*This series is intended to provide our local candidates a platform to communicate their message to the electorate. I invite our readers to interact with us in a healthy discussion of the issues raised in each of my installments. Please visit our Facebook page @SunstarCDO. Again, this is not an endorsement, just a ground for us to know our candidates a little better as they lay down their platforms for the 2019 midterm elections.
Nef Luczon and I dropped by at the governor’s office one afternoon for what turned out to be a long interview about his platform for 2019 midterm elections. It was my first time to meet the young governor although I already had a short consultancy stint with his administration years ago on a research project.
Gov. Bambi started sharing that he got into the capitol with an inherited P1.2 billion debt and nothing more than P550 thousand left in the coffers to run the province. With nothing much to work on, he banked on positioning the province as a tourist destination. When asked why, he shared that tourism industry has no politics involved, everyone gets to benefit once it kicks off, besides MisOr has so much to offer when it comes to beautiful spots. Now he said the debts have slowly been paid and the province is bracing again for more progress.
Leading the province was an uphill battle for him at the start as there was strong political divide and only a handful of mayors supported his administration. Some village chiefs wanted to avail of his programs for the different barangays but were not given the necessary documents by local councils to comply with requirements. The province then was very polarized. But the younger Emano was all set to deliver. His goals were clear and his targets were ready. During the last 6 years he focused on health, infrastructure, transportation, peace and order, and education.
On health, he allocated budget to barangays to build health centers while he sustained the services of the 8 provincial hospitals. With grassroots focused, the province performance to prevent morbidity and mortality has significantly improved based on the Department of Health data.
His flagship program is on eco-tourism, characterized with protecting the environment. His programs focused on capacitating communities and generating income for the poor and the marginalized. He even cited that before, MisOr had to import supply of ‘balut’ eggs from Pampanga, but this time, local communities can already supply the whole province with the demand for ‘balut eggs’ propelling local economy at the grassroots level. Even now that we are under Martial law, the number of tourists who come to visit MisOr has continued to multiply. An indicator that his flagship program is gaining momentum.
He has a bias for strengthening community cooperatives all over the province. He has released P7 million to help fund and sustain programs and projects of local coops.
In education, he prides in helping 17 thousand graduates as he continues to provide educational scholarships for the poor.
The governor’s orientation about public service is anchored on the poor and the marginalized, that even in targeting industries, he eyes on those that are labor intensive to provide more jobs. A bias which resulted to a 9% decrease in poverty incidence in the province.
When asked what his secret was why he does not have any pending legal case, he said he does not take short cuts.
If there was one thing I was impressed by the governor, it was the fact that he knows his numbers. He sets his target and he is very output driven. I would suggest though if he ever wins his last term, he can balance his efforts in tourism with attracting more entry of industries that can facilitate significant improvement of the quality of life being enjoyed by his people. MisOr is geographically very strategic for manufacturing industries as we are rich in natural resources while at the same time enjoy high accessibility to all major farms in Mindanao.
I also hope he can continue to forge stronger cooperation among local government units in MisOr, because truly at the end of the day, it’s the people who gets to suffer or enjoy the fruits of good governance.