- SERAFIN I. PLOTRIA, JR.
Young and dynamic leaders are beginning to steal the limelight in public service.
These new voices and perspectives offering new ideas to solve the old problems in Philippine governance, both in national and local stages, are creating momentum and bringing in new hope.
Such is the wave the young Javier Miguel Lopez Benitez, popularly known as ‘Javi’ Benitez, is riding on.
For those hooked on primetime TV, they knew him as a young talent gracing the evening teleserye screen.
For those who are active political observers locally, Javi is the son of former Third District Representative Albee Benitez and Dominique “Nikki” Lopez-Benitez of Nikki Cares Foundation.
At 26 years old, Javi is hoping to serve the people of his paternal great-grand mother, Remedios ‘Lola Ediong’ Palanca-Bantug, as Mayor. The same position that the late Palanca-Bantug matriarch had served for many years in Victorias City.
Javi is never a less fitting candidate for the job. He graduated in the top 10% of the First International Baccalaureate Program (FIBP) class of Xavier School in San Juan, and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Political Science at the heart of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, USA.
The young Benitez is dedicated to his scholastic training to prepare for a shot in governance and public service. Currently, he is taking up his Master’s in Public Administration and Governance at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.
“Nga-a mahulat pa ‘ko kon tigulang na ‘ko kay I’m young, energetic, and idealistic,” was his confident response to a question on why he is joining the political landscape too soon when he’s still young.
ONE IMPORTANT LEARNING
As a young employee, Javi said he experienced the bitter taste of failure. He said it was a real challenge for him since it was his first time to lead a project, and his hope was high.
The team was to pitch a new project to the investors and the members of the board of directors of the former company that Javi was working for.
He thought he was able to communicate the project properly and was efficient in the process.
Though the project moved swiftly, it eventually failed. Javi admitted that he learned a lot from the experience. As a takeaway, he has grown to manage his expectations, to determine which signals are red flags, and to keep going when it gets tough.
He said, “I failed early and I failed fast, and it was a costly learning experience that I’m sure will help me in the succeeding business endeavors.”
He was molded and honed by that big stake experience. He added, “It’s always best to get as much information as I can. I verify and cross-verify to assess the situation, and then I find the best way to deal with it logically. I try to take away emotions to properly assess. In the process, I also determine which suggestions or criticisms are constructive versus destructive, or valid versus invalid. After I deal with it, I move on quickly and get on with other important matters.”
Now that he is ready to face new challenges in a much bigger stage, Javi said he never stops to learn new things and listen to understand more. His youthful energy transcends the current challenging times and situation of his city.
The legacy of his father, who brought a new mind-set to the Third District in terms of leadership and governance, is echoed in Javi Benitez’s outlook for the good of the people his great-grand parents loved most in Victorias.
“In my new journey, I can only plan three years ahead of 2022. If given the chance to be Mayor of Victorias City, I hope that Victorias will be in a much better place than how it was when I started.” – NWI