OPINION: Can first-termers in Davao Region make real dent to be reelected?

aug 27-sept. 2, 2014


By Cha Monforte

Who seyz that the Election 2016 is still far? It’s near. One full year and 1 month from now politicians will be filing their certificates of candidacy, if the timetable of the last two elections set by the Comelec is to be the gauge. I said again (from my last column), sorry. It’s because the period before October 2015 COC filing can make or break especially incumbent first-termer mayors or governors. We have Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon, Mati City Mayor Carlo Rabat and Davao del Sur Governor Claude Bautista as examples. Have they performed well since July 1, 2013 Day 1 that would make people say they need another term by 2016? If people say kulang pa, then this 1 year from now can make or break them. In our country’s politics, politicians often bank on hard infrastructures. Makit-an, eh. That 1 year is first seen to be estill enough to construct public buildings, bridges, cement roads, etc. They have to beat the project’s lag time and lengthy government procurement process that eat time before people can see structures being constructed. That 1 year is also enough to deliver tens of thousands of social services, the soft projects. Mabati, eh. The 4 Ps did not originate from the the first termers, although the list of indigents got fat by their additional beneficiaries. C’mon deliver more soft projects now for the great many constituents before it’s too late. What about their reforms, policies introduced in their respective governance styles? Or their governance itself as a whole? Are first termer chief executives making their LGUs so transparent and accountable that the full disclosure policy is being installed and institutionalized? See, there are more to be done, and this 1 year from now appears to be isn’t enough. They have to strike on what’s strategic, doable, plausible and “impact-ful” (heard that last word from Coke spokesman Atty. Adel Tamano in his Tagum sortie here last month). The mayor or the governor is the head of the local government unit and he is considered as the most powerful and the most influential figure in the LGU who has the overall command in the deployment of governmental resources and manpower. Indeed, he can make and unmake. But he can also be the cause of stagnation.


Tuesday last week I went to Samal Island to gather news. I managed to catch last-termer IGACOS Mayor Aning Antalan in his office and fortunately got again a little access to “interview” him. The other week he blurted with my brief presence, “You and I Party! Ahhh, maayo ni kay may kongresman nga moanhi lang dinhi sa Samal panahon sa eleksyon, ug mangasaba pa gyod!” Last week, he blurted: “Ingna si Gov nga gamay lang kwarta dire sa Samal para i-develop ang Talikud!” in reply to my question if he was in favor to make the Talikud Island a separate municipality out from its own four barangays. Then he waived his right hand, a signal I clearly understood he didn’t want to be interviewed at all. I exited and went to the nearby Sanggguniang Panglungsod building, where a session of the elected was going on. The mayor is making himself scarce to the media even the friendly ones.

Nonetheless, the bits of statement of the most powerful figure of the island need a little discussion. The first is about political formation and politicians’ presence, the second about limited government resources vis-a-vis the challenge to make special development of the islet that people said can be made as Samal’s own Boracay. The U & I (Uswag IGACOS) Party that the Antalans have organized can be a potent force for solidifying development that they have introduced in the island. There’s no debate on that, especially if the party formed has a sort of ideology, paradigm, framework or set of principles that its top leadership, hardcore leaders and membership believe to be what the island needs to truly develop, than just being formed for political convenience of the Antalans.

If the U & I Party is to become indeed a force to reckon with, it must have a set of beliefs and principles that express the collective aspirations of the island’s people and foremost, understood and believed also by the people. The political aim of capturing political power in the City Hall, maybe indefinitely, comes just easy that the party leadership need not be disturbed by rare visitation of a district congressman. Samal Island is yet a special frontier. It is fast becoming a topnotch weekend hideaway of people from Davao City and neighboring provinces and foreign tourists with its largely unpolluted beaches. It can become a so powerful island in the next decade. It must develop out from the unity and energies of its people and leaders. A true and serious political party is what it needs to make the island powerful out from prosperity. The Antalans seem to have seized a good start now than before.

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