Last Wednesday, February 24, while waiting in the Senate lounge for our 51st Senate session to start, I asked the Senate President if we can be co-authors in a yet-to-be drafted Senate resolution to honor and recognize Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for receiving an award given by the US State Department as one of the world’s 12 anti-corruption champions. The Senate President’s reluctant response was: Sige, pero co-author lang ako. Ikaw ang principal author and sponsor kasi, alam mo na… with a chuckle. I knew exactly what he was trying to say, Mr. President. It is that little, big thing called “sense of propriety,” better understood by Filipinos as “delicadeza.” All of us inside this hall as well as those attending online know that Mayor Vico is the Senate President’s nephew, being his equally famous brother Vic’s offspring.
That being said, the young mayor has consistently refused to put his picture and name on billboards and similar materials on publicly funded projects in the City of Pasig. What easily comes to mind is our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal who once said, and I quote: “No good water comes from a muddy spring. No sweet fruit comes from a bitter seed.” Let me put it in a more simple language, distinguished colleagues: “Like uncle, like nephew.”
I did not know Vico Sotto until he was elected mayor of Pasig City in a stunning fashion by defeating a political opponent widely believed in their locality as impossible to defeat.
Distinguished colleagues, this is my third term in the Senate, having served this chamber for more than 16 years. This is my very first authorship and sponsorship of a resolution honoring either a public or private person, whether dead or living. Simply put, I thought I should not let this opportunity pass not to recognize a rare feat in public service.
Mr. President, it is my honor to present before this august chamber Senate Resolution No. 660, honoring and commending Mayor Victor Ma. Regis Nubla Sotto, popularly known as Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, for being recognized as one of the International Anti-Corruption Champions by the United States’ Department of State for prioritizing anti-corruption initiatives.
Pasigueños are fortunate that they have gotten themselves a leader who embodies wise thoughts, prudent actions, and selfless intention to advance the well-being of his constituents.
Distinguished colleagues, I stand before you to speak of no less than the city’s young and vibrant mayor, whose accomplishments, especially amid this unprecedented health crisis, have set the bar high in public service.
Recognized as one of the most livable cities in the world in 2013, Pasigueños would easily agree that Mayor Vico’s transformational brand of leadership has easily made the city even more livable, laudable, and to netizens, both young and old – loveable.
Prior to his election as City Mayor, Vico Sotto served as the youngest city councilor of Pasig. His stint paved the way to the enactment of a city ordinance concerning freedom of information.
Since he won the mayoral race in 2019, Vico Sotto has been demonstrating his steadfast commitment to stopping corruption by eliminating any kickback or bribery in the awarding of city contracts, establishing a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, and formally involving civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policymaking.
Mayor Vico has become even more an inspiration to most public leaders with his various proactive and out-of-the-box measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pasig City is also among the cities being eyed for the pilot roll-out of vaccines by the Department of Health, being the first local government unit in the country to have an approved vaccination plan.
Earlier, Mayor Sotto joined the roster of the People of the Year 2021 Awardees for spreading hope, taking action and serving others, thus earning the merit as one of the seven The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) honorees of 2020.
It is for these reasons and many more, that we enjoin the Filipino public through this venerable institution in honoring Mayor Vico Sotto for being one of the recipients of the U.S. State Department International Anti-Corruption Champions Award. As described by the U.S. State Department, Mayor Sotto is a “standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office. He has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance.”
I have always emphasized that corruption is the social ill that sucks the lifeblood of our economy and distorts the principle of equal opportunity enshrined in our democratic order.
Nevertheless, we find hope in the likes of Mayor Vico Sotto that the younger generation is represented by a public servant who exemplifies good governance, accountability, and integrity in the conduct of his duties. It goes without saying that he is not only a breath of fresh air in Philippine politics, but truly a bright beacon of our beloved Fatherland.
I therefore move that we adopt Senate Resolution 660 honoring and commending Mayor Vico Sotto not only for the latest award bestowed upon him by the US State Department, but for being an exemplar of integrity and efficiency in public service.
Thank you, Mr. President.