Lanao Sur couple on leading with passion, purpose, and love

Contributed photo
Contributed photo

IT TAKES two to tango, and in Lanao del Sur, it takes a couple to bring out the best in one of its humble municipalities. Meet the formidable twosome of Taranka, Atty. Amenodin U. Sumagayan, and his wife Nashiba Sumagayan, prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to leading a city.

Beyond the familial love, they contribute to local politics, the couple shares a deep passion for public service and an undeniable staunchness for the betterment of Taraka. As history has shown, they have effectively transformed the municipality through community development, livelihood projects, improved healthcare, and excellence in education.

Their joint passion has made it possible to preserve Taraka's cultural heritage while fostering partnerships that have resulted in essential infrastructures, improved public safety, and economic growth. With enthusiasm and love, they are determined to create a lasting legacy of unity and prosperity, born out of their kindred hearts and shared calling.

"My main advocacies revolve around fostering community development, promoting education excellence, improving healthcare access, and preserving our cultural heritage," Mayor Sumagayan said.

As the mayor of Taraka, Atty. Sumagayan dedicates his time to implementing livelihood projects to uplift marginalized constituents, ensuring peace and order through strong law enforcement, and enhancing the overall quality of life for residents.

Upholding the core of his leadership style, he also prioritizes enhancing the community through educational opportunities, healthcare services, and infrastructure to further progress in the municipality. Moreover, he commits himself to preserve their rich Maranao heritage by promoting historical sites, traditional arts, and cultural education.

Both hailing from distinguished backgrounds, Atty. Sumagayan and his wife, Nashiba Gandamra-Sumagayan, have each carved impressive paths in their respective fields. While Atty. Sumagayan completed his Bachelor's degree in Management and pursued a career in law, he made a profound life choice by devoting himself to public service, steering clear of the allure of practicing law in bustling cities. Fueled by an uncompromising allegiance to his roots, he adopted a resolute calling to serve as the Municipal Mayor of Taraka, Lanao de Sur.

Nashiba Gandamra-Sumagayan, an exceptional Moro lady and former professor in English Language and Literature at the Mindanao State University College of Social Sciences and Humanities, shares Atty. Sumagayan's profound commitment to the community's well-being. Presently, she serves as the vice mayor of the city, adding to the testament of their united dedication to public service and the advancement of Taraka.

"Together, we lead Taraka with purpose, leveraging my education and experience and my wife's expertise to bring positive change and progress to our beloved hometown. Our shared passion for public service drives us to work collaboratively for the benefit of the people we serve."

As politicians, they also encounter moments where they may not see eye to eye in balancing various interests, managing limited resources, and navigating complex political dynamics. However, what sets them apart is their remarkable resilience as a couple, which is evident through their open communication, active collaboration with stakeholders, and steadfast pledge to a shared vision of positive change.

Their enduring relationship, built over an extended period, allows them to consistently listen, adapt, and work in unison to overcome challenges and achieve their goals for the betterment of the community. This resilience and tenacious passion have translated into successful advocacies for the city, making a tangible impact on the lives of its residents.

During Atty. Sumagayan's tenure in leadership, their municipality underwent remarkable transformations, particularly in revitalizing the Municipal government to be more responsive to the community's needs.

Addressing the scarcity of clean water in the municipality, they undertook the construction of a Potable Water System Project, ensuring access to clean drinking water for all residents.

To bolster the local economy, small entrepreneurs were encouraged and prompt collection of taxes was initiated to promote local commerce and trade and encourage local sellers and investors.

With a keen understanding of the challenges faced by the locals, Atty. Sumagayan's administration spearheaded impactful livelihood projects aimed at providing subsistence farmers and marginalized individuals, offering them valuable economic growth opportunities.

Notably, the construction of several Solar Irrigation Projects across different farming sites in the municipality significantly aided our local farmers in achieving improved yields and enhancing agricultural productivity.

Recognizing the paramount importance of healthcare, the administration prioritized and significantly improved it. They successfully established a functioning Rural Health Unit, a birthing clinic funded by the Zuillig Family Foundation, and acquired ambulances for swift responses to emergencies.

Inspired by his wife, and her mother Dr. Aminah P. Usodan's impactful role as a College Dean and Professor at Mindanao State University, he took the initiative to encourage the government to forge a partnership with the Synergeia Foundation, aimed at enhancing educational quality through retraining programs.

Moreover, they jointly organized Lakbay Aral for Brgy. Chairmen and Municipal Officials, fostering a culture of continuous learning and facilitating the exchange of ideas.

Acknowledging that quality education requires proper infrastructure, they invested in school buildings. Drawing inspiration from his father, Engr. Titingalangit C. Sumagayan, known for his remarkable contributions to infrastructure development as a DPWH District Engineer and Regional Secretary, Atty. Sumagayan refocused on making significant construction plans, such as concreting previously impassable roads and constructing multi-purpose buildings, utilizing funding from government agencies and the District Representative.

Mayor Sumagayan and his loving wife, Vice Mayor Nashiba, remain deeply committed to preserving the municipality's cultural richness and historical treasures for both visitors and future generations of Maranaos, never forgetting their heritage.

Among the tourist spots they aim to highlight are Baab Ur-Rahman Masjid, one of the oldest mosques in Lanao and the Philippines; Dibarosan, symbolizing discipline among Maranaos; Abdans or Gusis, showcasing Taraka's history as a trade destination; and Torogans, antique royal houses representing Maranao artistry.

"By celebrating our cultural identity and promoting Taraka as a captivating destination, we aim to boost local tourism and share our heritage with the world. Together, we continue the positive development of Lanao del Sur, supporting Governor Mamintal A. Adiong Jr.'s vision for the region."

Despite their numerous joint projects and commitments, they prioritize maintaining their relationship. Through active communication and relentless support for each other's roles, they manage to find time for quality moments with their family, ensuring a harmonious balance between their professional and personal lives.

"By setting boundaries, nurturing our relationship, and valuing our time, we ensure that our partnership thrives both in politics and in our personal lives. Our enthusiasm for serving the community is balanced with the joy and love we share as a couple, creating a fulfilling and harmonious life together."

On a lighter note, the couple delights in relaxing and unwinding through various hobbies and cherishing quality family time. They share a mutual passion for sports such as badminton and mountain biking, which keeps them physically active, strengthens their bond, and creates precious moments together.

"As a family man, spending time with my wife and kids is of utmost importance to me. We love to travel together, exploring new places and creating cherished memories. These moments of togetherness bring us joy and help us recharge amidst our busy lives in politics and public service."

As the power couple looks forward to the future, the center of their plans is on progress and community development. They intend to sustain livelihood projects to empower subsistence farmers and marginalized constituents, ensure lasting peace and order through strengthened law enforcement efforts, enhance healthcare services, improve access to basic amenities, foster education excellence, strengthen government linkages, and promote transparency and communication within the municipality.

"My overarching goal is to continue serving Taraka with dedication, integrity, and collaboration, fostering growth, prosperity, and opportunities for all," he said. PR

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