Okay, the title may sound hard sell at first, but you just have to talk to people who saw her in action when Typhoon Mina pounded Ilocos to believe this is apt.
“Ma’am, pahinga naman po kayo, hindi po kayo Superwoman,” a young staff had to remind Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos who had a maximum two hours of sleep in the two days Mina unleashed her wrath in the Saluyot Republic.
She would be in one town talking to municipal and barangay officials one minutes and, faster than you can say “I love you, Imee,” she would be seen in yet another town consoling a widow. And these are not just photo-op visits. Manang Imee personally made calls to coordinate with various government agencies, inspected damaged infrastructure and crops, and made sure relief goods reached the intended recipients.
But believe me, dear karikna, her presence alone was even more valuable than relief goods. When Manang Imee visits a place, observes a media colleague, “people feel no longer alone and neglected… somehow, they feel safe.” Oh, yes, the lady radiates sunshine in the middle of a storm and a nasty tornado.
Young and dynamic, the Capitol’s media staff were quick to post pictures and updates on Facebook to reassure Ilocanos, here and in diaspora, that government is responding well to the situation. Deeply moved, Ilocanos in Hawaii and elsewhere showered Manang Imee’s facebook page with messages of gratitude and admiration.
“I hope her energy is contagious,” Nestor Siazon, a college professor, writes this comment on Facebook. I hope so, too. “Sa ipanapakita niyang sipag at malasakit, mahihiya ka talagang hindi kumilos,” says a Capitol staff. Many employees—up and down the hierarchy—in the province’s seat of power are known to be best at doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, and gaining everything—by means legal or otherwise—from their jobs. Manang Imee is determined to change this culture, which explains why I heard many spoiled brats there are increasingly getting uneasy with the Lady Boss’ no-nonsense management style.
During the campaign, Imee’s political nemesis raised fears that she will not be a hands-on governor, and that she will be probably stay in Manila more than here in Ilocos. They were wrong. Why that Manang Imee would risk her life and limb defying Nature’s wrath when she can just stay home and chill out? Why that on regular working days (and this includes weekends) she would be in her office early in the morning and leave only at past dinner time? I do not think she merely wants to prove her political rivals wrong. She does not have to do that anymore; her rivals have since retreated to political oblivion. I think it is really just that she wants to be a good governor. Then again, Imee the artist would just make films and produce creative stuff—her first love—if she wanted comfort, but there she was in a windy, rainy location.
And it was not for a movie.