If it ain’t broke, why fix it?-A A +A
Monday, September 24, 2012
THAT basically was the gist of United Sugar Producers Federation president Manuel Lamata’s message when he urged Negrenses to vote for Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. “Why experiment with a new one when we have seen the governor’s performance?”
Of course, it’s too early to campaign but I have to agree with Mr. Lamata on this one. Like Lamata, I have been monitoring the program and platform of Marañon Jr., from his stint as solon to becoming governor of the province.
In 1995, I joined a research team to do a socio-economic profile of coastal communities, the report of which I edited. The findings were incorporated into the passage of Presidential Proclamation 592 declaring approximately 32,000 hectares of Sagay’s Territorial Waters as Protected Seascape under the National Integrated Protected Area System.
Then Congressman Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. drafted a bill providing for stricter enforcement of the laws at the protected areas that became Republic Act. No. 9106, “An Act for the Establishment and Management of Sagay Marine Reserve, defining its Scope, coverage and for other purposes.”
Two years later, the SMR won for the City of Sagay the prestigious Gawad Galing Pook Award as one of the Ten Most Outstanding & Innovative Government Programs in the country and was also awarded in 2006 as Best Eco-Tourism Destination in Western Visayas.
As a sugar planter, Marañon Jr. has contributed his share to the improvement of the sugar industry, the province’s prime export industry. Yet he proved over and over that under his political leadership, Marañon could see far beyond his nose and, for that matter, beyond the sugar industry.
Again, as Lamata noted, Marañon’s agricultural diversification program has enabled the province to be nearly self-sufficient in rice, something never accomplished by any former governor in the past.
I can remember our fears on what might happen when his brother Joseph passed away. Will there be continued state support for organic agriculture?
Thank God for then Gov. Isidro Zayco, who sustained Joseph’s programs and even managed to intercept GMO contraband that were about to be smuggled inside the province.
When Gov. Marañon Jr. took the helm, he continued the support policy on organic agriculture.
I have been deeply involved with the organic agricultural movement in the province. I have attended enough meetings with Gov. Marañon Jr. to know how he strongly supported this emerging economic sector that made other provinces and even Metro-Manila sit up and take notice of the province.
Then, there’s Marañon Jr.’s programs on animal husbandry on the propagation on cattle, swine and sheep and the poultry breeding programs. Locally produced pork is exported by volumes outside of Negros Occidental.
As for Marañon Jr.’s Negros Occidental Language Information and Technical Center, of course, it’s too early to tell what the outcome would be. But at this critical crossroads when Negros Occidental will soon confront year 2015, I see no signs of panic.
So who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf of 2015? Barely no one, I’m happy to note. I see no signs of panic or sense of doom when tariff-free imported sugar is expected to flood the Philippine market.
The province has moved far beyond the concept of putting all eggs in one basket. The provincial economy has strengthened because of the diversification measures that see Negrenses through when the province hits 2015.
Will a change of the guard in next election year fix what ain’t broke?
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 24, 2012.