Continued Dedication to Public Service
BY NOVIE ROSE NUÑEZ
You can learn something from anyone. I learned from fishball and taho (silken tofu with syrup and sago pearls) vendors. I learned from successful businessmen,” Parañaque 2nd District Councilor Jose Enrico “Rico” Golez emphasizes, highlighting his deep respect for every individual in his community, regardless of their social standing. His remarkable path to public service has been greatly shaped by a wide range of people. He finds inspiration from people from all walks of life, from ordinary street vendors to entrepreneurs who have found their niche.
However, it is not just the vendors’ or businessmen’s entrepreneurial spirit that has had a lasting impact on Golez. He believes that a significant part of his success comes from the simple yet deep principles he has learned from these interactions.
“Hard work is what they give emphasis to,” he shares, highlighting how this relates to his unwavering dedication to serving his constituents diligently. Similarly important is his philosophy in life, which goes, “There’s no easy thing in life. There’s always the correct thing in life.”
This guiding principle ensures that Golez makes decisions based on a moral compass, always striving for what is right rather than what is convenient.
Furthermore, he is highly aware of the ever-changing dynamics of the world. He advises, “Be flexible with time because the world changes. But even if the world is changing, there are certain things that you still try as hard as you can to hold deeply.”
FROM BACKGROUND TO FOREFRONT
In 2004, Golez began a journey that would define his purpose in life. He was elected as a councilor and went on to serve for three terms, something which proved to be a remarkable experience. During this time, he gained valuable firsthand knowledge about the realm of public service, facing both challenges and rewards that come with being a public servant.
He shares, “When my father served as a congressman for nine years from 1992 to 2000, I was just in the background. I would help just to facilitate things. But now, it is I who’s in that position. So, because I am already in public service, I have access to the city hall, and you try to bring the services available to the people closer to them.”
The shift from being a supportive figure to a public servant exposed Golez to intricate local issues. Attending to matters concerning public health, environment, and various other concerns became his daily responsibility.
Golez openly acknowledges that he was quite unaware of the above issues before entering public service. He says, “When I was not yet in public service, not yet in the city council, there were many local issues that I didn’t even know about like [those concerning] public health, environment, and others. But once I was there, that’s when I realized that it’s not that easy. It’s not that easy [for anyone], especially if you try to enact laws.”
He realized that it demanded careful focus, a thorough understanding of the matters at hand and a strong desire to bring about laws beneficial to his constituents. “But, if you are dedicated to your work, you can make thing easier,” he adds.
A LEGACY OF POSITIVE CHANGE
One of the young leader’s most recent and proudest achievements is the implementation of the city’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). During his stint as vice mayor from 2013 to 2022, he observed that people in his community were facing difficulties paying for their medical bills, particularly for procedures such as dialysis and chemotherapy. Recognizing the necessity of providing assistance, he introduced SAP.
He notes, “In our own little way, the city government is able to provide some financial assistance, ranging from Php3,000 to Php5,000, depending on how much the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) personnel allocate.”
Golez also stresses the significance of collaboration in the legislative process. He understands that, as a councilor, it is vital to work alongside other council members in order to successfully enact important ordinances. For instance, although he introduced the SAP, it was only made possible with the help and cooperation of his fellow councilors. “That’s part of the job, to collaborate. You have to learn how to collaborate with certain people in order to make things work,” he states.
The councilor reflects on his previous terms as part of the Parañaque City Council and highlights key ordinances that have made a lasting impact. He says that the Local Housing Development Office has greatly improved the organization of housing and land use in the city. “Before, the city did not have a clear direction with regard to housing. With the establishment of the office, housing efforts are now clearly laid out,” he says.
Golez spearheaded the passage of the ordinance in the mid2000s, with the aim of providing guidance for land development in the city. He is delighted to see this initiative mirrored at the national level, with the filing of a Senate bill mandating all cities and municipalities to establish local housing development offices. He places high value on being one of those who pioneered this effort for the City of Parañaque and hopes that the bill will be enacted into law.
