(I delivered this message during the 52nd Founding Anniversary of the Municipality of Tinglayan, Kalinga [June 24, 2015] as part of the turnover of completed projects undertaken by the CHARMP2 and the local government unit.)

SOME of you will be disappointed with this talk, some will understand. You ask me just now to deliver a message for and in behalf of the Department of Agriculture ((DA) and the CHARMP2 Project. You do honor me and I am grateful. I will oblige your request, as a soldier does instinctively when confronted with a situation in the mission field.

I will not talk about the projects given to you by the government and CHARMP2, as if I am some benefactor or an important instrument in making project funds come to you. I have no authority from my superiors to speak for them in this occasion, so I will not indulge that honor which you give to them.

I know in my heart that the projects we just turned-over are yours from the start. They are yours because you made things happen, and more important, you teach us some very good lessons in managing rural development in this side of the globe.

I will also not talk about giving more funds and projects. I do not see or understand why I will oblige you with a speech that suggests I am an overlord talking to dependent subjects. I am not given to that bent of talk that suggests any shapes or forms of dependence. The reverse is what the DA is. It exists to serve its masters, the nation's farmers wherever they reside.

So while here in Tinglayan, let me talk about Mount Sleeping Beauty, an inherent natural resource this place is known for all these years. It still is sleeping this very day, but it transmits the message that I will talk about today.

The beauty of Mount Sleeping Beauty reflects a heritage that needs awakening in each and every soul - the beauty of discovery and altruistic purpose, about waking it up, and making us work together to do something great in these mountains. It is beauty that I believe, made you own what you have and hopefully will bless you more in this age and time.

The CHARMP2 with the local government units and project beneficiaries implemented the following projects in Tinglayan: 1. Rehabilitation of three farm-to-market roads benefitting the barangays of Butbut, Tulgao East, and Belong-Manubal; 2. Reforestation (385 hectares) and Agroforestry projects (57.4 hectares) implemented with four farmers association in the barangays of Butbut Proper, Tulgao East, Belong Manubal and Basao; and, 3. Agricultural livelihood assistance projects to include provision of livelihood assistance funds, equipment support and trainings in partnership with 13 farmers associations.

The total funds expended for the completed projects and turned over today amounts to P7,667,643.50.

Mr. Hilario Aggalao, Municipal Development and Planning Officer, said that on the average, the rehabilitated roads cut travel time from the Poblacion to their destination points by one hour. The more important point is that it made the beneficiary barangays more accessible to government service. Communication is now easier, and transport is more safe and comfortable to the beneficiaries. In their previous conditions, cars would not travel those roads and people hiked from their places and going back home after transacting business in the Poblacion, Mr. Aggalao reported.

On reforestation and agroforestry, CHARMP2 worked with four peoples' organizations and produced some 8,927,695.98 tree seedlings that were planted in a targeted 385 hectares of community watersheds. Some 715,483,000.00 seedlings out of a target of 770,154,000.00 seedlings were already planted by the Project's partner peoples' organizations. The survival rate of the seedlings planted, according to the Presidents of these organizations ranges from 80-100 percent, which way far better than the national average.

We look forward to very successful and rewarding outcomes from the implementation of the CHARMP2 agribusiness and income generating projects here, after more training on the operation of turned over equipment, and guided exposure and experience on managing livelihood projects shall have taken their full effect.

I understand that the implementation of these projects in the beginning had to overcome several obstacles.

When Mayor Johnny Maymaya took over as Mayor of the town, he saw through the need of having the projects implemented in a participatory manner by easing the control of the LGU in the implementation of the projects.

The usual practice in the implementation of development projects is to have the mayor control everything. "No project is ever implemented in the town unless it passes the mayor's hands," Mayor Maymaya said.

He changed that outlook of governance.

In Tinglayan, the essence of participatory development implementation engages the local residents in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of projects in their communities. By culture and tradition, the communities undertake development projects together, whether these are funded from outside or community self-help undertakings. On rural development, what they needed is technical guidance and financial assistance. This is where we come in not as politico-economic overlords in our tall hierarchies administering self-serving pursuits. We must focus on being trusted public servants that guide them in their quest for progress, Mayor Maymaya said.

Mayor Maymaya talks about participatory development from the lessons he himself learned from the old ways of the tribes and his experiences as a politician. He explains that not all of the old and the new are bad. "You have to balance the good practices of old and new ways to move forward," he said.

In practice, he cites how the Barangay of Ngibat implemented more than a kilometer of cemented footpath and an irrigation project. Both projects were completed by the community they used to doing with outstanding result. All they needed was guidance from our engineers, not to be told about who will be the contractor, who will be hired as workers, and other concerns that divide and make development initiatives suspicious.

Mayor Maymaya told me last night that the second cycle of Kalahi projects implemented in Ngibat and the rest of Tinglayan, out of your unity and determination to make these serve quality rural development has been evaluated by an American consultant. Your projects have been passed with excellence. In effect, this consultant recommended that Tinglayan may proceed in the implementation of its proposed third cycle Kalahi projects.

What you have done, suggests a very interesting model of managing people and development projects that is very appropriate to the Cordillera interior communities. What you have done should awaken this generation in documenting and studying this model for upscaling and sharing to others. Pursued to its great ends, the model should spell great changes and better ways of rural development that will continue our sustainable and beautiful markings about progress, development and the march of life and good living in our mountains.

Congratulations on your 52nd Founding Anniversary!