Containing the transmission of SARS-COV2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is an urgent business of government. Since the time pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organization announced the development of vaccines for COVID-19, nations scrambled to procure whatever vaccines are available for their citizens. Acquiring these vaccines has occupied the highest priority of both national and local governments as officials struggled to balance economic recovery and public health concerns.
The pandemic has revealed many local government officials who are performing their mandated responsibility faithfully. Moreover, it has tested their tenacity and their capacity to lead theirconstituents to turn visions into reality. Their day-to-day achievements, when taken together, are exemplary accomplishments.
Many of us have heard of what Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Regis N. Sotto, popularly known as Vico Sotto, is doing for his constituents. Under the millennial mayor’s leadership, Pasig City’s plans and programs to fight COVID-19 has earned the recognition of the National Task Force against COVID-19. Its vaccination plan is the first among local government units’ plans approved by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization. The city’s vaccination plan will involve 16 vaccination centers, each to be manned by 74 medical and support staff.
Another local executive who has captured the attention of political observers and the hearts of the masses is Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso a.k.a. Isko Moreno. The city’s COVID-19 response under his leadership included the conduct of free COVID-19 tests, putting up testing laboratories, isolation facilities, and procurement of additional medical equipment, among others. Barangays placed under lockdown are assured of free food supplies. Innovations introduced by the city government resulted in increased revenue despite COVID-19. Last month, the Manila Mayor established the Manila COVID-19 Vaccine Action Center to prepare for the vaccination of its residents. The action center will respond to questions relating to the inoculation program of the local government. It will also assist in the registration of individuals who want to avail of the vaccines.
Aside from mayors in the National Capital Region, there is another local executive in Luzon whose leadership is making a difference in his city. Like Vico Sotto and Isko Moreno, he is a first-term mayor and like them, he belongs to the younger generation of leaders.
Dagupan City Mayor Marc Brian Lim has initiated many programs to improve the lives of Dagupeños. Through his leadership, Dagupan City became the first local government unit in Northern Luzon, if not in the country, to conduct COVID-19 inoculation in a non-hospital facility. It is the first LGU to initiate vaccination program for private hospitals and the first LGU in Pangasinan to receive Sinovac and Astra Zeneca vaccines.
Dagupan City’s COVID-19 vaccination program site was commended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recently. Through Mayor Lim’s initiative, the Dagupan City People’s Astrodome was converted into a centralized vaccination center. Fully-airconditioned, the center has a triage, a health education area, screening area, vaccination area, and post vaccination observation and assessment area. It is being used to vaccinate medical workers of private 
hospitals and health facilities in the city. It is the country’s first non-hospital setting for mass vaccination.
I commend city Mayor Brian Lim for his innovation. This is really proof that the leadership of the city does not like the status quo. He wants to find ways to improve performance,” the Health Secretary stated. According the Duque, it is a best practice that should be replicated throughout the country.
Lim, on the other hand, assured the Health Secretary that this will be replicated in other areas in the city with 14 more vaccination sites being planned in collaboration with the Dagupan City Schools Division in time for the community-based vaccination roll out. This will ensure inoculating more Dagupeños as soon as possible. American author Warren Bennis, known for his studies on leadership, had said that the most dangerous myth is that leaders are born; that there is a genetic factor to leadershipThat’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true.#Leaders#are made rather than born.” The quote rings true in the case of Mayor Lim.
While Lim’s parents, both public servants, taught him the rudiments of service-oriented brand of leadership and the value of humility, his world class leadership and management skill was honed with his membership in the Junior Chamber International (JCI) where he held various posts. “It was from the JCI where I learned that “Service to humanity is the best work of life,” he said.
This has guided him in rendering public service. After joining JCI in 2008, he was elected president of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Dagupan Bangus in 2013, which was named that year as the Most Outstanding Chapter in the 
Philippines. In 2014, he was elected Area Vice President for Area One and conferred with JCI Senatorship No. 73006. Lim was elected to serve as National President in 2015. He also served as JCI world vice president. In 2017, he was JCI world executive vice president and chaired the 2017 JCI Asia Pacific Conference held in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia. Lim holds the distinction as the first and only Pangasinense to be elected 2018 JCI world president. He is the sixth Filipino to hold the position 
since 1915. In 2019, he chaired the JCI World Senate. Mayor Marc Brian Lim was recognized with The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Excellence Award in 2019 together with five other Filipinos who served as JCI World Presidents. As a Dagupeño, I am proud that my hometown’s chief executive is Mayor Lim, a new breed of leader, who sees and seizes the opportunity to empower others and change things for the better.