Coach by day, Vice Gov by afternoon

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Although he has two careers, Guiao still manages to give 100 percent in both roles.
Yeng Guaio 1

Red Bull Barako head coach and Pampanga Vice Governor, Joseller “Yeng” Guiao will run for re-election as a running mate of Senior Provincial Board Member Baby Pineda, under the Kampi banner.

Growing up with the late governor Bren Guiao, known sports enthusiast, it was not surprising that “Yeng” and his two other siblings also got into sports. The head coach of the Red Bull Barakos admits that it was their father’s interest that actually got them started with the nation’s favorite pastime.

Although not a Lasallian from the start, Guiao admits that the La Salle community had a huge impact on his life. Asked why he chose La Salle Green Hills, his answer was simple: For convenience, plus it was the best school in the area.”

Guiao remembers a lot of things at La Salle. Every time he gets the chance to get together with friends and reminisce about those years, memories immediately begin flooding back. “When they [his friends] mention a name, something comes into your mind; it always brings a smile to your face when you remember those things,” he says.

Among those he fondly remembers was Antonio Mendoza, the former coach of the track team, or “Tatang” as most graduates call him. Guiao also remembers Br. Victor Franco and Br. Manuel Blas, as well as the late Fr. Francisco Martinez.

Still it was the values he got throughout his stay in La Salle that had a lasting influence on him as these helped him form his personal set of principles and priorities. The La Salle Brothers had been strict in instilling the concept of a Christian Gentleman, which Guiao believes molded him into what he is today.

Warrior spirit

After graduating from high school, Guiao made a surprising move. Instead of continuing his studies at his alma mater, he decided to study at the University of the Philippines, which he said helped put balance into his life. As he was already used to the atmosphere in Green Hills, which he found slight controlling, he felt the urge to break free and UP, could give him that.

In UP, he took up Industrial Engineering and played for the UP Maroons.

It was during his stint with the Maroons where he caught the attention of Joey Concepcion, who recruited him for RFM’s team in the Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL), now Philippine Basketball League (PBL). But he knew his limits as a player and thus shifted to coaching.

To date, Guiao won four PBA titles since starting his head coaching job for Swift in the early-1990’s. He is a former Philippine Basketball League commissioner from 1997 to 2000. He left the commentary booth, as well as the Commissioner post to join Red Bull’s move to the pro ranks.

Red Bull had a two-season title drought, despite several respective finishes during those seasons. But in the 2005-06 PBA season, he coached the Bulls to the Fiesta Conference Championship, defeating Purefoods in 6 games and a runner-up finish in the 2006 Philippine Cup.

Proud panorama

But Guiao’s life doesn’t just revolve around basketball. Given his family background, it was not surprising that Guiao would eventually venture into politics. After his father’s death in 1996, he was asked by a lot of his constituents to take over the role his father left behind.

In 2001, Guiao became a board member in the province of Pampanga to start off his political career. He had plans to have Pampanga host several sports for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games but was later scrapped. In 2004, he won the Vice Governor position of the province in the local elections, which he currently serves.

Come this May, Guiao will run for re-election as Vice Governor as a running mate of Senior Provincial Board Member Baby Pineda under the Kampi banner, mother party of President Gloria Macapagal-Arrroyo.

Unknown to many, his original plan was to run for congress in the first district of Pampanga but when Pineda decided to run for the governorship, she invited him to stay on as her vice governor.

“Maybe it would be better if I postpone my plan for congress and see if we can see the fruits of our sacrifices in terms of having a new leadership in the province. And at the same time having done that to vindicate ourselves by making the quarry collection [problem] obvious to the Kapampangans,” he lamented.

Guiao has been critical about the leadership of current Pampanga Governor Mark Lapid. He had alleged that quarry operations had lost money when the Pampanga provincial government took over its operations from the government –run Natural Resources Development Corporation in 2002.

But Guiao said the officials must look fort solution, not problems, to the low income generated from quarrying in Pampanga.

Asked about his plans for the May election, he recognizes the need for the local government to call the provincial council meeting at least twice a year to discuss some programs, the direction of the province, the priorities and the problems that need to be resolved. The provincial development council is composed of the mayors, the NGOs, congressmen or representatives, and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“Can you imagine functioning and operating a province for 12 years without calling the mayors’ meeting? If you’re going to implement something, you should inform your mayors because they were also elected to function in the same way. So the big picture is that does not happen in our province.”

The business and investment environment is doing well in Pampanga because it is the center of development in Central Luzon. Farming and fishing are the two main industries of the province. Kapampangans are well known for their culinary expertise. As a matter of fact, Pampanga’s Best and Mekeni Food are among the better known meat brands of the Philippines-style sausages and cured meats. To add, tourism is a growing industry in the province of Pampanga–Clark Field, in Angeles City, is home to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Luzon’s second International Airport and designated as the Philippines future premiere gateway site. Within the Clark Special Economic Zone are well established hotels and resorts.

Other developing economies include a semiconductor industry involved in the manufacturing of electronics and computers mostly located within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City.

For Guiao, aside from the developing economies and tourist destinations, which will attract investments, he firmly believes that the measure of leadership is on how you can maximize the given resources and potentials in the province.

“Pineda recognizes all of these needs and that as her Vice Governor, I will be an active part of the plan to put together a credible program for the province,” he vindicates.

Politics can easily turn away any normal person into a corrupt official, but not Guiao. With his Lasallian upbringing, he says his integrity remains strong. “The values La Salle instilled in me kept me from being just another corrupt official. Keeping a firm belief that even in the real world, values of honesty and loyalty still win.”

Article originally published in 2007.

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