IN ALL her public incarnations, successively as mayor, board member, and governor, as much as in her private persona, motherhood has become the common definition of Lilia Garcia Pineda.
The full meaning of the word finding perfect expression in her singular efforts to promote the health and well-being of her people. The endearing sobriquet “Nanay Baby” as much a manifestation of the reciprocal respect and esteem her people hold her in, as a testament to the nurturing care she unceasingly provides them.
So went the introduction of a feature on the governor as this paper’s Woman of the Year in our maiden issue for 2011, a capping recognition to her ascendancy to the Pampanga governorship in 2010, hailed as the “Year of the Mother.”
Even as homemaker is another word for mother, yet another synonym – rather uncharacteristic of womanhood, from a male chauvinistic perspective – has been appropriated for our Nanay – builder.
Governor Pineda upon assuming her seat has embarked on what can only be deemed as a building frenzy unseen in all the previous occupants of the Capitol – from the “usual” roads, bridges, pavements, irrigation canals and embankments, to the school buildings she upgraded with their own electric fans and toilets.
Why, in the first 10 months of this year alone, the provincial government has already spent some P200 million in infra development. And then the provincial hospital and the 10 district hospitals receiving complete makeovers – repair and rehabilitation of dilapidated buildings, construction of new ones – not to mention the provision of new facilities and equipment, from X-rays to dialysis machines.
It was magic that Governor Pineda wielded with the transformation of the old, dank and dingy provincial jail into a hotel-like edifice that reportedly caught the imagination of no less than Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The old structure has been restored to new glory and planned to be a museum of justice and penology. Behind it is a spanking new facility with ample areas for dormitories, recreation and assemblies, even livelihood trainings.
Impressive as the infrastructural accomplishments of Governor Pineda maybe, they are well within her territory: literally, in Pampanga; figuratively within the ambit of her duties and responsibilities.
So Governor Pineda not only pushed but broke through those limits of her mandate when the provincial government took upon itself to construct action centers – concrete buildings, not kiosk-type shelters – for combined Philippine National Police and Philippine Army contingents at major points of ingress-egress in the province.
As conscious of the security needs of her constituency is Governor Pineda concerned with the highest standards of justice in the country. Early last month, CJ Sereno inaugurated the new RTC building at the Capitol grounds which the provincial government funded and constructed at a cost of P43 million.
“Befitting the nobility and integrity of the judiciary,” said the governor of the two-storey building that houses fully-furnished and airconditioned eight courtrooms and 24 offices with 22 restrooms. Just last week, yet another inauguration of a new building at the Capitol grounds was held.
This time it was the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Driver’s Licensing Office that cost the provincial government over P10 million, with the construction undertaken by the Provincial Engineering Office anew. Constructing buildings for line agencies of the national government. Isn’t there some obtrusive encroachment in alien territory by the provincial government there?
Governor Pineda had this to say: “LGUs should not only be at the receiving end of benefits from the national level.
Where they can, they must share resources, even serve as the giving end, for the greater good of the people.”
“This is just an application of the Filipino value of malasakit most manifest in the bayanihan tradition. Or, as some others see it, in the so-called bibingka principle. Action from both the top and bottom to make things work.” An edifice complex, the governor of Pampanga most certainly has. But far from some malignant affliction, hers is a benign, indeed, positively constructive and most beneficent one.