THE SERVANT LEADER
What drove Quezon City Mayor
Joy Belmonte to public service
was a burning aspiration
to reform government and
improve its performance.
BY JOYCE REYES-AGUILA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA, JR.
A progressive leader who chooses a path away from traditional politics—that’s how Quezon
City Mayor Joy Belmonte wants to be known.
She insists that she entered politics not for wealth, power, or prestige, and what drove her was a
burning aspiration to reform government and improve its performance.
“I have been described as forward-thinking,” she tells LEAGUE Magazine. “I am a crusader and a change-maker, and in this regard, I can say I am an idealist in a world of pragmatists. My vision is to strengthen institutions and standardize internal processes, protocols, and procedure for the purpose of maximizing the city’s resources in the delivery of basic services to our people, as well as to ease out corruption.”
Belmonte has been serving Quezon City for 12 years now. She was previously the city’s vice mayor for three consecutive terms before vying for its highest office in 2019. On top of her agenda then were women’s rights, gender equality, enhancing social services particularly for the marginalized and migrating all government transactions online to eliminate face-to-face interaction that can lead to anomalous behavior. Belmonte says this ensures proper and honest
collection of taxes.
She also focused on decentralizing governance through the establishment of satellite action offices in all districts to enable her government to attend to the essential needs of their constituents efficiently, responsively and more conveniently. Belmonte also included the renovation and modernization of Quezon City’s health centers to ensure the digitalization of medical records, that medicine supply is immediately replenished and that each location will have one doctor.
The city’s 11th mayor also imposed zero tolerance for corruption in the city by “ensuring that every peso is well-spent on projects that are meaningful, sustainable, and effective.” This resulted to the local government earning an “unqualified opinion” from the Commission on Audit (COA) for its annual audit report for 2020—a first in Quezon City’s history. It is the highest audit opinion that COA can render to a
government agency, including a local government unit (LGU).
Belmonte considers the audit opinion as a testament to the realization of her vision for good governance that has been internalized by the city’s leaders. “This is the most important recognition
that a local government unit like us can get,” she avers. “This is the validation of our efforts for good governance in Quezon City, and this is also a welcome surprise since we received this in ....