• Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro
  • 21 Feb 2020
  • Orlando Ravanera

HE is Sui Generis (one of a kind)! He has been the barangay captain of Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City, since 2010 and has exemplified to the highest degree the constitutional provision in Sec.1, Art. XI, to quote, “A public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.”

His name speaks well of a man who is formidable as a huge tree that houses hundreds of mega-diversity as he is tall and good looking. He is Engr. Pedro D. Balite, Ph. D., a Doctor of Management and Master in Business Administration.

After retiring from the government service a decade ago, he loomed as the Barangay Captain of Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City. Since then, he has been receiving outpourings of awards every year at the city, regional and at the national level as well especially on being the Most Outstanding Lupong Tagapamayapa nation-wide. His awards are multi-dimensional, i.e. a national environmental awardee receiving twice the Regional Green Banner Award and the compassion and care for the Children as he transformed Kauswagan as the Most Child Friendly Barangay, among others. As planned between the Cooperative Development Authority and the Barangay leaders, we will soon organize the persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the urban poor into cooperatives so that these marginalized sectors will be empowered and capacitated to be drawn into the mainstream of development processes.

He is no ordinary leader as you seldom meet a barangay captain who is a Ph.D holder. But what is so amazing is not so much the awards or titles that he carries. What struck me most is his compassionate leadership that gives so much attention to the poor, those in the margins of development, the children and the environment, bannering not only development but peace as well. Indeed, major religious traditions bid special attention to the poor. He mentioned to me that even Jesus’ teachings pay particular attention to the poor, notably in His teaching that he who feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and cares for the sick serves the Lord. “I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40).

Let us learn from the mindset of a leader whose life manifests the self-cultivation of virtue of service to his people. Indeed virtue includes altruism, humaneness toward others, and a disposition to behave properly. Yes, the aim of life is to escape from suffering, as Buddha warns the individuals to beware of their cravings for sensory delights and material possession. These are traps that are bound to disappoint. True happiness is found by training the mind to reject such cravings and to seek happiness especially through compassion toward others, as exemplified by Barangay Captain Balite.

In a world so enamored in externalities, trivialities, good looks and materialism that sacrifices Mother Earth and the people to the altar of greed and profit, the leadership style of the honorable barangay captain is worth emulating from whom all other public officials must learn.

Let that leadership exemplified by Dr. Balite to his people give way to an awakening process in a world where the multitude has been reduced to just being “self-gratification machines” where there is so much veneration to the profit motive and denigration of spirituality.

To Barangay Captain Pedro D. Balite, our firm salute and warm embrace! Continue to empower the poor and the vulnerable – all for the greater Glory of God!