JOY OF SERVICE
“While we should seek leaders who are passionate and inspired, and who have great ideas, it’s also important to find those who more than simply having a vision also have a road map.
BY KRISTEL DACUMOS-LAGORZA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENJIE TOLENTINO
MAKEUP BY FLOE TAPAYAN OF KANEBO
HAIR BY ERRIZA SANTIAGO
With 142 barangays under its wing, Quezon City has become the largest city in terms of land area in Metro Manila (occupying 161 sqm of land), and is the most populated to date, with an estimated three million people residing within its six districts.
More than just a major central business district, Quezon City has grown to become a well-respected historical arts and culture hub—home to the People Power Monument, Mowelfund Institute, and Museo Recoletos, among others. It is also the locus of the country’s most important government operations such as the House of Representatives, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Social Security system (SSS), the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) office, and many more. To date, there are about 125 national government offices and 25 government-owned and controlled corporations with headquarters in Quezon City.
Indeed, Quezon City is an integral player and major force when it comes to national economy, because of its size and influence, and keeping this city functioning like a well-oiled machine and servicing its millions of residents and visitors requires a keen, forward-thinking leader. And for years, it has found one in its current administration led by Mayor Herbert Bautista.
And by his side, working in tandem for three terms, is Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who has proudly proclaimed her intentions of leading Quezon City into the next period of progress as she completes her third and final term as vice mayor.
Of her plan to pursue the mayorship, she reveals: “After serving as vice mayor for all these years, I think it’s a natural progression for me to run for the next highest post. Also, I think being a mayor or a local chief executive provides the perfect position wherein I can enact greater change. They say that if you want change to happen, it’s really in the local level,” reveals the youthful and inspiring leader, who also is the daughter of former Quezon City mayor, Speaker Sonny Belmonte, and the late founding chairman of The Philippine STAR Betty Go Belmonte.
PROVING HER METTLE
Belmonte, with her kind face and bright disposition, may seem at first glance to be soft and timid for her role, but she is made of sterner stuff and has proven her mettle as a worthy leader.
When she had first run in 2010 for the second highest position in the local government, she was met with certain doubt by other politicians, as she was a neophyte in public service. However, Belmonte—unknown to many—had already been training to become a leader since her youth.
Belmonte graduated with a Social Sciences degree from Ateneo de Manila University and spent a year working as a teacher with the Jesuit Volunteer Philippines, leaving behind a lofty lifestyle and a pampered childhood. For her first assignment, she was sent to Bukidnon to serve the underprivileged folk, teaching history, values education, physical education, and music. In the far-flung communities, which had no running water or electricity, she lived with the people, ate with them, laughed with
them, and worked with them. In return, she gained a greater appreciation and understanding of their plight. And from that invaluable experience, a fierce desire was ignited: “I wanted to be an effective agent of change.”