THE new administration of Compostela in Davao de Oro will be prioritizing its resources to mitigate flood and its effects to the economy of the municipality, especially that the budget of the LGUs in the province is reduced by around 12 percent to 15 percent.
Compostela Mayor Levi S. Ebdao said during a press conference for their 74th Araw and 16th Buganihan Festival recently that the municipality’s budget was slashed by around P52 million.
"Gikan P360 million ang IRA dati, karon kay ginatawag na'g NTA (National Tax Allotment), nahimo nalang P308 million. Nibaba mi by P52 million. Sa kada munisipyo, lahi-lahi gyud siya'g giubos (From our IRA now NTA of P360 million now we only have P308 million. We decreased by P52 million. In every municipality, there are different decreases)... And Compostela has a lot of problems right now, daghan ta'g ginaprioridad (we have a lot of priorities)... Ako as the chief executive of the municipality, adunay koy prioridad nga tan-aw nako prioridad pud sa majority of the people sa Compostela. Say for example kung mu-budget ko sa Compostela og flood control project, tanan na na dili lang na sa usa ka sektor (As the chief executive of the municipality, I have priorities which I deem are also the priorities of the majority of the people of Compostela. For example, if we allot a budget for Compostela's flood control project, everybody will benefit from it and not one sector only)," Ebdao said.
He stressed that the priority projects of Compostela are not for sectoral but for the majority as there are only two sources of their income, the NTA or the previous IRA and the local income.
He emphasized that his main focus as the local chief executive of the municipality is the economic restoration, which is mainly focused on the agriculture sector.
"We support our farmers through our program, we support the people through our flood control plan and irrigation kay agricultural ang Comspotela (because Compostela is an agricultural area)," Ebdao said, adding that the municipality should give support to their agricultural investors because 70 percent to 80 percent of their (agri investors) employees come from the municipality.
"Ang atong munisipyo napalibutan ni'g mga sapa (Our municipality is surrounded by rivers), our largest river is Agusan River nga naa sa atong palengke dapit (located near our public market). And mga contributory rivers are composed of Maputi, Kambaong Creek and Batuto and Agimawa. Nagsabot nami ni Congresswoman Maricar Zamora nga ang Compostela municipality ang mu-desilt ug mu-widen sa atong mga sapa ug creeks, then si Cong Maricar (the congress) na ang mu-revet/ revetment program (We agreed with Congresswoman Maricar Zamora that the Compostela Municipality will be responsible on the desilting and widening of the rivers and creeks, and Cong. Maricar will be responsible on the revetment program) to avoid soil erosion, and prevent constant desiltation," he said.
Meanwhile, Ebdao revealed that the municipality's flood control plan will be needing more than P1 billion and humbly acknowledged that this will not be finished during his three-year term.
"Dunay nag-expect daghan ta'g masulbad (Many will expect that this administration will solve a lot of problems), problems so huge such as this, dili gyud dali masulbad (can't be easily solved). But I can assure you there is huge changes and improvements," he said.
He added his agricultural program is mainly focused on flood control plan and not farm subsidies citing an example that if the municipality distributes fertilizer, it will become futile when farms and crops will be flooded.
"Makalas ang kwarta sa gobyerno (The government's money will just be put into waste), so we will focus first on drainage program as part of the flood control plan for the agriculture sector," he said, adding that the municipality's equipment and resources will be focused more on flood control and irrigations.
He also cited that previously, one of the municipality's largest agri investors, Sumifru had tended to around 2,200 hectares, but now it slashed to only 1,200 hectares, which led to merge its two plants into one this August 18. The merger of the plants will affect an estimated 308 who will become unemployed.
He said that if floodings will be controlled more companies will be enticed to invest in Compostela which will in turn employ more residents.
Ebdao also revealed his other priority programs which include infrastructure programs and social services; the rest, he said, will be evaluated.
"Why the need to focus our funds? So that there will be changes observed. Sa pag-decrease sa pondo nato karon dili tanan mahatagan nato'g serbisyo, kay sa kwarta nato karon mahulog og half-baked atong mga programs sa munisipyo kung dili ta mag-focus og programa (With the decreasing funds that we have, if we don't focus our resources on our priority program we will end up having a half-baked programs)," he ended. CEA