Mayor experiences Filippino culture

By Gus Bode

Surely Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole has a lot of correspondence to catch up on.

Cole, who was out of the office for an excursion in the Philippines from August 3 through August 17, was out of the city for the better part of the first half of August.

Accompanied by eight fellow delegates of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, an association of political leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 from all over the country, Brad Cole traveled to the Philippines for a 14-day acclimation to Filipino government.


Cole led the group, acting as the liaison between the host country and the group of U.S. delegates. His escort position required that he organize aspects of the meetings with the Filipino government.

After visiting Manila, where the US embassy is located, the group traveled to smaller communities and provinces of the Philippines to understand the relations of its national, regional, and local governments.

Cole said meeting with local, regional, and national Filipino legislation occupied most of his time, but opportunities for casual social activities and even a chance to see unique wildlife common to the Philippines like the tarsier the world’s smallest primate.

While Cole said he traveled without expense to the Philippines, Councilwoman Mary Pohlmann said she was concerned about not knowing who provided funding. She said the council is sometimes asked for expenditure approval after it’s been spent.

“Maybe we could see that this was a part of his role as a mayor and totally justified, but I would’ve liked to have known ahead of time,” Pohlmann said.

ACPYL’s acting CEO, Quentin Lide said most of the funding for its delegates is provided by a grant that the ACYPL receives from the U.S. Department of State.

“Participants aren’t really required or asked to fund anything other than personal expenses, phone calls, things like that,” Lide said.


Cole said one of the most touching things of the experience was his chance to get a first-hand look at the Bataan Death March memorial. He also said he enjoyed meeting with the Filipino people.

Cole said that despite the poverty and economic strife of their country, there were “no friendlier people” than Filipinos.

“The real plus,” Cole said, “was just interacting with people and building friendships and developing relationships with a democracy and a real friend of the United States.”

The trip was Cole’s second with the delegation since his nomination by Chicago U.S. delegation judge Glen L. in 2002. His first trip was to Northern Ireland.

Daily Egyptian writer Amber Fijolek can be reached at 536-3311 ext/ (262) or [email protected].