Mayor Oscar “Oca” Samson Rodriguez proved himself to be a capable crisis manager who shepherded the City of San Fernando from the onslaught of Mt. Pinatubo’s major eruption and throughout its transformation into a world class, business friendly city that became the envy of other cities in the country and the world.
Encapsulated in a less than two-minute video, no less than renowned economist Dr. Jesus “Jess” Estanislao, former Finance Secretary of the late President Corazon C. Aquino, and Chair of the Institute of Corporate Directors endorsed the candidacy of Mayor Oca: “I had the privilege to meet Mayor Oca and I found him a ‘Man of Great Dreams and Ambitions’ for your city. But he also got things done, he therefore put the city on the map not only in the Philippines but all throughout the world. He made sure the poverty levels in the city be dramatically cut, he cleared up the riverbanks, and as a result the city was listed as around the eight (8) dream cities of the Philippines, and actually became the second Philippine city after Iloilo to earn the Global Hall of Fame from Harvard University’s Collaborative Palladium Balanced Scorecard. When I learned that Oca was going to run for Mayor again I wanted to publicly endorse him to the citizens of the City of San Fernando. You cannot go wrong with Mayor Oca. You will only do right for your own benefit and for your own good governance and development if you vote for Mayor Oca Rodriguez.”
POVERTY ALLEVIATION AND INCLUSIVENESS
During the Central Luzon Candidates Forum aired via GNN Pampanga TV 44 on March 30, 2022, Mayor Oca articulated in his opening statement: “Ako’y nagtrabaho at nagsilbi bilang City Mayor ng siyam (9) na taon, at sa loob ng 9 na taon from 19% ang middle class, naiangat natin ang quality of life ng mga Fernandinos ng binigyan natin ng karampatang survey after 5 years ang ating pamamahala at lumitaw sa survey na ginanap na kung saan ang University of the Assumption ang nag survey upon our request at nagreport si Bishop Mallari sa isang Monday invocation sa San Fernando, na-ireport na 59.2% na ang middle class. Ang ibig sabihin naiangat natin ang napakalaking antas ng pamumuhay ng mga Fernandino, naging bantog ang San Fernando sa tinatawag na transparent, good, and effective governance na kung saan namin binigyan ng puwang ang pribadong sektor na sumama sa pamamahala na tinatawag nating horizontal governance international world nung ako’y yayain na ako’y mag-share at magsalita sa City of Geneva, Switzerland.”
HOPE, LOVE, FAITH
It is worthy to mention that Mayor Oca threw his support behind presidential aspirant Leni Robredo— women’s rights champion and the only female aspirant in the heated 2022 presidential race. He praised Robredo for showing how leaders can perform their duties with ‘integrity, efficiency, and compassion’. Mayor Oca’s bid is aligned with the Leni-Kiko campaign which thrives on people’s initiative and volunteerism. It’s anchored on the hope they can reform the government and bring a better future for all Filipinos. I was rarely invited in Mayor Oca’s core group meetings, however I had an opportunity to attend once and I remember vividly Mayor Oca’s opening remarks which tackled about hope, love and faith in public service. He said: “The 2022 national and local elections are very critical. Minsan pa tayong magkamali sa ating ibobotong Presidente at Bise Presidente babagsak na ng tuluyan ang ating Inang-Bayan. Kaya kahit wala kaming pera tulad ng aming mga kalaban kami’y nagsakripisyo dahil mahal namin ang sambayanang Pilipino at kami’y umaasa’t nananalig na mananaig pa rin ang kabutihan laban sa kasamaan.”
OCA THE INCORRUPTIBLE
“I will not emphasize yung wala ang kalaban ko, ang sasabihin ko nalang kung anong meron ako. I’m serious in governing, I’m serious in servicing the people, I think I’m incorruptible, I think I’m very competent and qualified and I know where I will focus my attention as city mayor. I know my priorities and I’m sensitive to the needs of the Fernandinos.”
