By TEODORO SABUGA-A JR.
Team OKKA .
Last of two parts
OVER and above the instituted programs and projects, the Office of the Vice Mayor continued to serve Kagayanons especially the marginalized through the Financial Medical Assistance. Vice Mayor Kikang Uy is particularly passionate over ministering to Kagayanons and allowing them to help themselves at the same time. Thus the slogan, “Tabangi Ko, Tabangan Mo.”
Those who have visited the Vice Mayor’s Office might have noticed how Kikang love to entertain visitors, guests, and tourists in the city that go there for courtesy calls, scheduled appointments, and even impromptu visits. These include the visits of Netherlands Ambassador Marion Derckx, the staff of Senator Grace Poe, the Mandaluyong City Council, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc (ICCPI), the Local Government of Surigao, and the Barangay Council of Singkamas, Makati City, among others.
VM Kikang also recognized the immediate need to strongly support the proposal of Mayor Moreno to acquire lands for the development of more “Sendong” relocation sites which the “babags” failed to do. Take for example the two housing projects for Sendong victims – the 788 and the 722. These figures refer to the number of beneficiaries for each project. The 788 is a DSWD-funded project in the amount of P55 million. The 722 is funded by the Japan Non-Grant Aid Project through the Japan Embassy. The LGU’s counterpart is to provide the necessary lands for these relocation projects. But the Padayon Pilipino councilors or better known as the “babags” led by their self-proclaimed leader of the group Prexy Elipe, with their obstructionist kind of politics, refused to grant Mayor Moreno the authority to purchase lands.
As a result of that lopsided and greedy politics of Padayon Pilipino, the funds for the construction of 788 was reverted back to the National Treasury depriving the beneficiaries their homes. There were even rallies that took place in front of the Legislative Building clamoring for the passage of the ordinance but they all fell on deaf ears. The Padayon members of the City Council were so insensitive they simply ignored the cries for help.
On the other hand, the 722 is now moving and soon will be inaugurated in Barangay Lumbia. Why did the 722 Project see fruition and did not suffer the same fate of the 788 Project? It’s because of Vice Mayor Kikang Uy and the members of the 18th City Council. Without much ado, they passed the ordinance, authorizing the Local Chief Executive to acquire the land for the project. The City Government also shouldered the land development cost and labor to fasttrack the construction.
Alicia Nacalaban, one of the beneficiaries of the 722 Project was teary-eyed when she said, “Salamat kaayo kay Mayor Moreno ug Vice Mayor Kikang Uy makabalhin na gyud mi kay pito name katuig naghandum sa bag-ong pinuy-anan human sa Sendong, sa una ra unta ni nahuman pero lisud kaayo kung naay mga babag sa kalambuan.”
That is the striking difference if our leaders, both in the Executive and Legislative Branch lead with the same passion for service, not for their selfish interests.
Perhaps the added value in Team OKKA’s candidacy is its transparent intention to focus on vulnerable sectors such as the urban poor, informal settlers, persons with disabilities, youth, women, and children. While these sectors might not guarantee a 20-0 win, and while there are other candidates vying for positions in the City Government and Congress, Team OKKA gives importance to addressing the needs of the urban poor, youth, and children, and advocates for a livable city that uplifts the marginalized, a climate-resilient city that is prepared for disasters, and a government that empowers its people through citizen participation.
It is safe to say, therefore, that it is highly crucial to elect leaders who think alike and who have a common mission to serve its constituents. Servant leaders who value vulnerable sectors – those who have less, the least, the lost in expediting legislative agenda for the best of Kagayanons. Team OKKA has 20 champions who listen to these sectors.
To witness to the deadlock in 2013-2015 is not a privilege. Rather, it has provided a compare and contrast scenario which we can now differentiate with the partnership of the executive and legislative departments in the City Government of CDO: Vice Mayor Kikang Uy’s support towards the aspirations of the mayor and department heads is the missing link that was not present during the first term of Mayor Moreno. VM Kikang and the 18th City Council complete the puzzle that leads to good governance.
The vice mayor presides every regular session of the City Council. Yet every legislator focuses on specific areas or measures that one would like to author. And while the general welfare of Kagayanons matter to VM Uy, his agenda focuses on causes that revolve around the environment, youth, and children. In a nutshell, Vice Mayor Kikang’s platform looks into the following:
- Full implementation of Solid Waste Management in CDO through consultations, fora, and development of IEC materials;
- Strengthening of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office;
- Decrease of informal settlers and increase of awarded beneficiaries through the City Housing and Urban Development Department;
- Promotion of Sports and Youth-related programs, projects, and activities;
- Passage of the Ordinance on Payment for Ecosystem Services; and
- Passage of the Health Code
A famous saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Truly, prevention is better than merely responding, rehabilitation or rebuilding. So if it’s not broken, one does not simply fix it. The 18th City Council is one with the Kagayanons in legislating and approving projects in various departments in the city – and this is something that voters need to consider. To quote VM Kikang during the 2nd Housing Summit, he said: “The City Council is not just ours but yours as well. We are companions… I am prepared, we are prepared, to craft whatever ordinances are needed because we might be able to use these soon. This will be an aid of legislation.”
(Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. is the city administrator and concurrent overseer of the city social welfare and development office.)