We are in unprecedented times when humanity is faced with a battle against an invisible enemy, COVID-19. The impact of the crisis is widely interlocked as it has greatly affected people’s health, as well as economic and political systems, and has caused adverse social and psychological effects on one’s well-being. Yet despite living in an atmosphere of uncertainty, good governance is key to go beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
A highly-urbanized community, Barangay San Antonio is home of 20,000 Pasigueños living in residential spaces and high-rise condominiums with Ortigas Center Business District at its very heart. Under the leadership of Thomas Raymond Lising, the progressive barangay has truly exemplified its resilience during this time of a pandemic. Chairman Lising’s extensive knowledge of his constituents’ needs and his dedication to serve everyone are his pillars of exemplary leadership. His administration has inspired frontliners and citizens to move towards a common goal of sustaining Barangay San Antonio as a healthy and thriving community. Known for his #servicewithaSMILE, he has initiated programs with the Barangay Council that redound for the benefit of the community at large.
Sustained disinfection operations. The imminent threat of COVID-19 is present in our midst. As a way to attack the invisible enemy, streets and sidewalks of San Antonio Village and Ortigas Center are regularly disinfected and decontaminated by BDRRM personnel.
Marketing made easy. With the goal to facilitate purchase of food supplies, Chairman Lising has launched BSA Rolling Store that roams around different areas of the barangay thrice a week. Moreover, his team has partnered with other mobile markets – Chooks To Go, Bonchon, The Community Market, Food Czar, and San Miguel Corporation – to provide more food options for constituents. Community Fresh Market has also been setup in the Barangay Hall to cater to needs of village residents. Constituents have greatly benefited from these initiatives that brought the market right at their doorstep. The partnerships are forged thanks to Chairman Lising’s understanding of the crisis’ impact on businesses.
Innovative technologies and information dissemination. In response to the National Government’s community quarantine, Chairman Lising has leveled up the facilities of the barangay’s 24-Hour Command Center. Through a collaboration with Project Greengrass, CCTV cameras in Barangay San Antonio are equipped with artificial intelligence to monitor movement of people and vehicles to ensure compliance with physical distancing and curfew. This one-of-a-kind technology has caught the attention and praise of the media. Furthermore, Chairman Lising has also paved the way for Barangay San Antonio to be fully informed during this time of a pandemic. Through his weekly Kapitan’s Report uploaded in Barangay San Antonio’s social media channels, he continues to capitalize on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to increase awareness about COVID-19 and how it is being addressed in the community. Convinced that technology is an effective tool in combating challenges of today’s society, he has always been open to innovative ways to keep the barangay abreast with the fast-paced age of digitalization.
Love for the needy. Given the diverse profile of community members in Barangay San Antonio, Chairman Lising has struck the balance in providing for their needs. The barangay’s relief program has augmented the efforts of Pasig City Government by distributing food packs to poorest of the poor families, Senior Citizens, and PWDs; and providing rice subsidy and healthcare essentials to residents. With great concern for those who form part of the vulnerable group, Senior Citizens of Barangay San Antonio have also received supply of Vitamin C and Ensure Gold.
Employee welfare. As he steers the helm of Barangay San Antonio in these trying times, Chairman Lising has fully acknowledged the dedication and malasakit of frontliners and employees. With the support of the Barangay Council, salaries of the workforce have been distributed in advance while hazard pay has also been given to frontliners. There is no stopping to his generosity as employees also receive their midyear bonus. As a leader with great sense of social responsibility, Chairman Lising’s financial support to his fellow public servants is a way to alleviate the distressing economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis. He has also put premium on their health and safety as Barangay San Antonio shoulders rapid testing of frontliners and employees.
As an advocate of good governance and promoter of transparency and accountability, Thomas Raymond Lising has set the standards for a new breed of Filipino politician. His inclusive leadership actively seeks for opportunities to move forward during these trying times. His good deeds – though local in context – have produced great ripples that contribute to nation building.
The COVID-19 crisis either brings out the worst or the best in us. Yet Barangay San Antonio has proved its resiliency under the leadership of a Barangay Chairman who believes that the government is the people, by the people, and for the people.
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