PILIAY 2013: Maramag folks want their officials to be “transparent, pro-poor, consultative …”

Bukidnon News.Net official Logo for site2MARAMAG, Bukidnon (Bukidnon News.Net/19 February) Aside from being God-fearing, folks here wanted their local government officials to be pro-poor, transparent, consultative, among 26 other qualities they want from leaders they will elect in May 13, 2013, according to their responses in a focus group discussion here last week.

The items were in response to the question on qualities the citizens look for in a leader, one of three questions asked to 28 representatives from different sectors in the town in three focus group discussions here on February 15 in preparation for the elections.

Transparency, concern for the poor, and being able to listen to the people are three of the most common responses among the groups.

The rest of the qualities include “family-oriented, “pro-environment,” “fair and equal in treatments,” “someone who espouses a realistic platform,” “wise/talented,” and “democratic.”

19 February WIB FGD Maramag

Participants join a Focus Group Discussion for Dialogue Bukidnon: Piliay 2013 in Maramag town on February 15. The activity was organized in Maramag in cooperation with the Parish Pastoral Coordinating Council of San Andres Parish| Bukidnon News photo by Ronald Christopher Neri

The participants also specified that they want leaders “who have vision and mission; should be “transformative”, and are effective because they are “good examples to their constituents.”

Representatives from indigenous peoples, laborers, farmers, and non-government organizations said aside from leaders who can make firm decisions, they wanted “approachable” and “service-oriented leaders.” They also wanted their leaders to be “industrious or hardworking”, “principled”, “sincere”, “fair”, and have “word of honor.”

Participants in those sectors also preferred candidates who are “not vindictive” and are good sports or not easily piqued.  Common in the three FGDs in the town is the observation that politicians gunning for office in the 2013 elections are “possessive” or jealous when citizens give attention to other candidates.

They added that the officials should be “fair,” “good-natured,” and “good not only during elections.”

Participants from the business and professionals groups identified that leaders should also be “God-fearing,.” “pro-poor,” “honest,” and”pro-life.”

Representatives from the women, youth, and religious sectors identified that their leaders should be “copmmitted and dedicated,” “honest and transparent,””with integrity,” “family-oriented,” “loving,” “broadminded,” “intelligent,” ”educated,” “generous,” “God-fearing,” “sincere,” and “fair in decisions.”

The group also stressed that aside from being “peaceful” or peace-loving” their leaders should be “servant leaders” and not bossy.

Among the sectors represented in the FGD were the Indigenous peoples, farmers, laborers, non-government organizations, women, youth, religious, business, and professionals.

Two other questions were asked in the town’s three FGDs, the first on the issues, problems, or aspiration of the citizens in their town that they want the local government to prioritize or address and what doable initiatives can the voters do to ensure the elections produce winners with qualities they specified.

The Focus Group Discussions is the first stage of the three-part Dialogue Bukidnon: Piliay 2013, a documentation and election coverage project initiated by community-based news service Bukidnon News in cooperation with community partners.

The second part is a series of key informant interviews (KIIs) among the candidates for mayor and vice mayor in the area. The interviews will be based mainly on the issues drawn out from the FGD’s first question.

The third stage is the public presentation of outputs using the outputs of the FGDs and the interviews to be presented mainly during a candidates’ forum.

The Diocese of Malaybalay and the Parish Pastoral Coordinating Council of Maramag’s San Andres Parish are among the partners of Bukidnon News. The group also worked with the parishes of San Isidro Labrador in Malaybalay City, Immaculate Conception in Manolo Fortich, and San Agustin in Valencia City.

The FGD in Malaybalay was held on February 2 and in Manolo Fortich on February 16. The FGD in Valencia City is scheduled on March 3.

The Kitanglad Integrated NGOs and other Bukidnon-based organizations have also pledged support for the project.

Malaybalay bishop Jose Cabantan backed the project. Priests from five parishes also volunteered to hold the FGDs and candidates’ fora in their area.  The Parish of Our Lady of Rosary in Damulog backed out due to lack of personnel to help local organizing.

Organizers consider the four areas as pilot areas of the project.

Incidentally, each of Malaybalay, Valencia, Maramag, and Manolo Fortich are from Bukidnon’s four congressional districts. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)

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