The 264 newly elected barangay officials were sworn into office by Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes on Saturday, November 30, in a ceremony at the Valenzuela City Astrodome.
In his keynote address, Justice Reyes extolled Dr. Pio Valenzuela, the local patriot whom the city was named after, and urged the 33 Punong Barangays and 231 Barangay Kagawads to take Valenzuela as model of leadership.
Justice Reyes noted that Andres Bonifacio, whose 150th birth anniversary was also celebrated on Saturday, had offered to campaign for Dr. Pio Valenzuela to be the president of the Katipunan. Dr. Valenzuela, however, refused, believing that it would be for the best of the organization to let Bonifacio remain president.
Such humility should inspire barangay officials, Justice Reyes said.
“While the positions you are about to occupy are positions of honor and prestige, be reminded again that they are first and foremost positions of responsibility,” said Justice Reyes. “You, as leaders, are called not to lord it over your small communities; rather, you are called to serve the people. You will perform your duties with the laws as your guiding light, and service as your reason in office.”
“In your oath of office, you promise to serve the people with utmost fidelity. You will declare your allegiance to the laws of your mother country. However, all your utterances are empty if you fail to put them in action,” said Justice Reyes, who, as a Court of Appeals Associate Justice in 2011, was recognized by the SC for having a ‘’zero backlog”, or no pending cases in his office.
Meanwhile, City Mayor REX Gatchalian assured barangay officials of support from the city government for their entire term.
“For the re-elected, the next three years is the perfect opportunity to attend to unfinished businesses, to show your constituents that you will finish whatever project or program was left unfinished from your last term,” Mayor REX said.
The newcomers, on the other hand, can expect of a productive first time in office as the city government commits to guide them, Mayor REX added.
Voter turnout for this year’s barangay election is around seven for every ten registered voters, 199,328 out of the 287,662 registered voters, or 69.30 per cent.
This is slightly higher than the 199,594 out of 247,969, or 68.39 per cent, from the previous barangay election in 2010.
More than half of the 2013 turnout –106,296 or 53 per cent − came from the 24 barangays in District 1.Voters from the nine barangays in District 2 accounted for the 47 per cent, or 93,632.
Barangay Pulo in District 1 had the highest number of actual voters at 86 percent, 763 out of 888 registered voters.
The Valenzuela City Police Station has also reported that the barangay election period, which officially runs from September 28 to November 12, was peaceful, with only one election-related violence recorded.