YOU WOULD think the line is straight from a press release written by Imee’s young and brilliant media staff, or from a column penned by some paid publicist or corrupt journalist, but no, the generous adulation is lifted from the hymn of praises sang by a group of public administration postgraduate students who visited the province recently.
Led by Dr. Prospero De Vera, their eminent professor at the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, the class was in town to study national-local relations, the role of state universities and colleges (SUCs) in national development, and to meet local officials of the province. They had a chance to personally listen to Governor Imee Marcos deliver her first one hundred days report at the capitol, and oh boy were they charmed.
In a public lecture he delivered at the MMSU Graduate School, De Vera noted that Imee is one of the very few governors who are actively and decisively working for the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals which provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions, including income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and global partnership for development. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half by 2015.
Imee’s commitment to help avert climate change was also noticed by the UP NCPAG group. De Vera can name only one other governor who is seriously talking about climate change, Joey Salceda of Albay, yes, that economic maverick who called Gloria, then his boss, “one lucky bitch.”
The doctoral students, during the open forum, took turns belting out their hallelujahs for Imee, “who knows what she wants to get done for the province, and knows as well how she wants them done.” Asked what grade they would give the Princeton-educated, gay-lingo proficient governor on her 100-days performance, “1.0!” was the unanimous judgment of the seven-member class.
This view from the outside matches with our capitol insiders’ testimonies on Imee’s work ethic. The provincial chief executive, it is said, is at the capitol by seven in the morning and would oftentimes stay until almost midnight, what with the volume of work she has committed herself to accomplish. Far from the scenario her political opponents painted during the campaign, that Imee will be an absentee governor and that she will spend more time elsewhere than in the province, she has so far been an uber-hardworking, hands-on leader committed to “improve the bureaucracy in Ilocos Norte and transform it into the highly-motivated, truly outstanding civil service it must be to meet the challenges of this difficult millennium.”
“At her age (58), the vibrancy is something to be appreciated,” says one of her staff members. “Ayaw niya ng pulitikang basta-basta, hindi siya trapo.”
It says a lot that although Imee’s staff, those whom she really gets to work closely with, regularly get their doses of dressing down from their boss who is unforgiving when it comes to quality of work, they admire her, even adore her. The same could not be said, of course, in the case of other capitol employees who are missing the incompetence, corruption, and greed, which they conveniently enjoyed in yesteryears, and which are now unwelcome under Imee’s watchful eye.