ONE of the most exciting races to watch in the election is the mayoral contest. The chaos, the brickbats and the fiery verbal tussles, including, so to speak, the unabashed washing of dirty linen in public, are there for everyone to see, as they happen closer to home, even right at every voter’s doorstep.
Elections are a central figure of democracy. It is used “to ensure popular support and legitimacy for those who make governmental decisions.” Specifically, the objective of the election is to be able to give the people with the opportunity to choose the candidate who best represents their ideals and aspirations.
Why the excitement about choosing a mayor? What does he do?
The mayor occupies the highest elective position in a town or city. His power cannot be ignored as he is responsible for charting the course of his community, a task that requires him to take on a variety of roles. He heads the executive branch and has jurisdiction over all national government agencies in the town or city. He implements all city and municipal ordinances and applicable provincial and national laws and statues. His major roles include being a supervisor and controller as he ensures that all city or municipal employees have varied work targets over a period of time, and that they perform their targets effectively and efficiently. He also ensures that barangay chairpersons are doing their jobs as prescribed by law.
The mayor is also law and ordinances enforcer. He ensures that law enforcement agencies and personnel of the town/city are preforming their jobs in maintaining law and order, and sustaining a peaceful and safe environment for the local citizenry; sees to it that criminals and other law breakers, including insurgents, are meted penalties and punishment by the appropriate laws and ordinances.
As resource mobilizer and user, the mayor ensures that the town/city is able to access and generate the necessary financial and other resources to implement the municipal development agenda. He must make sure the town/city receives the annual national government allocation or the so-called Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and that the local government is able to impose and collect taxes and secure grants and /or loans from financial sources within and outside the municipality/city. Such resources are to be effectively and efficiently used for the general welfare.
Moreover, he is orchestrator of basic services and facilities delivery. As such, he oversees the preparation and implementation of a municipal/city development plan that addresses the needs and problems of the local citizenry.
It is no wonder that the mayor is often called as the “boss” by his fellow officials, personnel and ward leaders.
Indeed, above much else, the orientation, entire make-up, and various interests backing the mayor and his set of officials determine the direction the community will take. Any candidate, therefore, especially those aspiring to be mayor, must be able to market himself as the best choice to address the concerns of the electorate, earn their trust and ultimately their vote.