By Jules Vivas
Images by Noel Pabalate
Having only started his career in politics last year, Faustino Dy V, Inno as his friends call him, has come a long way. From barangay captain of San Fabian, he was elected as the municipal chapter president of Echague, after which he won the post as provincial chapter president of Isabela and eventually became the national president of the Liga ng mga Barangay(LNB), a formal organization of all the 42,000 barangays in the Philippines.
At 27, Inno is now the congressman of Isabela’s sixth legislative district, one of the two districts newly created through Republic Act No. 11080 signed by President Duterte on Sept. 27, 2018.
We meet just two days before his birthday at his office, where the remains of a staff surprise, such as bits of confetti and spent balloons, was still strewn all over the floor. Inno is dressed in a dashing gray suit with the pop of an orange tie, the future blazing in his eyes. It won’t be a surprise if soon he makes it to the list of the country’s most eligible bachelors, although already, based on his personal vision alone, he is in the league of the most promising of this generation’s new politicians.
Inno took up international business in the US, where on his college days he first felt a burning desire to serve his countrymen. “Studying development politics, I started to ask myself, why is it that the quality of life in our country is so different from that of other countries? I wanted to apply what I learned, studying in the US,” he intimates. He then pursued a master’s degree in political economy, one of the oldest specializations within the economics program, to have a better grasp of how to improve the lives of his fellow men.
True to his college realization, instead of becoming an entrepreneur, Inno has opted to be a public servant who would fight for those on the ground. “I come from an agricultural province, considered one of the biggest granaries in the Philippines, so I grew up knowing the conditions of our farmers. We all know their struggles. It’s ironic that those who work to feed the country are the ones who have no food on their tables. About 30 to 40 percent of our farmers are really some of the most marginalized in the country. It shouldn’t be that way,” he laments.
His second platform is to uplift the smallest administrative division of the government, saying, “There are so many pressing issues when it comes to barangay governance, mainly the lack of resources. We [barangay officials] need to operationalize the government’s mandates. They provide so many basic services, but they lack support and are extremely undercompensated.” The former head of the LNB recounts the many issues he was confronted with when he was a barangay captain, making it crystal-clear that the duties of barangay officials are no walk in the park. “When you’re a barangay captain, everyone comes to you for help, [whether] it’s a family problem, a barangay issue, someone was hurt, or even birthdays or weddings, everything!” he says. “People will ask for your support, and you have to comply with so many things. In my opinion, this is real public service.”
Inno also emphasizes that barangay officials are the ones who could potentially bring about development that is the very opposite of the top-down, trickle-down, or filter-down approach that has dominated Philippine governance for so long.
If you implement good projects at the grassroots level, it has a multiplier effect,
he explains. “This is a bottom-up approach. I think it will be very effective.”
But what values does one need to be a good leader? “You have to be a very good listener,” Inno replies. “You need to be in touch with your constituents, with everyone around you. Also, stay committed to and stick with making decisions that would benefit the majority.”
The young statesman then conveys who his idol politician is. “I look up to my dad (Bojie Dy, Isabela vice governor, previously three-term governor), because I’ve known him all throughout my life and, bias aside, I see how committed he is to his job, having served 37 years in politics. I really admire his devotion and service to the people. He’s a workaholic in every way. And I think these are the characteristics one should emulate as a young politician.”
As one of the youngest politicians in congress, Inno believes that the youth, the biggest demographic group in the Philippines right now, should focus on empowering each other and on participating in all social aspects. “We shouldn’t just be involved on the keyboard. We’re all accustomed to being behind screens. I think social media is an effective tool to voicing out opinions, but we should also act. We can work for the community, or get engaged in participatory politics. There are many ways. Walk the talk.” he says.
We conclude our conversation with him sharing his biggest dream for the country. “The main concern I had that made me change my direction is for my countrymen to have equal opportunities,” he muses. “It’s unfortunate that there are still many places in the Philippines, and many provinces such as our own, that are still not as developed as Metro Manila. Of course, we don’t want it to be the same concrete jungle, but we just want to raise the quality of life for our constituents.”