Treñas may be ready to become president

By Alex P. Vidal

“A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.” —Mollie Mart

THE true test of a good leader is shown by how he handles a big crisis, how he leads his people, how he absorbs their pain, how he finds a solution to shield them from imminent danger, and how far can he go to lift them from despondency.

In the ongoing struggle of the Ilonggos in Iloilo City against SARS-CoV-2 or novel COVID-19, Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has, so far, proven his leadership.

From day one until it became apparent that the coronavirus problem would blossom into a grotesque bedlam, Treñas was in the front seat steering the wheel and marshaling the city hall’s forces and might to ensure that the residents of Iloilo City wouldn’t be neglected and forsaken.

And when he felt that the national government, in spite of the much-ballyhooed P275 billion emergency funds in the 2020 General Appropriations Act to be used to deal with the calamity, appeared to be dilly-dallying its assistance to the Ilonggos, he lit the candle instead of cursing the darkness.

Treñas appears to be more effective, credible, reliable and trusted compared to the national leadership in many aspects.

If he were the one handling the crisis on a national level, things would probably be different.

There would be less politicking, less muckraking, less red tape, and people wouldn’t be complaining of discrimination in the distribution of goods and screaming unprintable at the national government.

With his impressive performance in handling the difficult situation,  Treñas can be ready to become our next president.




Let’s review what he has done.

Most recently, the city mayor tapped three pandesal companies, the Uygongco Flour Mill, Carlos Uy Corporation, and Angelina Bakeshop, to produce the popular bread so no one would go hungry while the city is under an enhanced community quarantine.

He hailed the three home-grown companies for their “sense of bayanihan.”

The city promised to deliver around 43,000 pieces of “Ilonggo pandesal” to the residents of Iloilo City daily.

Treñas had earlier imposed a preventive enhanced community quarantine, established a community kitchens around the city to feed the constituents of each barangay, and made a plea for mass testing in Iloilo now being backed with financial support from rich local traders.

Without waiting for help from the national government, Treñas established Iloilo City College as a temporary dorm for health care workers and other health workers helping curb the spread of COVID-19. He made that shuttle services were made available to the Ilonggo frontliners to transport them to their work places.

Treñas also earned praises from various sectors when he helped amend the existing “anti-discrimination ordinance” to include a provision that forbids businesses from ostracizing individuals due to their jobs with the help of the city council led by Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.




On March 20, Treñas imposed an enhanced community quarantine in Iloilo City through Executive Order 55-2020 as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus that has killed more than a million people around the world.

While there were chaos and confusion in other provinces and cities around the country, Treñas made these other accomplishments:

—collaboration with Iloilo Gov. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. in calling on Cebu Pacific Airlines to suspend its direct flights from the Iloilo International Airport to Hong Kong, and vice versa, when the pandemic was killing more people in Wuhan and fast spreading China.

—tapping the scientists and medical professionals from the University of the Philippines Visayas alumni community to establish a local test center at the West Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district accredited by the Department of Health (DoH) which

Allotted 5,000 test kits together with The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

—receiving P15 million worth of donations in kind, from sacks of rice to canned goods and other food packs, all of which have been funneled to the city’s community kitchens and barangays for distribution.

He may be doing more to help the Ilonggos even if the national government has extended the lockdown until April 30.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)