Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian can be the country’s Lee Kuan Yew, given the lawmaker’s achievements in modernizing Valenzuela City in the nine years that he was mayor of the former municipality known for being a factory belt and home to labor strikes.
This was the gist of the speech of movie producer Mother Lily Monteverde during a dinner cum fellowship night with entertainment media, which she sponsored Thursday evening for senatorial candidate Win Gatchalian.
“Hardworking and self-made, Win, as I call him, is so much like Lee Kuan Yew in that they share an indefatigable vision of investing [in] on the youth, education and creating better job opportunities for a better and brighter future,” said Monteverde of Gatchalian, who served as a three-term mayor of the Valenzuela [City] before his return to the House of Representatives.
Monteverde added: “He is one senatorial candidate na talagang may magagawa para sa bayan. If you ask Mother Lily, I’d say that Win could be the Lee Kuan Yew of the Philippines. Nakakagulat ang mga ginawa niya sa Valenzuela.”
Gatchalian is one of the official candidates for senator of the NPC, the country’s second biggest political party founded by business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco in 1991. He is running under the ticket of presidential bet Grace Poe and runningmate Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
Under Gatchalian’s watch, Valenzuela City was recognized by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation as one of the business-friendly cities in the country in 2011.
Valenzuela City also topped the list of 25 cities in 183 economies nominated in guaranteeing “Ease of Registering Property” while placing fourth in providing “Ease of Starting a Business”, and sixth in ensuring “Ease of Dealing with Construction Permits.”
In the following year (2012), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chose Valenzuela City as the most business-friendly city government while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave the city the Galing Pook Award for its 3S in Public Service Program, an anti-graft and corruption platform guaranteeing transparency in government transactions.
Valenzuela City was also awarded by the DILG the Seal of Good Housekeeping for good governance.
Monteverde said that through Gatchalian, Valenzuela City has been transformed into “a bustling community through his corporate-style of leadership.”
“Aside from these accomplishments, what really convinced me to endorse Win’s senatorial bid in 2016 is his dream of giving ‘marangal na pamumuhay’ to every Filipino family. His passion to deliver ‘de-kalidad na edukasyon at disenteng trabaho’ to millions of kababayan. No one shall be left behind. Walang maiiwan,” said Monteverde.
More than 500 students became Dr. Pio Valenzuela scholars during Gatchalian’s his nine years as local chief executive.
Valenzuela City ranked first among cities in Metro Manila in terms of average score in the National Achievement Test of public elementary students in school year 2010-2011. The city ranked fourth in the same test but for high school students in school year 2011-2012.
While excellence is crucial in public service, a heart for helping the downtrodden is more important, said Monteverde, who found it in the 41-year-old Gatchalian. “Action is what we need right now. Change is what we’re after as a nation. Galing… importante ‘yan. Pero higit dun, puso para tumulong at magsilbi nang totoo. Si Win ‘yon,” she said.
Gatchalian is the author of House Bill No. 5905, to be known as the “Free Higher Education Act”, which will fully subsidize tuition fee in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) for all current and future enrollees provided they maintain good academic and moral standing. The measure has already been approved at the committee level.
“Ang edukasyon ay karapatan ng lahat ng mamamayan at hindi lang ng iilang mayayaman. Ang edukasyon ay karapatan ng bawat Pilipino na may sipag at tiyaga na mag-aral. Hindi makatarungan na hindi makapag-aral ang mga mahihirap. Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang kahirapan para sa pagpasok ng kolehiyo,” explained Gatchalian.
Gatchalian believes that under a Grace Poe presidency, no Filipino will be left behind. “Every Filipino will be afforded the opportunities necessary to partake of the economic gains.”
The Valenzuela City solon is set to prioritize genuine reforms that will transform the education system to becoming globally competitive as well as measures promoting inclusive growth if he is elected to Senate in May 2016.