COUNCILOR ORTIZ: “Good governance for Samal Island”

mar 6-12, 2014

“Preserve our being an island without a bridge”

IGACOS- City Councilor Alberto Ortiz vows he will push and bring good governance in Samal Island.

“That’s the bottomline,” he said in an interview.

Igacos Councilor Ortiz

Igacos Councilor Ortiz

Presented with a range of a mayor’s qualities that the island currently needs to propel its development, he laboured to respond that the island needs “a good mayor working for good governance, showing transparency and taking accountability in his administration.”

“Naa na tanan ang mga gikinahanglan sa syudad para ma develop. Naa na ang mga balaod, ang mga pattern, systems, good governance na lang ang kulang,” he said.

His thoughts in developing the island long reigned by the Antalans reveal that Ortiz is a practical visionary politician: he wants to push what’s already in place and not yet seriously taken.

And he acknowledges to be a politician now while he dismisses the misinterpretation to the meaning of politician that is easily taken by the people as “equivalent to corruption and power.”

“No, that should not be. It begins with helping people,” he added.
“I did not come here as a politician,” Councilor Ortiz declared.

He is living in the island for 7 years now.

He recalled that when he retired from private work as an executive of Metro Drug company, he was attracted to the island’s freshness.

So he bought a piece of land by the seashore at Barangay Tagbaobo in Kaputian District and built his retirement rest house.

Later did he know that he was already helping people in the community, and realized that he has turned a politician.

Encouraged by the community people to run in formal political contest, that is election, and so in last year’s election he tried running-and won.
He added that a politician should be ready and willing to embrace people, the poor, no matter what even if the politician has spotted them to be untidy or to have skin disease. Ortiz is no pretender.

In the interview, Councilor Ortiz shares his thoughts on the gut and leading issues of the day in Samal Island.

On the issue of constructing a bridge connecting Davao City and Samal Island:
“I am no so particular with having a bridge because in the first place the island is just near to Davao City. It’s better that we preserve our being an island. If there would a bridge, there would be high migration of people. There would be proliferation of squatters, and next comes the problem of waste, then the problem of food. How can we feed them (people)? It’s good travelling on the sea. “
“What’s needed is the improvement of ferry facilities and docking terminals. There should be one entry port for every district (Samal has 3 districts). In that way, we can increase our revenues from ports and account more the arrivals of tourists and people to the island.”
On the issue of the fencing of shorelines by resort owners:
“Bawal man gyod na (pagkural) sa balaod. Based on law, the people should have free access to shorelines.”
What are the basic needs of the city?
“Power, water and roads. We need to have reliable and adequate power supply to develop. Our water supply and service should be improved. So with the roads. These are normal things we need and which can be normally addressed through just having good governance.”
On alleged monopoly of sea passengers and cargo shipping in route of Davao City to Samal Island, vice versa:
“Na-open na man with the entry of a new player. The other one has still low passengers’ level as most of those coming to the island are observed to be from the Davao City proper and southern parts.”
On locating industries in the island:
“That’s OK but only for light industries. An example of it is an industrial plant that produces coco oil from the coconuts planted in the island. Naturally, light industrial plants would be located in industrial zones and would have to abide with our zoning ordinance.”
On the putting of casino in the island:
“Everybody’s welcome in Samal Island. Whatever investment that can give employment and livelihood to our people is welcome. If may high-end hotel, naa pod na ang casino. It can be regulated though.”
On the smoking ordinance:
“It can be liberally implemented kay tourist destination man gud ang Samal.”
On taxing the poor small fisherfolks:
“We have deleted already that provision of taxing the poor small fisherfolks in our revenue code. It’s anti-poor. It’s only the big fishing business that should be taxed.”
On charging environmental users fee ( EUF) to motorcycles and vehicles entering Samal Island:
“There is a current measure in the City Council to increase the EUF from P5 to motorcycles and P10 to vehicles, which I support kay gamay ra kaayo na. It’s to increase the city revenues. But the Samal residents are exempted from paying. We will be implementing an ID system to effect this exemption.”
On the concept of garden city:
“I’m a nature lover. Everybody’s welcome in Samal Island. I go with the island’s vision of developing an “urban setting in a garden city’. I’m currently the chairman of the City Council’s environment committee. We will be going to Palawan before we will approve the environment code. Perhaps, we can copy the Palawan’s experience in developing their area alongside protecting the environment.”
On the services and projects he launched as a councilor:
“I’ve been launching medical missions for our people. I have personnel who liason with those patients that need to be brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center, with my vehicles bringing them to the hospital. The vehicles proved to be useful since the high cost of transportation is a big problem of people during family crisis situations. Health is one of my prime concerns. People also use the vehicles during burials of their relatives. Layo ang menteryo dire. I also launched a livelihood assistance program for the councils of women and for the youths in the barangays. Councils of women and youth organizations are extended each with P10,000 livelihood fund.” (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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