Full Steam Ahead
All roads lead to Tarlac in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games. In this interview, Governor Susan Yap tells us how she’s preparing the Province of Tarlac for the big league and how she’s planning to address future challenges.
BY LAKAMBINI BAUTISTA
COVER PHOTO BY PAOLO BELTRAN
When you are from a prominent family with a long history of dedicated public service, there is great pressure to perform your best and to leave your own mark. But Susan Yap, who is now on her second term as governor of Tarlac, is confident that she’s been doing a great job in running the province. “I ran unopposed [in the recent elections]. Hopefully that’s a sign that people are happy and satisfied with my work,” she smiles.
Prior to serving as governor, Yap had a sterling performance in the Lower House. She served two consecutive terms as Representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac from 2010 to 2016. During her stint as a legislator, she authored and co-authored a total of 63 laws, and passed nine national laws. Among these are the Mandatory Immunization for Children Act, Foster Care Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, and Universal Healthcare Coverage Act.
But much can be done for Tarlac, considering its enormous potentials, so the good legislator decided to continue her journey in the provincial level, where she can be more hands-on in running the province. “Whereas in Congress, it’s policy making and legislation, here in the province, I’m on-call 24/7. I have
to be available anytime for the kapitans, the mayors, the departments. I’m running a bureaucracy of 3,000 people as compared to a staff of six in Congress,” she cites the major adjustment in her life as a public servant.
To inspire the people of Tarlac, especially those in government, to be the change that they want, is something that Yap would like to do as a leader. “People keep saying ‘We want change.’ But when you try to make simple changes, they resist,” she quips. “[As public servants] we don’t work to get our paycheck every 15th and 30th, we’re here to serve the province and the nation. It’s a shared responsibility.”
“What the country needs are innovative leaders. I think our world is fast-changing. We have to keep up with the changes. The competition is not only in the local arena, it’s on a global scale. As leaders, we have to empower our people, make sure that they are provided with the opportunities and services that they need,” she stresses.