Investing in Education
Congressman Greg Gasataya’s vision: every family in Bacolod should have a college graduate.
INTERVIEW BY MARCO NICANOR
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICKY LADIA
Coming from a humble family and bestowed with the opportunity of a proper education by the government, Congressman Greg Gasataya is out on a mission to pay it forward and envisions that every Filipino family should have a college graduate in their midst. He represents the lone district of Bacolod City, which garnered the top spot in Visayas with the highest competitive index among highly urbanized cities, and placed 8th overall in the country, besting even many other cities from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Let’s get to know the honorable congressman up-close in this Q&A:
1 . How did you get into politics?
I am a very simple and ordinary person. I came from a very small family in Bacolod. My father was a driver and my mother was a teacher, but she resigned from teaching and worked full-time at the church. We grew up on a hand-to-mouth way of life. I used to sell bottles, goodies, just to have additional income. We were renting a small place. Basically, galing sa mahirap na pamumuhay. Probably because of the opportunity given to me to study and get a degree, a lot of things happened to my life. Before politics, I worked as a broadcast journalist for eight years at a radio station in Bacolod. I used to handle the primetime programs.
Come to think of it, we are not a family of politicians. It never entered even my wildest dreams that I would join politics.
In 2001, I was given the opportunity to run as councilor. Out of 69, I landed number 10. I handled the committee on transportation as a tribute to the profession of my dad. In 2004 and 2007, I was already the number one councilor and I handled the committee on education.
I took a break from politics in 2010, but I worked as director of Bacolod City Water District. In 2013, the Party asked me to run for Vice Mayor. I was very hesitant because I was away from politics for a couple of years, but by God’s grace, I was given another opportunity to serve. In 2015, the mayor was suspended, so I was the acting mayor for three months. And in the last elections, I ran and got elected as the congressman in the lone district of Bacolod.
2. What is your leadership style? Why do you think you are effective as a leader?
Nakikinig ako (I listen). Every person that we meet has a story to tell, has opinions, and has inputs, so I like to listen and know what they have to say. I don’t like it to be too formal. You can just approach me
anytime and anywhere. That is my style of leadership, probably because of my experiences from the grassroots; I prefer that people can easily talk to me. My advocacies and my policies come from these conversations.