Angelika on her ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ job as a public servant
While acting is a tough job, the celebrity that comes with it does afford one some privileges, Angelika dela Cruz said. You get pampered, spoiled. It doesn’t hurt to be carefree.
Public service, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.
That’s what Angelika learned when she ran and won her bid for the chairmanship of Barangay Longos in Malabon City in 2013.
“When you’re an actress, you can be happy-go-lucky. Being a barangay chair, however, is a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ kind of job. You have to be ready for anything … It was an adjustment,” Angelika, who sought reelection in the recent local polls, told the Inquirer.
“Before I ventured into politics, I used to get bothered by the most inconsequential things. Now, I don’t sweat the small stuff,” added Angelika, who has been holding the position for four and a half years now.
Her term, like other barangay chairpersons, ran longer than three years, as a result of the elections’ postponement in 2016.
The 36-year-old actress, who often plays contravida roles on television, admitted that she can be mataray in real life, too, especially when she was younger. But after hearing the plight of her constituents and dealing with their many diverse problems, she said she has grown into a more empathetic person.
“With everything I have to face—people needing financial or medical help, children who are abused, and all sorts of heartbreaking things—you become more understanding of others; your horizon widens,” she said. “You realize that many people have it harder in life which, in turn, puts yours into perspective.”
While most celebrities target higher government positions, Angelika would rather serve—and stay—at the barangay level, where she could have a better grasp of an ordinary citizen’s needs.
“You need to hear about people’s concerns firsthand. And being at grassroots allows me to do that. I visit people who seek medical help. At times, I personally call funeral parlors, if there are deaths,” she related.
Serving in Malabon is likewise the actress-politician’s way of honoring and fulfilling the dreams of her younger brother, Edward, who died in a car accident, only weeks after he won as city councilor in 2010.
“I used to accompany my brother when he did house-to-house campaigns. From there, I started to get a picture of the things that need to be addressed,” she said, adding that she would consider running for higher office if she were certain that she would be leaving behind an orderly, self-sustaining barangay.
It goes without saying that being an actress is the more lucrative job. While Angelika didn’t give up acting entirely, she could only do a limited number of shows or events. She isn’t earning as much as she used to. In fact, as barangay chair, she has no choice, at times, but to spend her own money o n projects.
But the fulfillment she gets, Angelika said, is priceless.
“It’s a tough job, but very rewarding,” she added.
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