MAYOR RAINIER ACERO LEOPANDO
According to Mayor Rainier Acero Leopando of Siniloan, Laguna, the key to successful and sustainable development is going back to the basics—building better social services, instilling values, and listening to the people.
BY HELEN HERNANE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SORIANO
Every person has a guidance system—a moral code that they abide by and which serves as their compass in all actions. Politicians, public servants, and government workers have the same set of rules that guides their governance; and that is the law in all forms (international, national, and local).
While priorities and values may slightly differ from person to person, for the most part, their principles are universal. And when it comes to serving the people, they believe in doing what is just and right. Siniloan Mayor Rainier Leopando, however, is unlike most politicians.
While he holds the law and public service in high regard because of their importance, there is a higher cause that directs him. “[The Lord] is my guide in how I conduct myself. I follow His will so that others could follow and do the same,” he shares. “In the current political scenario, here [in Siniloan], our rivals became our allies because of love and respect.” A devout Roman Catholic, the 63-year-old first-time politician admits that he shouldn’t be entering politics at this age. But for Leopando, divine intervention was what pushed him to follow this path. “Trust God and do what we perceive are His plans for us.
He brought me here and I have to do what needs to be done for Siniloan and its people,” he says with conviction. “Whatever decision you make, it must come from the heart.
That’s what He taught us.” But running was not something that he thought of doing. With persistence and persuasion from the people of Siniloan, Leopando followed the vox populi. “Luckily, I won,” he recalls, smiling. Leopando knew, however, that winning the mayoral race was just the first step in a very arduous journey. Despite being a newcomer, he was not afraid of anything. “Fear is normal. But when you have God in your heart, you have nothing to fear. Come what may,” he says without hesitation.....