belen work, parang hindi na nagpapahinga, ask those who are very close to her, they will tell you that she is like a indefatigable machine, workaholic, achievement-focused, and always doing her best to make a difference in the art of governance.

Let it be a reminder to all our citymates, friend and foe alike, that under a workaholic leader na walang kapaguran, ay wala nang hahanapin pa ang kanyang constituents. Pati kalaban ay nawawalan na nang gana na kontrahin ang taong gumagawa ng tama.

                  Which brings to mind Mayor Belen’s past, nang siya ay hindi pa nagpulitika, just a simple assistant in the family marketing business. Having finished a business degree at a local college in Dagupan, Belen, as per her confessions to those who wanted to learn her secret of success, all she did was do her best in any job or undertaking assigned to her, with all or total sincerity and lots of prayers to Almighty God. Mayor Belen, by the way, is a very religious or spiritual person.

During her initial days as a politicians starting as a councilor then vice mayor then mayor she would confess to friends and confidantes that she hardly knew anything about politics or this thing called science and art of governance. Pati public speaking ay nanginginig noong unang mga araw. Ang mga tutor niya ay sina former and late senator Letty Shahani, former speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., former mayor Al Fernandez and partly, yours truly as a member of the so called bulong brigade, whatever that means.

And being a good, conscientious learner and student, she took to heart whatever was imparted to her like a babe in the woods. She was so enamored by the tutelage coming from her mentors, hindi nagtagal she developed into a master leader of her assignment, to be a model leader of Dagupan City. She played by the rules. Now, she is a master of the trade, local politics.

This principle should apply to the development or training of sportsmen and athletes or players. Play according to the rules and play your best and with God backing you up, you will become a champion.

So allow us to say this, the best coach of Dagupan’s great players who brought the championship honor to the city was basically, Mayor Belen Fernandez herself.

Blowout naman diyan, Mayor, the great coach and mentor.

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NOTES: Finally, people have seen the merit of putting up a drug rehab center in Burgos, Pangasinan with Gov. Pogi Espino leading the way. The idea came from this columnist when he was Vice Gov. of Pangasinan. Thou late in coming, it is still a crucial facility… Congrats, President Digong for acting on the Boracay pollution. It has become an eyesore and a health problem. 

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