Twenty-three local chief executives from all over the Philippines heed the call to become better public servants as they completed the Leaders for Excellence and Public Service (LEAP) Mayors' Fellowship Program.
The third run of the LEAP Mayors' Fellowship Program, organized by Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership and San Miguel Corporation, started last September 2019 and ended in a graduation ceremony held at the Office of the Vice President last March 6, 2020.
Vice President Leni Robredo, one of the Good Governance Champions of Kaya Natin, graced the event as its keynote speaker.
The Vice President described the leadership training series as a chance for mayors to share their best practices and learn innovative ways to serve their constituents better.
"This is the reason why we thought of having LEAP: for us to have a sanctuary for mayors like you who are matino at mahusay. Kasi to be matino at mahusay, it is a very difficult thing to do, lalo na in times like these," Robredo said.
Mayor Macel Cumpio-Avestruz of Barugo, Leyte, one of the LEAP batch 3 fellows, said the program provides new networks that would help her in creating programs for her municipality.
"I believe that every day is a learning. I also know my limitations. That's why, knowing my limits, I really have to engage further and network others," Avestruz said.
For neophyte Mayor Trina Andres of Rizal, Nueva Ecija, the fellowship program inspires her to strive more.
"Lalo akong na-inspire na marami pang gawin para sa bayan ko. Akala namin, marami na kaming nagagawa pero marami pa palang magagawa," Andres said.
Gumaca, Quezon Mayor Webster Letargo said he already implemented to his municipality the learnings he got from LEAP.
"Ang dami ko pong nai-apply sa ating bayan. At ang isa na laging kong tinatandaan, "statistics is the key." Kailangan alam mo kung ano ang pinagsisilbihan mo, ano ang mga pangangailangan nila, ano ang mga kailangang ibigay mo sa kanila," Letargo said.
Meanwhile, Balete, Aklan Mayor Dexter Calizo invites other fellow local chief executives to join the next round of the fellowship program.
"I invite my fellow local chief executives to give time, give attention to the LEAP program because bilang shepherd sa ating mga bayan, I believe the shepherd also needs teaching, also needs to refine his ways," Calizo said.
Throughout the eight months of the fellowship program, the local chief executives learned and engaged with different fields, such as the academe, civil society organizations, private sector, and seasoned public servants about good governance and leadership development.
During the third module, the mayor-fellows went to Naga City, known as the center of good governance, to study the innovations of the local government and the people empowerment legacy of the late Mayor and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Other mayors who graduated from the program were Ligao City, Albay Mayor Patricia Alsua; Moncada, Tarlac Mayor Estelita Aquino; Paranas, Samar Mayor Eunice Babalcon; Motiong, Samar Mayor Renato Cabael; Dolores, Quezon Mayor Orlan Calayag; Tineg, Abra Mayor Corinthia Crisologo; Asuncion, Davao del Norte Mayor Eufracio Dayaday Jr.; General Luna, Quezon Mayor Matt Florido; Leganes, Iloilo Mayor Vicente Jaen II; Tabaco City, Albay Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro; Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Elgin Malaluan; Pililla, Rizal Mayor Dan Masinsin, Mulanay, Quezon Mayor Jaytito Ojeda II; Alcantara, Romblon Mayor Riza Pamorada; Lavezares, Northern Samar Mayor Edito Saludaga; Allen, Northern Samar Mayor Joey Suan; Santa Cruz, Marinduque Mayor Antonio Uy Jr.; and Alangalang, Leyte Mayor Lovely Yu.