To his flock of admirers, Vico Sotto is sometimes "ViVico" and sometimes "babe mayor."
Netizens coined the term "ViVico"—a word play on Vico's name and the term of endearment "baby ko."
"ViVico" has since been used as a hashtag each time the neophyte Pasig mayor is praised for his fast and efficient moves to meet the COVID-19 crisis in his city.
Vico ended the 27-year-rule of the Eusebios by a margin of 87,814 votes in the May 2019 elections.
Vico garnered 209,370 votes, while the incumbent mayor, Bobby Eusebio, finished with 121,556 votes.
As the 30-year-old Vico continues to draw the attention of both media and public, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) goes one-on-one with him on PEP Live,Thursday, May 28.
Here's a roundup of 10 THINGS ABOUT VICO SOTTO that PEP discovered from his 30-minute interview.
1. HE REFUSES TO BE INTIMIDATED
Vico says he does not let his age or his position hinder him from getting the job done.
There are times, for instance, when his views differ from the views of bigger and higher officials in the national government.
But Vico says he is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to trouble-shooting the concerns of Pasigueños.
He tells PEP.ph: "Hindi ako nagpapa-intimidate sa tao.
"Ganun din naman, hindi ako naniniwala na dapat ma-intimidate sa akin ang ibang tao, whether quote unquote 'mataas' or 'mababang' tao or ordinaryong tao.
"Hindi ako naniniwala sa ganun. Dapat pantay-pantay tayo."
On April 1, Vico took to Instagram to show how he was swamped with papers to sign at the mayor's office, just as he was being grilled by the National Bureau of Investigation for a supposed violation of quarantine protocol.
"Let's just work," he wrote on the caption of his post.
Note that this was the same day he received a letter from the NBI asking him to explain why he had allowed tricycle drivers to operate in Pasig when mass transportation was prohibited during ECQ.
Posted via Twitter, Vico's initial response was: "We complied with all directives. Hindi po illegal magbigay ng opinyon."
Vico pointed out that the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act—the law that he supposedly violated—had not even become law when the March 19 incident involving Pasig City tricycle drivers occurred.
His April 1 tweet read: "...at alam kaya nila na March 24 naging batas ang Bayanihan Act?"
2. HE LIKES to be battle READY
Vico says he and his team at the Pasig City Hall believe in planning ahead of time.
He elaborates: "Ang lagi namin iniisip dito sa Pasig, hindi natin alam mangyayari next week, hindi natin alam mangyayari next month.
"Hindi natin alam kung ilang kaso ng COVID meron next week, next month, kung ano ang sitwasyon, kung ano ang hitsura ng quarantine.
"But we need to prepare for every eventuality. Kailangan natin maghanda sa kahit anong posibleng mangyari.
"So, best-case scenario, madali lang yun. Pero hanggang sa worst-case scenario—A-B-C-D-E—ano yung puwede mangyari, pinagpaplanuhan namin."
As an example, Vico talks about how his local government unit is thinking of ways of helping Pasig students should classes open on August 24.
While he did not disclose the exact program his LGU is working on, he says funds have been allocated for any measure they finally decide on.
"Ito po, initiated naman ng Department of Education. Ang role namin, kung anong maging desisyon ng national—whether no classes, with classes, face-to-face classes or virtual—ang trabaho ng lokal na pamahalaan, suportahan ang Department of Education.
"Mag-provide ng infrastructure, mag-provide ng equipment kung anong kailangan, to the best of our abilities.
"So ngayon, pinagpaplanuhan namin, pagbibili ng gadget or equipment na kakailanganin ng mga mag-aaral natin..."
Vico is certain about one thing: "Kailangan hindi huminto yung pag-aaral ng mga bata. Sila kinabuksan natin."
3. HE DOES NOT SHIRK FROM THE HARD FIGHT
From the start of his mayorship, Vico vowed to curb corruption in Pasig City.
Talking about what movitates him, he tells PEP.ph: "Hindi tayo basta umo-okay lang.
"Pag sinabing, 'Nakasanayan na ito, e. Thirty years ko na ito ginagawa sa LGU natin, fifty years na ito ginagawa sa gobyerno natin.
"Yung henerasyon namin na leaders, hindi nakukuntento sa ganun, e.
"We wanna challenge the system—at tingin ko yun ang tamang gawin, e."
He admits that fighting corruption is a hard fight, but Vico believes it's worth the effort.
"May mga bagay na nakasanayan natin, pero mali talaga. E, di sana kung walang mali, walang korupsyon na nangyayari.
"Pero alam po natin systemic po talaga 'yan. Walang isang taong may kasalanan niyan."
In December 2019, Vico announced on his Facebook page that his city saved "over PHP150 million" in the first five months of his governance.
This was achieved, he said, through "honest-to-goodness public bidding for the city's goods and services."
He also said that the city was able to reduce the ceiling price for all budget contracts by a "minumum of 10 percent."
Vico said, almost in passing, "Puwedeng gawin dahil hindi naman ako tumatanggap ng kickback."
4. HE SURROUNDS HIMSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
According to Vico, the secret weapon of Pasig City's good governance is having a good core team with him.
Praising his colleagues, Vico elaborates: "Bilang government official, kung ako lang mag-isa dito, wala akong kakampi na pareho mag-isip sa akin—pareho yung values, yung may katapatan, mahusay—walang mangyayari sa akin.
