COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
During one afternoon program of Walang KuKurap: Sugpuin ang Kurapsyon over radio station dzRH, Mayor Rey Uy of Tagum City was guest on air through phone patch. As the two anchors took turns in interviewing the Tagum mayor, what was revealed was a picture of local governance in progress. Uy answered questions relating to the steps he made in the fields of agriculture, employment, environment and other concerns in local governance.
Mayor Uy said that the “development of agriculture for rural centers is basic.” And as such, this is one area where the chief executive has been efficient in utilizing the land. It helps that he is a graduate in agriculture and that he can effectively supervise his development programs. Tagum’s agricultural area is being planted with banana for export, especially in the making of banana chips. Another major crop grown in the area is coconut while a smaller portion is allotted to rice. While the rest of the available land in smaller plots are planted with fruits and vegetables.
Uy has implemented a “Plant Now, Pay Later” program wherein his constituents are encouraged to plant durian and other fruits in their backyards or other lots not grown with the major crops. The local government provides the seedlings, fertilizers, and technological know-how, then, the planters are only obliged to pay back after eight years when the trees have yielded fruits and have sold them in the market.
He also proceeded with the planting of mangroves. The older mangroves were previously destroyed to give way to nipa production. But now, Mayor Uy had the nipa palms uprooted for the agriculturist in him said that once they rot, the fish avoided the area. With the mangroves now in place, the area becomes a habitat for crabs and other water products for consumption. Uy even regaled that water organisms are also like human beings and you have to create a park for them to live.
Talking of employment in his city, Uy reported that Tagum has a low unemployment rate. This is largely due to a progressive economy and a high literacy rate – being number one in Mindanao and number three in the country. The city has likewise developed a high level of skills training in bartending, welding, butchering, physical therapy (massage), and cosmetology.
A directory of skilled workers has been made so that whenever a new business opens in the city, a supply of manpower is made available to an investor. The construction business has been in boom lately and the investors only have to check the list to avail of carpenters and other construction workers to employ. Tagum even supplies bartenders to Marco Polo Hotel in the city of Davao.
Aside from the employment generated by the activities in agriculture, construction, and the service sectors, the locals are also into gold trading. Moreover, Tagum is a transportation hub, the place being located as a crossing to a few routes in Southeastern Mindanao. Hence, business is also thriving in this specific center.
As the country is experiencing the effects of global warming and climate change, Mayor Uy is responding with the city’s efforts at saving the environment. Trees have been planted, 800,000 of the latest count that Uy said “you will see fog between 6 P.M. and 6 A.M.” within the city. Palms can be seen along the highway, islands, parks, and subdivisions. Uy has also been strict in the implementation of the “Clean Air Act” where he stressed that even the tricycles plying within the city streets are on four stokes to prevent smoke belching.
As in the many aspects of his governance, the city mayor has been innovative in implementing his programs. In the field of health the city government resorts to high funding for their hospitals that they don’t depend on Phil. Health.
Programs have also been implemented in the field of arts. Through education, scholarships are given to those who have talents in playing a musical instrument while summer art workshops are being conducted in painting, photography, and dance. The thrust is to develop talents for a career and also to minimize young people from loitering around. As a showcase for talents being honed, festivals are held regularly in music and in dance.
At hindsight, as the city of Tagum is being governed efficiently and effectively with honesty, creativity, and goodwill, it appears that the people are content that criminality is very low. Did I hear it right when Mayor Uy said he has only “90 policemen”? But as Uy earlier asserted that “the law is in place, just implement it,” one only needs political will to make a community a better society for all concerned.
September 16, 2010