#ThankYou2016 for Mayor Sally Lee, the Nicola Sturgeon of Bicol

Mayor Sally Lee is the sunshine in the midst of Typhoon Nina for the people of Sorsogon.

#ThankYou2016 is Sampaguita Nation’s series of posts commemorating all the good things that happened in the year 2016. Granted that 2016 was mostly a horrible year, there are still good things that happened and they should be acknowledged before we kiss this year goodbye.

As Typhoon Nina passed by the Philippines, people hoped, prayed and acted in order to prevent another repeat of the deadly Typhoons Ondoy and Sendong. True enough, the Filipino people’s actions to spare as many lives as possible during the typhoon were effective.

One of those whose efforts became very effective was Mayor Sally Lee of Sorsogon who ordered for Forced Evacuation of 10,000 residents of Sorsogon from flood prone areas as early as Christmas Day:


In fact, two days before Christmas Day, Mayor Lee also declared that “Water Activity” be stopped in all beach resorts until Typhoon Nina passes to prevent any untoward deaths as a result of the typhoon. a “Water Activity Ban” basically means that beaches are to temporarily stop activities that require the use of the sea (such as swimming and jet skiing to name a few).

On the day the Typhoon was about to hit Sorsogon, which was also on Christmas day, Mayor Lee herself personally monitored the city’s disaster command center – at a day when most public servants are on vacation.

You might ask, why in the world are we praising a mayor for doing what she’s supposed to be doing? The answer is simple, when disasters hit during the holiday season in the Philippines, public servants tend  to be irresponsive, putting their holidays first before the welfare of their constituents.

Case in point, the Vice President of the Philippines (who does have a personal connection to Sorsogon, owning to hailing from Bicol)  chose to continue spending her Christmas holidays in the United States instead of returning to the country to personally look after the Bicolanos in Sorsogon – the very same people who helped her become Vice President.

Fortunately enough, nobody in Sorsogon died as a result of the Typhoon thanks to the efforts that Mayor Lee has placed upon her city.

Knowing more about Mayor Sally Lee

Mayor Lee is one of the few “legendary” mayors that the Philippines has ever had, joining the ranks of the former Davao City Mayor (and now current President of the Philippines) Rodrigo Duterte, the former Olongapo City Mayor (and now Senator) Richard Gordon and the former Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Haggedorn.

In what way did she become legendary then?

Her status as a legendary mayor comes from her initiative to uplift the lives of the people in her city – even if it means having to run into fights with the national government sometimes.

In fact, her initiative to uplift Sorsogon required more effort than President Duterte’s initiative to uplift Davao, Senator Gordon’s initiative to uplift Olongapo and ex-Mayor Haggedorn’s initiative to uplift Puerto Princesa.

Because unlike Davao, Sorsogon City is a small city (made out of two former municipalities). Unlike Olongapo, Sorsogon City is not a hub for international trade between the Philippines and other nations. Lastly, unlike Puerto Princesa, Sorsogon City is not one of the premier tourist destinations of the Philippines.

And yet, these things did not stop Mayor Lee from turning Sorsogon into a rising tiger.

Mayor Lee declared Sorsogon City a “Pro-Life City” in 2015 in a bid to make it the most liveable city in the Philippines. Unlike other pro-life politicians who are only until lip service with their promises to make pro-life policies work, Mayor Lee took her words into action.

In recognizing that being pro-life does not only mean making sure that unborn lives are saved and cherished even as they are born, she also took a step forward, declaring Sorsogon City an “organic city” (in a move to patronize organic products) and a “character city” (in a move to boost the morale of the people of Sorsogon).

Mayor Lee even took some time out of her weekend one time in order to personally help mold Sorsogon’s youth, serving as a speaker to a character formation program for Sorsogon State College students. This earned her the title of “Mother of the City” among the people of Sorsogon.

It is also note worthy that most of her city government’s scholars wound up as dean’s listers and board exam passers which only shows that she has inspired them well enough to reach out for their dreams and turn them into a reality.

It is not just the youth of Sorsogon whose morale she has boosted, in fact, she has also boosted the morale of people working in the Sorsogon City Hall by congratulating them on the awards that Sorsogon City has received. Through that, she has shown that her constituents deserve as much credit as she does in making Sorsogon the city that it is today.

Her dedication to the people of Sorsogon comes from the fact that she invests on them and not many city mayors in the Philippines do that. Even the DENR Secretary, Gina Lopez, has taken it to her Philippine Star column to say that Mayor Lee’s heart is “very pure and giving”.

We would also like to note that Mayor Lee reminds us of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in the sense that like Sturgeon, Mayor Lee took initiatives to make life better for her constituents in a holistic manner and yes, like Sturgeon, she too, defied the national government in the interest of her constituents (minus the seceding from the country part).

Here’s to Mayor Sally Lee, the Nicola Sturgeon of Bicol, the Mother of Sorsogon City!


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