"Kahit maging mayor ako, kahit anong posisyon pa makuha ko, kung ako lang mag-isa, walang mangyayari.
"Pero nagagawa ko yung nagagawa ko, nagagawa namin unti-unti yung mga repormang pinapakilala namin sa pamahalaan dito sa Pasig, dahil may mga kasama ako na ganito rin mag-isip.
"May mga kasama ako who share my values. Hindi ako exposed mag-isa."
It is no accident, he says, that he is surrounded by people who are capable and honest.
"Nung nagsisimula kami dito, dalawa lang qualifications ko kung sino kasama. Hindi yung malakas sa akin, hindi yung close sa akin.
"Lalo na yung sa core team. Una, mahusay ba? Pangalawa, may katapatan ba?
"Thankfully, I was able to find people in this journey na ganun."
Seen below is a snapshot of Vico and his colleagues manning the Pasig City admin office on Sunday morning of April 5:
5. HE IS OPEN TO BEING CORRECTED
Vico knows he is not perfect.
As such, he wants his staff to tell him when he's wrong.
"Meron akong accountability. Ibig sabihin, pag medyo may mali na akong nagagawa, may mga tao sa buhay ko na kayang sabihin, 'Vico, mali iyang ginagawa mo.
"'Teka, hindi iyan yung dahilan kung bakit pumasok ka sa laban na iyan. Hindi iyan ang dahilan kung bakit ka tumakbo ng mayor.
"'Baka gusto mo check maigi. Tignan mo sarili mo. Bakit ka napupunta sa ganung desisyon?' So, dapat ganun."
The photo below was taken during Vico's inspection of a centralized quarantine facility in Pasig on May 6.
6. HE GIVES CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE
"Hindi naman ako credit-grabber," Vico says during the PEP Live interview.
He admits that he actually copies the "best practices" of other cities in the fight against COVID-19.
"Nagkataon lang dito sa Metro Manila, medyo naging high profile kami. Pero in reality, marami kaming nakikitang LGU na pinagkokopyahan din namin.
"Lagi ko nababanggit yung Valenzuela [Bulacan]. Pero as far as Iloilo [Visayas], pag may nakikita kaming magandang practice, ginagaya po namin.
"Hindi po dito lang may magaling. Hindi."
Below is Vico's Twitter post of March 16, showing how Pasig's city ordinance on anti-panic buying and hoarding was inspired by measures adopted earlier by Valenzuela City.
Vico also tells PEP.ph, "Saka meron din kaming pagkukulang, alam ko naman po yun.
"Basta importante, we're all doing our best—from our national government to our barangay government, ginagawa natin lahat ng makakaya natin."
7. HE TAKES AFTER HIS DAD'S DEMEANOR
When asked about the traits that he got from his parents, Vico is quick to say that he moves and speaks like his dad Vic Sotto.
"Siguro si Papa, ang nakuha ko sa kanya yung demeanor.
"Hindi masyado mabilis mag-react. Pinag-iisipan muna bago magsalita."
Some actually find it hard to tell what's going on in Vico's head, given his typically neutral expression when he's addressing the public.
Vico himself describes his temperament as "steady," but he says he knows how to get angry.
Most recently, Vico tweeted a video clip of him getting irked by a citizen who joined his Facebook Live session, did not listen to the discussion going on, and then asked the same question and repeated the same complaint that Vico had just covered.
"Ang gulo kausap! Kakasabi lang 'Lahat kasama,' e. Kung hindi naman mamuti buhok ko dito," Vico remarked with candor.
8. HE CREDITS HIS MOM FOR HIS VALUES
Vico says it is his mom Coney Reyes who shaped his core values.
"Si Mama naman siguro, hindi trait. Kumbaga sa trait, medyo iba kami ni Mama. Sa personality, ibang-iba kami niyan.
"Pero ang mga nakuha ko sa kanya—values, pananampalataya, at pagmamahal sa Diyos.
"Kilala niyo naman si Mama. Very Godly na tao yun, e."
9. HE HAS A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR
Vico takes his job as Mayor seriously.
But he says he knows how to lighten up—whether he's speaking to his constituents via Facebook Live or through his written texts on social media.
"Ayaw naman natin mabaliw tayo, di ba? Kailangan pa rin natin ng sense of humor kahit papaano.
"And kahit short breaks—kuwentuhan sa office—malaking tulong yun sa lahat."
PEP.ph tells Vico that he once reminded Pasigueños, in one of his Facebook Live videos, to take baths regularly even with the enforced quarantine keeping everyone at home.
Laughing, Vico recalls, "Kasi home quarantine, limang araw hindi naliligo? Hindi naman puwede yun!"
10. HE CAN RELATE MORE to "ALIENS" THAN "ZOMBIES"
During the Fast Talk segment of PEP Live, Vico is asked to pick between "alien invasion" and "zombie outbreak."
Laughing at the random question, the mayor says: "Hala! Alien invasion.
"Kasi nung mga bata tayo mas uso ang alien invasion, e.
"Recently na lang yung mga zombies."
Here's a throwback photo of Vico in a wig, in an Instagram post he dedicated to his dad, on Vic's 64th birthday on April 28, 2018.
Check out the full interview with Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on PEP Live here.
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