The Lesson of the Firewood
Mayor Dan Neri Lim
Sisterhood Agreement Signing
July 18, 2009
It seems like we are seeing the last days of brotherly and sisterly concern. There is increasing isolation within members of the family. It is each man to himself, survival of the fittest, a dog-eat-dog world.
If this morning’s event is any indication however, there is still hope for at least the cities of Makati and Tagbilaran. Today we celebrate the official bonding of these two great Philippine cities in a commitment of mutual concern for each other.
Makati has no need for Tagbilaran, or any of the three Bohol towns it has signed a sisterhood agreement with. By all indications, Makati is a city in itself, rising above the skyline of a country reeling from underdevelopment and even poverty.
That Makati has chosen to get out of its comfort zone to forge sisterhood agreements such as the one we are officially signing today speaks volumes about its commitment to national development. Makati is showing that it deserves all the progress that is has attained by its sincere desire to look after small cities like Tagbilaran and even smaller towns in different parts of the archipelago.
Much of Makati’s progress and concern is of course due to a man whose humility belies the strides that his city has achieved under his watch. While it is known as the country’s financial district, Makati under Mayor Jojo Binay has distinguished itself because of its pro-people program that spans its boundaries.
Mayor Binay saw to it that the poor in his city are attended to, the sick afforded treatment, the elderly taken care of. Little wonder that the good mayor endeared himself to the people. After serving his three consecutive terms after the Edsa revolution, he was given three more terms in 2001.
Just as I consider Mayor Binay as a mentor, Tagbilaran also considers Makati as a big brother. On a smaller scale, Tagbilaran is giving the same quality service to its constituents – full support for public school education, free hospitalization, free maintenance and other medicines, concern for the senior citizens.
Just as Makati shines head and shoulders above its peers among the highly urbanized cities in the Philippines, Tagbilaran is making its mark in its category for small cities. Proof of this is that in the last four years, Tagbilaran has been adjudged no. 1 in quality of life twice in its category.
Just as it is an honor for Tagbilaran to be elevated as a Sister City of Makati, even more so it is an honor for me to affix my signature beside a man who is destined for higher calling in our country.
Makati is fortunate to have Mayor Binay at the helm for virtually its entire post-Edsa existence. To a lesser degree, Tagbilaran is fortunate for the special concern that Mayor Binay is giving it. Hopefully, we will remain special in his heart even when he will already have the entire country for his constituency.
This morning, Makati and Tagbilaran will formalize their common desire to promote and foster strong ties, mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill. In line with this, our two cities declare the same intention to create an atmosphere in which economic and community development can be implemented and strengthened.
As a result of what we forge today, we can look forward to exchanges in the fields of science and technology, culture and arts, tourism, planning and urban development, commerce, trade and industry, education and sports, environmental protection, public health and social service among others.
Most of us understand that for the firewood to burn itself out, it must be lumped with other firewood closest to the fire. When it is separated from the others, the fire dies before its turn, failing to accomplish what it is supposed to do.
In this time of crisis, we need to be bound together to be able to keep the fire of public service burning until we are done. As we sign this sisterhood pact, we keep in mind the lessons of the firewood.