BY LOUIE MALIZA
Padayon Pilipino .
WITH the dipping poverty incidence and a higher employment rate of more than 94 percent, the province of Misamis Oriental is now on the cutting edge of progress.
This has given the provincial government, propelled by the active leadership of Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano, the optimism to achieve more for the people it serves.
The progress and development felt today in the province is affirmed by an upward trend in terms of its infrastructure.
Under the Infrastructure Development Program of Governor Emano, accessibility to the farthest corners of Misamis Oriental has gradually become possible. Since he was elected governor in 2013, the provincial government has already constructed and maintained a total of 734 roads and bridges. These road and bridge projects have been implemented in both the first and second districts, connecting a total of 396 out of the province’s 424 barangays.
“Certainly, the opening of the road and bridge networks has provided economic opportunities to the constituents living in hinterland barangays,” Emano said.
The governor believes that with accessibility, these people’s probability to earn more will improve considerably. “The availability of road networks facilitates the sale of the hinterland residents’ farm produce at a competitive price in the market,” Emano added.
Based on the 2015 report, the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) noted that the poverty incidence among families in Misamis Oriental was pegged at 9 percent. In other words, of the estimated 888,000 population in Misamis Oriental, only about 14,000 is within the poverty threshold. In 2016, the employment rate in Misamis Oriental was reported at more than 94 percent. This means that the unemployment rate during the same year was only about 5 percent. According to Emano, the unemployment downtrend is attributable partly to the expansion of road networks under his infrastructure development program. He explained that the establishment of road networks has helped provide the hinterland villagers access to employment opportunities in the province’s urban centers.
Roads and bridges, however, are not the only key factors in Misamis Oriental’s infrastructure development. The development of port areas, being part of the government’s maritime infrastructure program, also plays a crucial role. Today, Misamis Oriental is hosting 12 government ports, including, among others, the Laguindingan Airport and the international container port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. A development plan for the conversion of the Laguindingan Airport into an international airport is now underway. When the plan will be realized, Laguindingan Airport is expected to initially host direct flights to other Southeast Asian countries. On the other hand, the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental is the only port in Mindanao capable of bulk handling. A bulk handling container port is engaged in handling Mediterranean cargoes, which could not be accommodated by ordinary port of call.
Emano also emphasized the construction of various school buildings and healthcare facilities in Misamis Oriental as an integral part of the province’s infrastructure program. Generally, there are two kinds of infrastructure projects – lateral and vertical. The vertical infrastructures are all about the construction of public buildings for economic enterprise, education, and even health care. While the lateral infrastructures include the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. With a sound infrastructure program, Emano is confident that the province of Misamis Oriental will continue to assert its leadership as the springboard of social and economic progress in Northern Mindanao.
(Louie Maliza is with the provincial press office of Misamis Oriental.)