MAGANES: Urdaneta City Mayor Bobom Perez- the consummate environmentalist

If there is one leader in Pangasinan who is worthy of emulation by other local chief executives, he’s no other than Mayor Amadeo Gregorio “Bobom” E. Perez IV. He is not only a hands-on leader who reports to his office early in the morning ahead of the city employees, but also a leader who has high concern for physical fitness and environmental protection and environment.
Mayor Bobom started his physical fitness by encouraging his employees and department heads to go biking. “ Biking is a good form of exercise. It will help eliminate body wastes and strengthen the heart functions,” he once told me when asked why he has initiated that activity among his staff. I supposed his biking activities has made him physically fit such that when you go to his office, you will see a physically active Mayor Bobom who is untiringly attending to the needs of his constituents.
But what made me admire him most was his concern for cleanliness of the city and the deep concern and commitment for the protection and preservation of the environment. His approach is unconventional and not pattern from other mayors in the country. If one will go to Urdaneta City today, one will see a very clean environment- no leaves, no trash and other form of waste around. It was a commitment, Mayor Bobom said, that Urdaneta City must be a model of cleanliness not only in Pangasinan and Region I but in the whole country.
The best transformation Urdaneta City has in its business district is the improvement of sidewalks. My goodness Toto Mortz, it is only this city which has a tiled sidewalks sans vendors. The tiles were ornately placed such that they add to the aesthetic beauty of the city.
In September 2010, Mayor Bobom created his anti-littering task force which soon became “Bantay Pangkalikasan”. It was no mean joke for the said task force to apprehend offenders of anti-littering and spitting. In every corner, one will see a yellow vested employee whose work is to monitor passersby who violate the anti-littering ordinance. That system paid off. Thanks to its head Omar Esteves who diligently implement the ordinance. By now, collected fines rose to P625,000. But that is not the point here. Violators of anti-littering are dwindling. Mar told me that people are already aware of the campaign and only few from other towns and provinces are being apprehended.
Another environmental project of Mayr Bobom was his clean up drive of water tributaries in the city. He does not only command. He participated in the clean up drive making his employees inspired. “Why will I not participate? Even Mayor Perez worked during that clean up activities,” an employee told me. The clean up drive made the water flow in creeks and canals fast such that during typhoons Pedring and Quiel, these water tributaries had not overflowed.
But those environmental concerns of Mayor Bobom have to be intensified. “ Everybody must work to preserve our environment,” he said when asked why he was launching the group of youngsters as deputized implementers of the Bantay Pangkalikasan. He said that it is now the time to make them aware of environmental protection. They will be our next leaders. Years from now, Mayor Bobom said, we are no longer leaders in the city. “There must be new generation to sustain our gains on environmental awareness.”
And so he did. City Junior Bantay Pangkalikaan was organized making the members as role models of environmental protection and preservation. Will other towns follow suit? I hope they will if they want that Mayor Perez award for the city as the “cleanest, greenest and safest city in Region I” will also be theirs someday.
But wait Mayor Bobom, what’s this I heard that a private lot owner beside the engineered sanitary land fill in Catablan has converted his land as a dumping site of garbage from other town/city? Will this not destroy your environment protection advocacies? Please look into that. My kudos to you.

Virgilio Sar Maganes