Richard Gomez: Is He Worth The Vote?

Richard Gomez, the Mayor of Ormoc City, Leyte, given his message during the Miss Ormoc 2018. Photo by City Government of Ormoc/Facebook
Richard Gomez, the Mayor of Ormoc City, Leyte, given his message during the Miss Ormoc 2018. Photo by City Government of Ormoc/Facebook

Richard Gomez decided to lay low from the glitz and glamor of the Philippine entertainment industry when he assumed office as the new mayor of Ormoc City on June 30, 2016. It cannot be denied that the 52-year-old Kapamilya star is among the top leading actors in the country, but his desire to bring change to #theCityOfBeautifulPeople brought him to a new path: being a public servant.

In less than three years, Mayor Gomez has made promising achievements being the father of the city, proving how dedicated he is on his new job. During his first few months in the office, the loving husband of Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez focused on improving the peace and order situation in Ormoc City to attract investors. With his commitment and hard work, along with his ever-supportive Vice Mayor Toto Locsin Jr., and the vigorous city councilors, he was able to achieve his first goal.

As a matter of fact, in May 2018, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Research and Analysis Center proclaimed Ormoc City as the safest city in the Philippines. Under Mayor Gomez’s administration, the city only recorded a total of 132 crime incidents in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Cotabato City and Puerto Princesa City with 220 and 227, respectively. In jest, PSSupt. Noel Sandoval said that the active involvement of the government, police, and residents within the community is among the many factors that contribute to the low crime rate.

The improved peace and order situation in the city did not only give the “Safest City in the Philippines” moniker as it also attracted several investors to put up a business here amid its booming economy. In fact, Robinsons Place Ormoc and SM Center Ormoc opened last year. Other retail giants that are said to be interested in opening an outlet in Ormoc City include CityMall of the DoubleDragon Properties Corp., Prince Mall, Metro Gaisano, and Gaisano Capital.

Mayor Richard Gomez is confident that the entry of huge investors in the city would open a lot of doors to Ormocanons who wish to land a job. Aside from that, it will also force local players to upgrade their products and services to compete with the national brands. Late last year, Ormoc City was tagged as the richest city in the Eastern Visayas region with over a billion-peso saving and a zero loan balance.

“It is good to be tagged that way and as a mayor, we have to improve our assets and strengthen our economic functions to continue the city’s development. It is our role to manage our resources and spend our money wisely,” Mayor Richard Gomez said at the time.

Mayor Gomez’s administration has been exerting so many efforts in improving the city’s infrastructures such as diversion roads, bridges, additional school buildings, covered courts, and evacuation centers among others. An artist and athlete himself, Mayor Richard Gomez also supported various events related to sports, music, tourism and, culture and arts.

In line with his advocacy to minimize the use of plastics cellophane, sando bags, and Styrofoam in the city, Mayor Richard Gomez also supported the implementation of the “No Plastic Day Every Wednesday” policy. He even prioritized the enactment of the “No Smoking” policy, which prohibits smoking in any public premises or grounds at any time, by any person regardless of their status or business in the city.

Under Mayor Richard Gomez’s administration, the City of Ormoc garnered various citations and awards like the Seal of Child-Friendly Governance 2017, Red Orchid Award, LGU-Readiness Leadership Award. The city also got a national award in organic farming, local legislative award, an award on a community-based rehabilitation program and an award from the Office of the Ombudsman for implementing a system that “confronts to the ease of doing business standards for blue certification scope.”

Aside from being the “safest” city in the country and the “richest” city in Region 8, Ormoc City was also the first-ever city to be declared as “drug-cleared” in Eastern Visayas. It was also awarded 2nd place for best in e-governance for local government units during the 2018 Digital PH Awards.

“Our city received plenty of awards. The secret? Just do your best in your department and awards will surely come. While we’re in the government service, let’s do our best,” Mayor Richard Gomez said. “If you’re able to hit your target for this year that means your grade is satisfactory. If you’re able to do better than your target, then you become very satisfactory,” he added.

Mayor Richard Gomez, previously, emphasized the importance of clean and hard work in public service. In an Instagram post last year, the spouse of Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez shared a photo of him speaking behind a podium during a local leaders’ meeting and orientation. “I talked to them the importance of hard and clean work and bringing Ormoc City to another level,” he wrote in the caption. “I also told them not to support, not to vote those candidates that have and had ties and links to drug lords in Ormoc,” the action-politician went on.

While most of his critics claim that he is arrogant and thinks highly of himself, Mayor Richard Gomez continues to impress most of his constituents by bringing impressive and positive changes in Ormoc City. Too, together with the Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and the city council, Mayor Gomez has been doing a great job on putting the then-stagnant city on the map again.

So, is Mayor Richard Gomez worth the vote? That’s for you to decide. After all, no matter how imperfect his government is in many aspects, no one could deny that this so-called “banyaga” has done so much more for the city compared to the previous administrations.

Note: The writer of this piece did not receive any form of compensation. The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of the publication and its management. Furthermore, separate feature write-ups will be made for other candidates in the upcoming 2019 midterm election.