Election in the Philippines (local and national) has always been both chaotic and colorful. Chaotic, because it’s impossible for voters not to hear or witness political mudslinging from left to right; and colorful, because politicians always make sure their rallies and events are festive and fun (part of their strategy to encourage people to stick with them).
Among the many people who ran during this year’s election are two of Cagayan de Oro’s seasoned politicians—Oscar Moreno and Rufus Rodriguez. Both politicians ran for the position of CDO’s mayor, and although it was Moreno who emerged as the winner, we have to admit that both of them have contributed a lot to the city’s progress. For the last three years, Oscar Moreno has been serving as the city’s mayor, while Rufus Rodriguez has been the city’s 2nd district representative to the House of Congress.
Oscar “Oca” Moreno
Oscar Moreno first became the city’s mayor in 2013 after defeating Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano, who held the position from 1998 to 2007 and again from 2010 to 2013. Prior to becoming the city’s mayor, Moreno already had a long list of experience as a politician. He was the congressman of the first district of Misamis Oriental from 1998 to 2004; during his time as a member of the House of Representatives, he was named as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Congressmen by several organizations, including the Asosasyon Ng Kumentarista at Anaunser ng Pilipinas and Free Press Magazine.
In 2004, Moreno was elected as the governor of Misamis Oriental; he was then re-elected twice (in 2007 and in 2010). During his administration, Moreno focused on these programs: poverty alleviation, agricultural productivity, education, revenue generation, and environment, among others. Under the leadership of Moreno, Misamis Oriental was given the Galing Pook Award twice for the province’s strategic innovations in its public hospital systems and for successfully renovating Lantad—a no-man’s land in Balingasag. Apart from that, the local government of Misamis Oriental has also received a number of accolades.
After winning the 2013 election as CDO’s mayor, in a span of three years, Moreno was able to accomplish a lot of things for the city’s development, including the construction of hundreds of high school and elementary classrooms, the revival of the J.R. Borja Memorial City Hospital, and the extension of free medical services, especially to less fortunate Kagay-anons. Because of Moreno’s transparent leadership, the city also attracted plenty of investors and businessmen, speeding up CDO’s economic growth. One of his most visible contributions, perhaps, was the transformation of Divisoria from one of the city’s dirtiest, most congested, and crime-infested areas into a traffic-free, orderly, and safe commercial district.
Rufus Rodriguez first held the position as the city’s 2nd district representative in 2007. But prior to that, he has also served in government for several years. Rodriguez was even chosen by President Joseph Estrada as the head of the Bureau of Immigration from 1998 to 2001. While still studying at the University of the Philippines College of Law, Rodriguez was elected as board member of Misamis Oriental. In 1984, he was chosen as the province’s vice governor.
An achiever since he was young, he graduated valedictorian in grade school and high school at Xavier University. During his college days in De La Salle University, he took up AB-Economics and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Right after his graduation, he pursued law at UP’s College of Law and passed the bar examination in 1981. During his post-college studies, Rodriguez graduated from Columbia School of Law in 1995 for his Master of Laws with Harlan Fiske Stone Honors, which is equivalent to our Magna Cum Laude status.
During his term as the city’s 2nd district representative, Rufus Rodriguez is recognized as one of the congressmen with the most numbers of bills and resolutions filed. In the 15th and 16th Congress, he ranked first in the number of bills and resolutions filed as well as in the number of bills that became law. Rodriguez has also co-authored several bills and resolutions.
During Rodriguez’s tenure as a representative of Cagayan de Oro in the Congress, he did not only promote progress in the city, but also made sure that the life of every Filipino in the country improved.
Despite the outcome of the election in Cagayan de Oro, we have to admit that these two achievers have helped improve lives and the general situation of the city and the province. Here’s hoping for more politicians who are honest and transparent like Oca Moreno and Rufus Rodriguez!