A FRIEND who works at the City Hall invited me to visit Cogon Market and the City Economic Enterprise Department (CEED) last Tuesday to see for myself how they do things. It was an invitation I could not resist knowing that the department is run by no less than the seasoned and multi-awarded local legislator Ian Mark Nacaya.
True enough, my visit was very timely as I saw how the good councilor discussed issues with seven groups of ambulant vendors around its vicinity.
For those who have been in the city long enough, it was common knowledge that the biggest problem we had in Cogon Market before were the undisciplined illegal vendors occupying almost all the streets anytime of the day making Cogon area the ultimate choking point of all traffic in the city.
Apparently, this time, all these vendors have already been organized and have been allowed to continue their livelihood from 7 in the evening until early morning, allowing the legitimate tenants to earn and pay their dues during the day while also giving the marginalized groups the chance to engaged in trading at night - a win-win situation and surely a very inclusive direction. Noteworthy as well is the fact that all streets there are already passable, thanks to Councilor Nacaya.
After his meeting with the ambulant vendors, I did not let the opportunity pass without talking to him to ask how a law maker like him ended up doing an executive function and doing it so well.
In my interview, Nacaya narrated how after the 2016 elections Mayor Oscar Moreno asked him to be the majority floor leader in the council even when at that time he was still with the rival political party. He took the offer with the condition that he will manage the markets.
Later on, the mayor appointed him as overseer of the whole CEED operations and not just markets, thus the innovations. With such positioning, the major markets in the city to date have earned more than 30 million pesos already, never before achieved in the history of Cagayan de Oro as markets then were always losing and were always subsidized by local funds.
Again, why play an executive role when he was elected by the people as city councilor? Nacaya happily narrated that he has been in politics for 26 years and has seen and hustled with the real issues that beset the city. For him, he is willing to do what it takes just to forge the needed change that people deserve. And while it is true that being an overseer of the economic enterprise is pretty much executive in nature, he continues to lead the city council as majority floor leader in their work as they craft ordinances that effectively address major concerns of the Kagay-anons.
As a legislator, he continues to steer the direction of our city into becoming a metropolitan as he toils to overhaul the comprehensive land use plan to propel progress. If given another term he hopes to come up with the book of codes and not just codes of ordinances in our local legislation.
Politics is not all sweet, he says. He gets bashed on radios and gets negatively labeled with all sorts of things but if there was one clear lesson he experienced in his 26 years in service, it is the fact that when the government gets into the affairs of the community, there is just so much that the government can do which would ultimately uplift the lives of the people.
Indeed, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya is on top of his field. He is by far the most seasoned local legislator we have and surely one of the most productive implementer too in his stint with the executive department.
Sadly, he is more like the exception than the rule in the local council.