A name that needed no drama to standout

Showbiz dramas can lend a big boost in building one’s name. But someone from Albay has proven that pure hard work is still the better formula to win the heart of Juan.

Digging into the political career of Albay congressman Joey Salceda, it is easy to conclude that he has a stronger foundation than other seemingly effective leaders like extremely popular Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto—the three are equally prominent nowadays but records will not lie on who has accomplished more.

In fact, Salceda’ tricks do not involve a series of Facebook Live sessions or a list of affiliated celebrities. Even before the advent of social media in the Philippines, Salceda has been known the expert when it comes to responding to natural disasters.

When he arrived for a dinner interview with Filipino Bloggers Network (FBN), he was wearing two things- a nice polo shirt and an obviously tensed confidence, rocked by the fact that that the blogger press might not be as nice as journalists from the traditional media.

Meeting the blogger press is one big risk to any public name. For Salceda, his works and sincerity are his weapons.

Salceda inside and beyond the corners of the Congress 

Salceda was chief of staff of former senator Raul Rocco before he moved on to make a name for himself. And after working tirelessly for decades, his biggest reward would be a record of winning seven elections with no opponent.

As a Congressman whose task is to propose laws, Salceda clearly knew what he wants for the country. He wants to make loans to farmers cheaper and more accessible, to lower the price of medicine for all, to boost performance of children with free school meals, to reform the K to 12 program to make graduate more employable, to provide free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training to public school teachers while limiting their administrative functions to eight hours per week, and many more.

He is known to be a champion of climate change. But Salceda has other ideas to sell, and that is the reason why he agreed to connect with the blogger press.

Addressing an idea of running for a higher position, he made it clear that he is not interested at all. Well, President Rodrigo Duterte once said he is not running for the position he is glued to now. 

Salceda holding no script, doing a free-flowing talk, and answering any questions made it convincing that he was there for no political agenda-- and if he was up for a higher position, he has every reason to be supported.

Where is he heading next? He considers expanding his public service to an international scale.

Salceda said he wanted to learn from other countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. Maybe, he also wanted to share how his province recorded minimal casualties during disasters in the past two decades.

One bold move of this “Green Economist Governor” was fathering a bill that creates the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). 

He knew the country needs a more specialized department to manage the effects of earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, landslides and other disasters that the country faces on a regular basis. The Congress has already approved the bill, right after a series of earthquakes hit Mindanao. 

While he is yet to be judged by history for all his accomplishments, it is for sure he is leaving the corners of the Congress- when that times comes- with a name significant to the next generation.

Going for an eye for facts amidst national issues

A non-typical politician, Salceda converses well with people and attempts to simplify complicated concepts that are being discussed in the Congress. More than his people skills, he knew his facts well.

Asked if there were laws made to regulate the influx of Chinese workers in the country for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO), Salceda was quick to answer, “wala”.

He said that the same immigration and alien employment policies still apply. Salceda then gave statistical figures about Filipinos going abroad, including China, also for a job.

On his stand with the ABS-CBN franchise, he also hit it: “I signed it”.

Salceda is one of the 11 congressmen who submitted a bill for the network’s franchise renewal. He said he reviewed the issues in line with the accused violations of the network and made his own verdict.

Is he reliable to declare that the network’s Philippine Depository Receipt (PDR) is not equivalent to ownership? His background as director in UBS Warburg (a division of Swiss Bank) and Barings Securities Phils (now ING Group) has the answer to that.

In one remarkable portion of the interview, Salceda weighed on the need for a "Department of Water".

A supporter of President  Duterte’s thoughts on the country's water supply management, Salceda believes something needs to be done with the current set up of water generation and distribution, and price regulation.

While listening to him lay out his cards, it is funny to realize that there are other elected officials who are only wasting the taxpayer's money. This Albay pride, he can do more than proposing and defending bills.

A contemporary political brand

Wit was Salceda’s other tool in attending to every question, so no hardcore political issue would sound heavy, problematic and complex to anyone involved in the conversation. 

It was the same tool that he used way back in 2015 when he became frustrated with actor, Xian Lim, who refused to wear a shirt with prints promoting Albay.

While he accepted Lim’s apology, he dared the actor to complete an “Albay Challenge” which consists of 12 to-do activities around the province. With his wit, the hullabaloo transformed into a promotional campaign for the province.

If that same controversy happened today, Salceda would still have used the same “wit” approach. He would go to his Facebook page to express his thoughts alongside his “KBL” (Kasal, Binyag, Libig) updates, and spend a lot of time reading comments whether these are positive or hurtful.

During the dinner interview, Salceda admitted he always finds himself reading all kinds of comment on Facebook. However, this will not stop him from using the social media platform. 

It is on Facebook, through group chats, that he directly interacts with his folks in Albay down to the barangay level- a brand of leadership that has been consistent in him ever since he started his career -- which is outside politics.

After graduating from Ateneo De Manila University, Salceda worked in a bank. Outside his day job role, he organized labor groups that were a key in shutting down companies due to unfair practices.

He continued his education at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) that totally made him a ripe fruit that everyone in the banking and financial industry would kill to have. This is the chapter in his life that could be remembered as the time when he was earning more.

After his elective position in the Congress ends in 2022, Salceda repeated he has no plans of getting a seat in the Senate or even Presidency.

He plans to advance his career by making a footprint in the global scene with his ideas, another exciting endeavor that he will for sure conquer without the aid of a showbiz drama or any non-sense theatrics.

What are these ideas that he is selling? A session with him and groups supporting these ideas is scheduled in March this year. Watch out for new updates!
AUTHOR: Christian Aligo is a Marketing Communications practitioner, currently working in a real estate company in Ortigas Central Business Disrict. Aside from writing, conceptualizing and collaborating to share a message to target audiences, he blogs on Christian Lizardo Aligo and Capturing Footprints where he totally becomes his crazy self.  For feedback and requests, shoot an email to kantoave@gmail.com.

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