I started my political career in 1985 as Kabataang Barangay Municipal Federation President and Ex-Officio Member of the Municipal Council of Guimbal.  I then became a Board Member of the Province of Iloilo in 1992, Mayor of Guimbal in 1998, Board Member again in 2007, Vice Governor in 2010 and Congressman in 2013.  Then after 30 plus years of virtually uninterrupted public service, I have become a private citizen, a plain taxpayer.  Well, that’s from the viewpoint of conventional wisdom.

But I have never been conventional.  I’m someone who likes to think out of the box. I have always adhered to the saying, “Every private individual has his own public responsibility.” So for me, public service remains uninterrupted.  And for each one of us, officers and members alike, we all have individual and collective responsibilities to society.

We are civil engineers.  We create, we build.  We are endowed with more than sufficient technical skills to build structures that should stand the forces of nature and the test of time.  Our projects and accomplishments are silent but monumental testaments to man’s desire to create something better, something stronger, something permanent. 

But looking beyond civil engineering as a profession and placing us under a viewing glass, we realize that as we become an essential part of societal progress, the more we are required to improve ourselves and our organization. That is called “staying relevant.” That is the call to our collective public responsibility.  How to stay relevant then?

During my incumbency as Chapter President, I’d like to focus on the following:

First, membership and organization.  I don’t have the exact figures as of the moment but it appears that we have more inactive members than active ones.  Thus I propose to call on our so called “part-time members” to become full-time ones.  Also, PICE – Iloilo Chapter is not a registered non-stock, non-profit organization in the Securities and Exchange Commission.  We should then work on our SEC registration for us to have more fiscal and organizational autonomy.

Another thing, our chapter does not have an office.  We must have one.  We shall one.

Second, professional development of individual members of the Chapter.  The national leadership of PICE is committed to enhance each and every member’s knowledge and skills through its CPD, GAD and Career Progression and Specialization Programs.  I would like to see these programs brought here in Iloilo to make them more accessible to our chapter members and also to those of nearby chapters.  These should see fruition in the foreseeable future.  I cannot over-emphasize the importance and the value of professional development of our individual members.  You see, it is to the advantage of PICE – Iloilo to have professionally developed members.  The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.

Third, and most important, our collective public responsibility.  As professionals, we are undeniably more blessed than others.  But with such blessings comes the unspoken but nonetheless compelling obligation to give back to society.  I therefore enjoin my fellow officers to sit down with me to formulate plans and programs to make our communities feel PICE Iloilo Chapter is a living organization.  And make ourselves relevant.

This is a call to action.  There is no backseat for this.  Time is not our ally.  It’s running against us.  Why such urgency, you may ask.  Well, let me close this speech with this saying, “We all pass into this world but once.  Whatever therefore we can share, whatever we can do, let us do it now for we shall not pass this way again.”