Meanwhile, the city’s Disaster Risk Management Office, according to Golez, plays a vital role in addressing various calamities and ensuring the safety of residents during times of catastrophe. He states, “When there’s a storm, flood, earthquake, or any tragedy in the city, there’s one office that will take charge.”
Golez states that the Parañaque I’M HERE TO STAY, AND I’M STILL AS MOTIVATED AS I WAS IN 2004. I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT I CAN SERVE THE CITY BETTER BECAUSE OF THE EXPERIENCE THAT I’VE GAINED THROUGH THE YEARS. Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) has helped foster the growth and development of cooperatives. He is proud to see the cooperative movement flourish in the city. He shares, “Since there are many cooperative offices here in Paranaque City, when I introduced that measure, various cooperatives in the city were strengthened because they had seminars and exchanged ideas.”
He points to the companionship and collaboration that exist among the city’s public servants, understanding the value of working together to address the pressing issues in their community. This collaboration has paved the way for collective effort to bring about positive change within the city.
DEDICATION TO CONTINUED SERVICE
Golez is deeply committed to acting on local issues and focusing on initiatives that he wishes to continue working on. First, he intends to support solo parents and advocate for simplified and more efficient processes for them to be able to avail of the benefits they are entitled to.
Second, Golez is aware of the education gap that has widened due to the pandemic. To address this issue, he introduced an ordinance to allocate funds for remedial classes for non-readers, or those students whose reading proficiency is below their grade level. He shares, “Together with the Department of Education (DepEd), I filed an ordinance to appropriate a certain amount for us to fund a project. There are remedial classes for non-readers, so it seems like we need to fund that to be more effective.”
Additionally, Golez has taken steps to enhance the transition from daycare to DepEd-supervised schools, addressing the challenges faced by students during this transition. He filed a resolution to establish an advocacy committee that will facilitate collaboration between the DepEd and the daycare sector, with the aim of improving the curriculum and making the transition smoother for daycare students.
Subsequently, these will scrutinize particular concerns at hand in order to enhance the correlation between the daycare curriculum and that of the DepEd. Furthermore, this will iron out kinks in daycare students’ transition to DepEd-supervised schools.
Golez is also exploring ways to apply the Magna Carta for Daycare Workers locally, once it is enacted into law by Congress. He is studying the provisions of the proposed national law to ensure its successful implementation within the Parañaque community.
He clarifies that although he contributes to higher education as chairman of the Committee on Education and a member of the school board, his true passion lies in establishing a solid educational foundation.
Golez proudly mentions his 19-year-old program, which involves distributing workbooks to daycare students annually but was temporarily stopped due to the pandemic. He is extremely satisfied and determined in doing so. “I really prefer to give books because I am pleased that in some way, I am able to contribute in improving their ability to read and write. I take pride in that, I have made a contribution to the early development of the children,” he emphasizes.
COMMITMENT TO PROGRESS
Asked about his most significant or proudest moments as a public servant, Golez shares a reflection on a period that had a lasting impact on his public service journey. He talks about the COVID-19 pandemic, where he had to continue serving the people of Parañaque despite the many risks involved. He sees it as a testament to his dedication and commitment to his role, where he played a part in helping his community navigate through the darkest times.
“I am happy that we were able to overcome the crisis. It’s perhaps the biggest crisis in the Philippines since World War II, disrupting the lives of all Filipinos. I take pride in how I was there to help the city government of Parañaque and our constituents [get through the pandemic],” he proudly shares.
Golez believes that his journey is a testament to the enduring power of public service and the positive impact one dedicated individual can have on a community. He also highlights continuity, progress, and unwavering dedication to his constituents.
As he looks ahead, he remains steadfast in his dedication to the welfare of his constituents and the betterment of Parañaque City. He is confident of having more happy moments, seeing how his pet projects and initiatives are being put into action and bearing fruit.
“I’m here to stay, and I’m still as motivated as I was in 2004. I honestly believe that I can serve the city better because of the experience that I’ve gained through the years,” he concludes.