LOCAL politics in San Mateo, Rizal has been dominated by the same family in recent years.

"Now is the time for makeover and reform," said Bartolome "Omie" Rivera Jr., who began his political career as Kabataang Barangay chairman of Barangay Sta. Ana in San Mateo, Rizal.

Rivera wants to continue what he started as he aims for the highest executive position of his hometown under the banner of Bagong San Mateo (BSM).

"Nais nating makita ang isang maunlad na bayan. Malapit lang tayo sa NCR, kaya kung kaya ng ating mga karatig bayan ang umunlad, kayang-kaya rin natin itong gawin," he said.

"At ito ang gusto nating mangyari, ang bagong mukha ng ating bayan ay maging mukha ng pag-unlad at pagtaas ng antas ng buhay. Kaya gusto natin ng Bagong San Mateo."

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San Mateo shares borders with Quezon City in the west and Marikina City in the south.

Rivera, who also won as provincial board member in 2016 and 2019, recognizes that reforming San Mateo can be a challenge.

He said the BSM slate is campaigning for a four-point platform that seeks to prioritize transparency, strengthening of the economy, improvement of safety and security, and promoting a vibrant community.

In terms of transparency, Rivera says he seeks to bring back public trust by ensuring that the municipal officials are honest, respectable and qualified.

"Sinsero tayo sa pag-aalok nang ating plataporma. Gusto natin ng isang matapat na pamamahala kasabay ng isang maayos at karampatang sistema sa pangangalap ng buwis," he said.

"Ibig sabihin, transparent ang lahat ng mga transaksyon, at makikita na talagang walang bahid ng korapsyon o red tape. Kung sakaling may sadya sa munisipyo, ikaw ay sasalubungin ng mga pinuno at kawani na bukod sa pagiging kwalipikado sa kanyang tungkulin ay matapat na magsisilbi sa kanyang pamayanan."

In terms of economic improvement, Rivera said San Mateo can recover from the pandemic by enticing business builders and producing more job opportunities.

"Gusto natin patatagin talaga ang ekonomiya sa ating bayan. Wala dapat maiwan, lalo na unti-unti na tayong bumabangon mula sa pandemya," Rivera said, who also served as vice mayor for four terms in the municipality.

"Gusto natin lahat, maski maliliit na hanapbuhay, ay lumalago. Nais natin na tumatag ang bawat negosyo at patuloy na pumasok ang mga mamumuhunan at humikayat ng mga kapitalista kasabay ng pagpaparami sa hanay ng ating mga manggagawa."

Peace and order is also in the list of Rivera's top priorities.

"Sino nga naman ba ang hindi gugustuhin na mamuhay sa isang lugar na mapayapa at may aasahan ka pagdating ng oras ng pangangailangan, hindi ba? Gusto natin na maaasahan ang mga reresponde sa pangangailangan," he said.

"'Pag matitino ang pulis, mahusay ang mga bumbero, mabibilis ang mga first responders, may peace of mind ang ating mga constituents. Seryoso rin tayo sa ating kampanya laban sa ipinagbabawal na droga."

Rivera also plans to promote San Mateo as a potential tourist destination.

To achieve his plans and goals for San Mateo, Rivera said it is vital that the people running the local government share the same advocacies.

"Kaya ako tumatakbo ngayon ay may mission pa akong dapat tuparin — na ipagpatuloy ang pagsasaayos ng pamahalaan bilang mayor," Rivera said as he introduced his team during a recent rally.

"Itong Bagong San Mateo ay tapat, makatao, mapaglingkod at responsibo. Katuwang ko sa misyong ito ang aking mga kasama sa lineup na si dating MMDA general manager Jose 'Jojo' Garcia na tumatakbong congressman ng third district ng Rizal. Ang ating kasama na papalit sa akin sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan ay ang dating konsehal JP Bautista. Ang pamumunuin natin ng Sangguniang Bayan ay ang dati na ring nagsilbing Vice Mayor Ariel Diaz."