By Maryo Labad
“I think the best lesson na natutunan ko sa lahat siguro ay wag kang mamili ng tao. Kahit sino na nakakasalubong mo ay puedeng bumoto sa iyo. Ang importante ay maipakita mo sa kanila kung ano ang plataporma at kung paano mo matutulungan ang mga kababayan mo para umangat ang kanila kalidad sa pamumuhay. At dapat maramdaman nila na seryoso ka sa iyong mga hangarin.”
After three attempts, former sexy actress-beauty queen-turned indie film producer, Ina Alegre (Jennifer Mindanao Cruz in real life), was finally elected as the new vice mayor of her hometown in Pola, Oriental Mindoro, in last week’s election. It was a triumphant feat for this newbie politician after a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, as she won landslide this time around.
“It was tiring and exhausting, but so happy with the result,” claimed the producer of the award-winning indie film Banal, directed by award-winning news reported Cesar Apolinario. “I stayed there for more than a month, away from my kids and my husband (Col. Gilbert Cruz). It was really a big sacrifice for me but it didn’t matter kasi gusto ko talagang makatulong sa mas nakakarami sa aking mga kababayan,” explained the mother of four.
Ina admitted that you don’t have to be a politician to help others, but she explained that you can touch more lives and be of better help when you have an elected position. “Ang bayan namin is considered third class municipality. As a private individual I can only help that much. Pero kung na-elect ka ng mga tao, you have that opportunity na makatulong ka sa mas nangagailangan na kasama mo ang local government,” she claimed.
“Katulad sa town namin, we have beautiful beaches na hindi pa masayadong nade-develop. So, this time, that will be part of my priority projects, beautification and tourism. I want to push for the agri-tourism development in our town. I want to help improve our “farm to market” road projects kasi ang dami naming mga produckto sa malalayong bayan at nahihirapan ang mga farmers na dalhin sa bayan dahil sa hindi magaganda ang mga daanan namin. Tapos we have a good source of virgin coconut oil kasi one of our biggest agricultural sources is coconut. Mas maganda at mapapalawak mo ang pagimbita mo ng mga investors sa aming lugar dahil we are rich in agricultural products and at the same time pagandahin ang aming coastal areas to attract more tourists,” explained one of this year’s Model Mom Philippines awardees.
Even if she lost twice, Ina admitted that she was almost dissuaded not to run again. But because of the clamor of her town mates, especially the barangay captains, she accepted the challenge, but she decided to run as vice mayor. Fortunately, she made it this time. “I think there’s a reason for everything. Siguro talagang pinaghahanda lang ang sarili ko. After two failed attempt, ang dami kong natutunan sa lahat. Nung una, akala ko tama na yung house-to-house campaign lang. Tapos sa pangalawa puro group meetings lang ang ginawa ko sa mga barangay. But this time, ginawa ko na pareho. Aside from moving around in every barangay, nagkaroon pa kami ng several group meetings, parang miting de avance. Ang importante binibigyan mo ng pansin ang kanilang mga reklamo,” she explained.
A graduate in Mass Communication from the Lyceum of the Philippines Universtity, Ina admitted that her stints in showbiz helped her in a way in winning the post. But of course she has to prove to her soon-to-be constituents that she is more than just a beautiful face. And that she has to prove doubly hard especially that people want change. Not known to many, Pola is the homeland of former vice president and ABS-CBN newsanchor Noli de Castro and Kapamilya contract artist EJ Falcon.