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PIA Press Release

Vision, action, and inspiration made City of Mati

by Neela Duallo

City of Mati, Davao Oriental (1 July) -- After the resounding success of the first citihood day of Mati on June 19, suffice it to say that three elements made up the City of Mati.

The cityhood dream started with the vision of then Mayor Francisco "Paking" Rabat.

Despite the fact the his family was known to be a political rival of the Almario's, but he took the first move, and set a meeting with then Congressman Joel Mayo Almario in June 2001.

For questions of certainties, of what might transpired in the meeting, the young lawmaker did not show up, but not until the third time that Rabat called for a meeting with him.

In the meeting, Rabat opened his heart out to the man many years younger than his age and who had just blossomed as a leader, and signified his desire that before he will close his eyes to this mundane world, he will leave a legacy to the people of Mati, and that is the cityhood of Mati.

Amazed with the sincerity of the man, and sharing the same dream for Mati, Almario also vowed to do all he can to bring the dream into reality.

The forging of the two political bigwigs in the province of Davao Oriental opened the door that was once closed and seemed not to open at all.

Almario then started working on the cityhood of Mati.

He filed the Cityhood Bill of Mati which turned out to be a painstaking experience.

"I was up against more than a hundred congressmen, and the senators who were against the bill. I have to lobby for cityhood even at the wee hours, going to their places, convincing them that we are qualified to become a city," Almario recalled.

There were times when the lawmaker almost lost his patience and thought of quitting.

But as they say, a quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.

And after years of struggling it out, of pushing the cityhood bill, with the support of the local officials of Mati and the people, finally the cityhood became possible.

So, on June 19, 2007, in time with the 73rd birthday of Mayor Francisco Rabat, history unfolds for Mati.

After the resounding "yes" votes for the cityhood of Mati on June 18, 2007, the following day, June 19, then Muncipal Election Officer Ali Acbar-Sangcopan officially declared Mati as a component city.

Now, a year after, Almario can only sigh with a smile to follow.

"They say Mayor Paking Rabat is a man of vision, and I'm a man of action. But we cannot made all these possible without the inspiration we got from the people of Mati. And with our alliance, the constituents can expect more projects, gearing towards more development," he stressed.

Mayor Michelle Rabat, the heiress to her father's throne, was quite nostalgic with the celebration.

"How I wish my father have seen all that is happening now. This is his long time dream. And we will continue with what he started for us," she said.

Now starting to shun away from the shadow of his father, the Lady Mayor has started to carve a name for her, now dubbed as the "Iron Lady" of the City of Mati as she, with just almost a year at the helm of the city, has proven that she says what she means and she means what she says. (PIA XI) [top]

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