Where He Is Destined to Be
Barangay Captain Jomer Cruz of San Mateo, Rizal shares how his faith and kind of leadership has helped
his constituents in his 15 years of public service.
BY KAREN TERESE ROJAS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA JR.
GROOMING BY JHEF CADION
Leadership that comes naturally. Spiritually-and kindnessdriven. Long-term teaching. Leading by example. That is how Barangay Captain Jomer Alejandro Cruz of Barangay Guitnang Bayan 1 in San Mateo, Rizal describes his brand of leadership. An “action man,” this is how his constituents call him.
A HOMEGROWN LEADER
Barangay Captain Jomer Alejandro Cruz, or ‘Kap Jomer’ to his constituents and kababayans, was born and raised in Guitnang Bayan 1—a homegrown leader, as some people would say. The youngest in the family, Cruz was raised in a loving household, including his mother who was well-known in their area for their
pawning business or sanglaan. He says his mother taught him values and morals he still lives by up to this day, and helped strengthen his faith in the Lord.
Cruz, while in school at the Nuestra Señora De Aranzazu Parochial School (NSDAPS), served as a sacristan during celebration of the Holy Mass. He was also part of several religious organizations which further strengthened his Catholic faith and beliefs.
“Hanggang ngayon—hanggang naging kapitan, lahat ‘yun, ‘yung lahat ng experiences kong ‘yun, ‘yun ‘yung mga baseline ko bilang kapitan (Until today–until I became [barangay] captain, all those, all those experiences, they became my baseline when I was elected),” Cruz says. “‘Yung mga act of kindness ko, ‘yung mga nalaman ko doon sa kung saan-saan man, ginagawa ko siya ngayon (Those acts of kindness, everything I learned throughout everything, I apply those lessons until today),” he adds.
STARTING OUT IN POLITICS
Despite having now served for several terms in public office, the barangay captain used to not want to be involved in politics.
“Noong time na kinukuha ako na kagawad pa lang, ayoko talaga kasi ano ‘yan eh, hindi ko naman forte ‘yung public service tapos kakausap ako sa tao, tutulungan ko ‘yung tao. Pero by nature, ganoon ako, hindi ko lang alam (When they were pushing me to run for barangay councilman, I didn’t want to do it, public service is not my forte but I would talk to people, help people. By nature, I am [a public servant], I just didn’t know it at that time),” he says.
That is why when someone asked him to join their ticket back in 2007, he initially declined the offer stating that he has yet to decide on joining the world of politics. But when they saw each other at a
gathering of a common friend, Cruz was eventually persuaded to run as a kagawad.
“And the rest is history. 2007, it was my first term as barangay councilman, which led to my second and third term. Eventually, I developed my personality, everything. And now, here I am, a barangay captain,” he adds.
However, the barangay captain shares that it was not his first time in politics. When he was younger, he became a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) kagawad as well. But just like his political career now, it was as if everything was falling into place, despite it not being what he initially wanted.
“Noong tumakbo ako ng SK kagawad noon, dahil merong nagsabi sa ‘kin na kaibigan ko na tumakbo ako na SK chairman kasi ‘yun ang nakikita nila sa ‘kin (When I ran for SK councilman before, it was because my friend told me to run for SK chairman because they saw me in that position),” he says. “Ngayon ang ginawa ko, pumunta ako doon sa tito ko na councilor that time, at sabi ko tatakbo akong SK chairman. That time, hindi ko kinonsider paano ko siya gagawin. Basta sa akin lang, sinabihan akong tumakbo, ako naman sumunod kasi siyempre meron silang nakikita sa ‘kin (So what I did, I talked to my uncle who was a councilor at that time, and told him that .....