BAUKO, Mountain Province September 20 – This forth-class municipality was allegedly in total disarray when Mayor Abraham B. Akilit took over its leadership in 2013 with its poverty rate at 63 percent and officials and employees of the local government had pressing issues and concerns in delivering to the people the quality service that they serve from a highly competitive local government unit.
Akilit, who spent 36 years of his government career with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and was known to be a disciplinarian, had the acid test of his career in trying to turn the tables around from what was described as a sleepy town to a developed and competitive local government three years later.
“Every job is a self portrait of a person who does it. Plan and implement one’s work with excellence. This thought has been the guiding principle in manning the local government unit of Bauko since I assumed office last 2013,” Mayor Akilit stressed.
Banking on his battle cry ‘Abante Bauko’ geared towards progress for the present and future generations of residents, Akilit employed his being a disciplinarian to make the local officials and employees feel that they have to strictly adhere to the rules of the game, especially in promptly reporting for work and delivering quality service to the people, that opened the floodgates of opportunities for growth and development enshrined in the programs and projects of the different government agencies and private organizations.
Bauko enrolled in the Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index (CMCI) in 2014 purposely to test the capability of local officials and employees in converting the municipality to a progressive community considering that one of the primordial goals of the present dispensation is making the town a first-class municipality in a span of nine years.
Unfortunately, Bauko landed in 434th place of the 516 4th to 6th class municipalities category during the 2015 rankings and jumped to a close second to La Paz, Abra last year.
Akilit said the local government painstakingly invested on the institution of reforms to transform the municipality from the traditional-based governance to a more responsible and development program-based governance through capacitating local officials and employees and simplifying the transactions done in the local government to attract the influx of investors.
To enhance the revenue collection of this LGU, Akilit disclosed the local government have diligently enforced tax collection on fees/charges, business permits and real property tax and as a way of encouraging the public to pay their real property tax, the municipal government devised a scheme together with the Local School Board that the 50% share of the LGU from the Special Education Fund shall be given to the respective schools in that barangay where the taxes came from, for them to use for educational related endeavours and this resulted to the fact that DepEd teachers and barangay officials became encouraged and actively participated in the collection of real property tax. With this scheme, coupled with the implementation of the incentive policy on early payment and employment of compromise agreement with tax payers on back accounts, Akilit noted the municipal government improved its collection efficiency and increased collection.
In collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Bauko set up water refilling stations and started manufacturing of ceramic water filter to also increase the local revenue.
For infrastructure, Akilit reported the municipal government sought the assistance of DPWH district office for the training of the town’s engineers in all aspects of infra-development and finally the DPWH granted Bauko the capability to implement P22 million last year and P46 million for 2018, after the completion of the on-going 32 million projects implemented by the municipality and funded by DPWH.
“We have intensified the construction of comfort rooms by providing plastic bowls to households, regular garbage patrolling is done by the barangays, regular dengue surveillance is also done by RHU personnel. Finally, the intensification on the construction of Eco-Composting Receptacle proved worthy in the reduction of diseases, cleanliness of public places and in the production of organic crops, where the composted fertilizers are being used,” Akilit added.
In order to preserve the greenery and freshness of the place, he added the municipality crafted ordinances and issued executive orders for the protection of forest and watershed, such as prevention of forest fires, conservation of watershed, prevention of illegal logging, prevention of forest conversion to agricultural lands, requiring a newlywed couple to plant 10 trees, requiring barangays to intensify tree planting and agro-forestry in their area of jurisdiction, among others.
Akilit pointed out DTI is also the town’s supportive mentor in the establishment of many small-medium enterprises. Likewise DOLE and TESDA are helping the local government a lot on training, employment and livelihood.
“Our achievement this year in the area of governance efficiency being 2nd nationwide (3rd-6th class category) is a manifestation of our concerted efforts. That with continuing education and the improvement of each public servant, we can deliver the best service to our constituents. It is in competence, commitment and love of people that keeps us going no matter the odds are,” Akilit stated.
He underscored the town’s achievement is a great motivation on the part of local officials and employees that dictates on them to prepare a more winnable game plan for the municipality, and to be on top in future competitions, they still have to work on individual and collective assignments to improve on infrastructure, economic dynamism and resiliency aspects, which they know seems another impossible dream to journey with, but Mayor Akilit had always been saying that there is nothing wrong in dreaming big, because there is always a prize in doing so; they may be able not to be the best but for sure their concerted effort shall not be wasted because they will be in the better side.