“Sa edukasyon, yun ang pinakamalaking tagumpay na aming nakamit sa ating pamamahala. Nung kami’y dumating dyan nadiskubre namin sa 100 na mga bata na dapat nasa public schools 20 kaagad ang hindi nakapag enroll ng grade 1, halos 40 lang ang mga nag-graduate ng grade 6, halos 20 lang nag-graduate ng high school at sa college tatlo lang ang pinakamaraming nagkaroon ng kurso na nag-graduate sa college. Sinubukan naming iaddress yan very seriously at alam yan ni vice mayor Jimmy Lazatin na nakasama natin diyan at naging success story natin yan sa San Fernando.”
“Siguro po hindi ko na kailangan kumbinsihin ang business sector. Alam naman ninyo two times tayong Hall of Fame Awardee as the Most Business-Friendly City sa buong Pilipinas tinalo natin ang mga highly urbanized cities sa pagdating dyan. Ibig sabihin pag most business friendly city tayo ang number one na nagrerekomenda for that award ay mga businessmen, nanggagaling ang initiative sa mga businessmen na ikaw ang irerekomenda na lumaban sa national competition as the most business friendly city at alam ng mga businessmen dito ng ako’y nangobyerno as city mayor wala ni isa man ang makapagturo na tayo ay nangotong o humingi ng lagay, kinalaban natin ang mga nangongotong at inalis natin ang korapsyon.”
“Alam nyo po na-solve ko na ang flooding dyan sa San Fernando nung ako’y Mayor. Gumawa tayo ng mga maraming paraan o ways to do it. Nilapad ko ang San Fernando river, nilalim ko, nag-create tayo ng mga additional waterways, nilapad natin ng husto ang Mapalad Creek, nag put up tayo ng other waterways between San Felipe and Unisite, nilaliman natin yung dapat laliman . Kailangan dapat laging na de-dredge yung waterways. Kailangang bawalan yung mga nag-eencroach, inalis natin ang isang malaking straktura na dapat mademolish na nagkaroon ng land title at sinabi ko sa mga anak ng may-ari na “impresciptible” ang karapatan ng San Fernando dyan sa river na yan. Pag hindi nyo inalis ng kusa aalisin namin ng sapilitan, so inalis. Ngayon medyo halos wala ng baha because of what I did when I was the Mayor and I will continue doing it.”
“Masyado na talagang marami ang mga vehicles, tapos kung hindi tama ang pagseserbisyo ng ating mga traffic enforcers, at kung may kinikilingan at may pinagtatakpan additional ‘yon kaya dapat nakatutok. Ang aking solusyon dyan dapat dagdagan ang mga alternate routes at dapat iprepare ng husto, dapat forward-looking. Nagiging highly urbanized city tayo, mabilis ang ating progreso dito sa Central Luzon particularly the Subic-Clark periphery because of the speed train, at asahang dadagsa dyan ang maraming investors at maraming tao.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Oca lead the survey with 25.34 percent amid his late filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on November 15, 2021; (2) ABC president and Dolores Barangay Chairman Vilma Caluag with 19.79 percent; (3) Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin with 18.63 percent; (4) Pampanga Third District Board Member Rosve Henson with 15.41 percent; (5) Sandy Quiwa with 3.84 percent and undecided with a significant response rate of 16.95 percent. The Respondents’ Common Preferences / Comments for Mayor Oca is name recall, world class city mayor, father of San Fernando cityhood, scholarship programs, local and international awardee based on good governance, encourages multi-sectoral / people’s participation in governance, COVID response, free legal assistance, livelihood/employment programs, solid waste segregation and management, disaster mitigation and management, traffic management, infrastructural development, from womb to tomb programs, human rights advocate, integrity, visibility, principled, and a staunch supporter of VP Robredo’s presidential bid. The results were based on the February 3 to 8 survey, with 19,068 respondents, conducted by independent pollster Solidarity Against Fraudulent Elections (SAFE) 2022 – Philippines held in the province’s capital with 190,056 total registered voters. Mayor Oca also topped the Voice Newsweekly Online Survey held on January 29 to February 5, 2022 with 59.93 percent followed by Henson with 38.55 percent, Lazatin 0.73 percent, Quiwa 0.45 percent and Caluag with 0.34 percent.