The Mayor Talks Fatherhood
Waiting outside the mayor’s office, I saw how buzzing it was. I came straight from my high school class and it was already the few minutes before the end of a day’s work, but truly, he is a very busy man still to keep his appointments with many people waiting in line to meet with him.
So when it was finally my time and I entered his office, I was a bit worried that he would already be tired and worn out. Yet amazingly I was greeted by a very friendly and smiling Honorable Mayor Oscar Moreno. Despite being the leader of a busy city, he was very willing to step out of his “pure government business” position for a couple of minutes to sit and talk about his views on fatherhood.
So I started with
Q: Aside from being the Father of Cagayan de Oro City, you are also a father. How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Mayor Moreno: “I have three children; the eldest is Sean Oliver and he is 38. The second is Imee Rose, 36, who was named after Imelda, her maternal lola and Milagros, her paternal lola. And then the third one is Oscar Jr. and he’ll be 34.” The Mayor was slowly speaking, giving me time to write and even spelling out the names so I can get them correctly.
Q: What is your most vivid memory of being a father? What are the moments with your family you hold most precious?
Mayor Moreno: “My most vivid memory as a father is of course the graduations and looking at your children happy… conquering themselves. And of course, enjoying each other’s company. I think my precious moments with my family are the holidays: Christmases, New Years, birthdays, anniversaries…”
I want to also have an idea of the mayor as a child, so I asked
Q: What is the name of your father? What is your most vivid memory of your father?
Mayor Moreno: “Emeterio Sr. When he would attend to his patients; he was a rural doctor. I could see how committed he was, attending to his barrio patients.”
Q: Was becoming a lawyer- then a governor and a mayor- the dream of your father for you?
Mayor Moreno smiled and answered: “I don’t know, but I’m sure he just wanted me to succeed. I failed him in my younger days and he was quite frustrated but I tried to make up to him. And I think he was happy with what I have been but I could sense his disappointment when I got married immediately after graduation.” [laughs]
Q: As the Mayor of the city, what programs do you have for the young children of Cagayan de Oro to help them have a better future?
The government servant within the father came out and Mayor Moreno said excitedly: “Education, Education, Education. What we’re doing is addressing the annex high school problems. We’re coming up with separate and independent campuses for the annex high schools. The barangays wanted to have their own high schools so hopefully they will have their own building and they will no longer be using the facility of the elementary schools. I hope to relieve the congested schools. I want to address the education of the young, because education cannot be compromised.”
I knew I could not stay long as much as I wanted so I asked him a little personal question.
Q: Mayor, you have a daughter. As a father, how did you react towards suitors? What is your most important advice to young girls like me?
Mayor Moreno smiled: “Of course, I did not resent suitors. I wasn’t against my daughter being courted because it was part of growing up. And what’s important was she grew up normally, and that’s all that mattered. So my advice for younger girls is grow normally. Grow as normally as you can. And of course, it’s not unusual to have your first crush, or your first love, but do not engage in activities that are beyond normal boundaries. Grow normally and don’t forget the boundaries.”
So knowing that my time was up, here was my final question.
Q: What are your tips for fathers like you? Any Do’s and Don’ts you want to share with them?
The Mayor, in his wisdom, said: “I’m not a perfect father, I’ve had my mistakes and how I wished I could have done better. So I guess my advice to other fathers is: Don’t lose your patience”. [laughs]
I laughed with him and then thanked him for his time. Getting ready to leave his office, and holding on to my clipboard with questions and notes, I heard him remark, “You ask very mature questions.” I just smiled because actually I was nervous with my first interview. Well, Mister Mayor, thank you for sharing with us and allowing us this chance to get to know you on a special level. The very best of Father’s Day to you!