Service for the people. This is the core of being a public servant and being one does not discriminate either as anyone can do it given the right drive.
And this was just proven in the coastal town of Dolores, Eastern Samar, a third-class town in Eastern Samar province and has a population of 44,626. An inspiring story of a market vendor unfolds as he bested a physician in the mayoralty race last May 9 elections.
Meet Rodrigo Rivera (independent), 62 years old, a former barangay chairman, who just finished second year high school won the hearts of 11,508 locals in Dolores against physician Zaldy Carpeso (PDP-Laban) who garnered 10,946 votes.
Rivera was the barangay chairman of Gap-ang, a remote village in Dolores town, for nine years and became a market vendor, selling fish and vegetables at the public market after his term ended in 2010.
What makes his win such a success aside from his background though is his opponent as it was the brother of the mayor before, Mayor Shonny Niño Carpeso. With just that, his chances of winning were already slim, add with that the lack of machinery, budget, and support from current village officials and it was not a good chance indeed.
Rodrigo only had a team of volunteers and supporters which are mostly family members and relatives but he was not disheartened as he found a stronger support, asking for help through prayers.
“I asked for help and thanked God. I thanked Him for granting my prayers. This victory is for the people, to provide the services that the people need, a service from the government available to everyone,”Rivera told the Philippine News Agency (PNA)
He took to Facebook to express gratitude and vowed to give genuine public service and his team is now preparing plans on how to address the problems of the town of Dolores like clogged drainage, dark streets, lack of classrooms, poor access to health services, and poor water system.
Although victorious, Rivera must face the reality that the members of the municipal council are all allies of the defeated candidate.
Rivera is open to work with all the members of the municipal council and calls to set differences to achieve their goal of serving the people, giving them the government that they deserve.
A lesson of poverty not being a hindrance to an elective post, these are exciting times for Dolores town and might be a start of change for the better if Rivera will hold true to his campaign.