JOSE B. PEREZ is a first-timer member of Sangguniang Panlungsod as city councilor.
Before his entry into politics, Perez was editor-in-chief of Bicol Mail, a regional newspaper in Bicolandia. He was also the editor-in-chief of the first daily newspaper in the region, Bikol Daily (now defunct), an ambitious and pioneering venture in local print journalism.
But Joe, as he is fondly called by allies and foes, also wore other hats, especially when he was younger who thirst for more knowledge and wanted to gain more skill and experience. He worked as legislative staff officer at the Senate under the mentorship of then Sen. Raul S. Roco and became the chief of staff of then Congressman James S. Jacob. After the congressional stint, Joe joined the team of then multi-awarded City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo as tourism and press relations officer. He edited at least two books by the charismatic and famous city mayor whose achievements in people empowerment and good governance have been hailed by scholars and fellow local political leaders all over the world.
Finding himself in the good company of excellent mentors and distinguished political leaders, Joe feels it comfortable filling in the shoes of an honest politician-cum-public servant. In fact, when he finally entered politics, he permeated himself with the mantra that says: “The only reason to be in politics is public service.”
Today, he performs his job as both an effective lawmaker and a true representative of his people. As legislator, he has prepared himself to be imbued with a deep sense of responsibility to make laws consistent with what his people and the community need. And as a public servant, he goes down to the community and answers their call for advice and assistance with wise and immediate result.
As a “newbie”, he finds himself fortunate to chair three of the city council’s important committees: the SP committees on consumer protection; city properties, and; investment, trade, industry and economic enterprises.
Only recently, he was in the maelstrom of rationalizing the prices of pork while ensuring their supply amidst the excessive rising of their retail price brought about by the pestering negative impact of the African Swine Fever. The disease virtually wiped out the supply of live hogs in the local market. The councilor also leads and acts fast in the investigation of complaints forwarded by consumers regarding services and products that had been procured from dishonest and profiteering traders.
As chairman of the committee on city properties, City Councilor Perez has been on his toes resolving the problem of certain city properties with lapses in record-keeping control and proper disposition, particularly those pending litigation or lacking documentation, especially with regard to deeds of donation and similar transactions.
As former vice-president for chamber management and eventually as secretary-general of the multi-awarded Metro Naga Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Perez was strongly lobbied by his chamber mates to join the slate of the Naga Team in the last 2018 elections as city councilor. It was not surprising therefore that he took the task of the chairmanship of the committee on investment and trade with so much dedication and commitment. Today, his committee is earnestly deliberating on the salient provisions of the proposed Revised Naga City Investment Code despite the harsh realities of the Covid-19 pandemic that has badly shaken the country’s and the city’s otherwise robust economic environment. Nevertheless, the committee never wanes in its primary task of formulating incentive plans and programs designed to encourage businessmen and big corporations, both from inside the city and across the seas, to establish their industrial and commercial complexes, branches, and subsidiaries in the city.
For a first-termer like Councilor Joe Perez, there is a long and rough road ahead even as he vows to keep his contract with his people with excellent and dynamic results. As legislator, he believes that he has the full responsibility to enact laws and innovate on ideas by giving flesh and bone to the principles of good governance and efficient and responsive public service.