Quantcast
Latest Stories

INQUIRER MINDANAO

Barefoot dad bares soul: Propoor

By

COUNCILOR Rodolfo Bayot. JULIE S. ALIPALA

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Despite having no machinery and money to support his reelection bid, the city’s—and perhaps, the country’s—only barefoot politician landed on the list of top eight winning city councilors after the midterm elections.

If there was one thing Councilor Rodolfo Bayot should be proud of, it is the fact that the votes that made him win a fresh mandate at the local legislature were genuine and not tainted with fraud.

These perceptions about Bayot’s fresh victory did not come from an ally or a relative. These were how ordinary people, such as tricycle drivers, regarded his reelection.

One of them, Enrico Mande, said what made him believe that Bayot’s votes were not brought in by an anomaly was that “he did not spend a single centavo to bribe voters.”

“On the contrary, his supporters even pitched in and brought food during the campaign,” Mande said.

Francisco Tuble, another tricycle driver, said while other politicians—who sought high ranking in the results of voting for city councilors—distributed bottled water, food and candies to those who attended their rallies, Bayot, whom people here simply refer to as “Kap,” just chatted with his supporters.

“We always look up to him as among us and not a city councilor,” Tuble said.

Rene Enriquez, a neighbor of the barefoot councilor, said other politicians race to put up expensive houses or have their existing homes renovated so these would stand out among the crowd of structures in the city.

“But his (Bayot’s) house remained dilapidated and has not undergone renovation from his time as village chair for three consecutive terms,” Enriquez said.

COUNCILOR Rodolfo Bayot continues to live in this dilapidated house that was left to him by his siblings. JULIE S. ALIPALA

Bayot lives in a two-story wooden house with roof and windows in great disrepair.

The only thing that sets his house apart from the rest of the shanties in the first district is it is the only dilapidated structure that displays inspiring quotes.

“I did it to remind me that I am not a great person, that I may be different but this is the reality that we have here in our city,” Bayot said when asked why his house remains in disarray.

Bayot’s lifestyle is also reflected on the way he looks even when in public. Often mistaken for a beggar by first-time visitors, the reelected city councilor has always been the object of ridicule by his colleagues in the past.

His advocacy for the poor also regularly pitted him with colleagues because he would always bring it up even if the agenda concerned other matters. His colleagues would often tell him he was off-topic.

“They always put me down, especially during session conferences and meetings,” Bayot said.

He cited one council session, during which councilors were deeply animated as they discussed a proposal to tax pushcart owners, charcoal makers and residents who just love to plant fruit trees.

“Imagine they want to charge taxes of up to 400 percent for pushcart owners. So I asked them if they, by chance, had pushed carts around the city while moving fruits or vegetables even for once in their lives? Did they know how charcoal is being made so that the money they earn could buy food for their families?” Bayot recounted telling his colleagues.

He said while his colleagues wasted time on such unpopular proposals, they also spent almost P80 million to make the city council building as comfortable as possible.

“The government spent P80 million on a building with the entire tiled floors of the session room covered with wires and outlets for the sound system and microphones, and two large restrooms located at the stage facing the guests,” he said.

This, Bayot said, was decided upon by his colleagues even if hundreds of city dwellers could not find food to eat.

The problem, Bayot said, was  despite the money they wasted, the councilors have to contend with leaking water inside the new building.

Reacting to a suggestion from a colleague in the outgoing city council that he might have to learn more so he could become an effective local legislator, Bayot said he need not attend parliamentary seminars or workshops on local governance and ethics.

Bayot said discussions on how to upgrade the lives of the poor should not be bounded by rules because the most important thing is to help them.

As to the way he looks, Bayot said he has no intention of donning expensive clothes or changing his attire when the new council starts sessions in June.

“I might dress poorly to the eyes of some people, but it’s the most comfortable and affordable getup for me. Besides, instead of spending P10,000 for clothes so I could please others, I’ll just spend it on funding livelihood programs for the poor so they would not be subservient to politicians all their lives,” he added.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Elections 2013 , governance , Rodolfo Bayot , Zamboanga City




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Drilon denies involvement in pork scam
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement