Tabogon mayor, Lapu-Lapu City brand

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


I HAVEN'T been to the northern town of Tabogon for a long while. The last time I went there was several years ago during the burial of veteran newsman Abe Licayan. I therefore had many questions for Mayor Zigfred Duterte when I met him at the baptism of the grandchild of my friend Ramon a few weeks ago. Duterte replaced third termer Eusebio Dungog last year.

Ramon, a veteran organizer, is helping Duterte set up organizations in the town’s barangays through which livelihood projects will be coursed through. He said Duterte has been working to provide services to the barangays including those that are far from the town center.

Duterte actually struck me as a soft-spoken and unassuming man. But he is no stranger to politics because he served as Tabogon councilor before winning in May 2013 over Liberal Party (LP) bet Ronald Quinain and Lemar Alcover. He ran under the National Unity Party (NUP).

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Duterte was understandably careful about talking about politics considering the changed political landscape in Cebu with the takeover by Gov. Hilario Davide III of the Capitol. We talked at length instead about the town’s potentials especially in tourism and sea travel.

Tabogon town is facing Leyte and can develop a route to and from the said province.

But it needs to develop its port. I remember fourth district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon talk about the possibility of setting up a container port in the town. I don’t know if he is still pushing for it.

All I can say is that Tabogon is in good hands. Duterte, though, needs to be creative in realizing the town’s potentials.

***

My friend Balbino “Ka Bino” Guerrero e-mailed to me materials about the recent project of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, which is to attach a brand to Lapu-Lapu. As they say, “the aim is to communicate and build a strong and meaningful identity that accurately encapsulates the unique attributes, values and personality of Lapu-Lapu City.”

For this, Lapu-Lapu has chosen the tag, “The Historic Resort City,” which brings into focus its claim to being the home of the chieftain who killed the Portuguese explorer for Spain, Ferdinand Magellan, in 1521 and to its being the base of globally known beach resorts.

The branding is complete with a branding icon called “Lapu-Lapu in the Sun” with the image of the hero formed from a stylized and colorful depiction of the sun and its rays. The catch phrase is “Lapu-Lapu, The Historic Resort City.” Expect from hereon the branding icon and the catch phrase to surface everywhere in Mactan island.

The project establishes Radaza as a better CEO than her husband, who served as city mayor for three terms. The mayor started slow and only hit her stride in the latter part of her first term (she is now on her second term) with her creativity and aggressiveness in marketing the city to outsiders. She is therefore a good fit for a growing city.

The branding project, however, merely concerns form. Having a brand is one thing, ensuring that the brand adheres to a certain level of quality is another thing.

Branding succeeds only if the product is saleable. The tag “The Historic Resort City” may attract attention, but visitors should find substance in it when they visit the city.

The challenge for Lapu-Lapu now is to improve its delivery of services, notably the basic ones like those involving infrastructure, peace and order, traffic, garbage collection, etc. Lapu-Lapu can a “historic resort city,” but if its roads are dilapidated and criminal elements roam around freely, the brand won’t matter.

Or should I say the brand would be shattered.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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