Balbalan rises to self-governance
Balbalan, Kalinga (10 October) -- Summing up all its achievements during its 100 years of existence as a political unit, it is on the area of self-governance that could best describe the development stage Balbalan has attained today.
This is how Mayor Allen Jesse Mangaoang describes the place celebrating its centennial anniversary on October 6 marking a century of change that evolved from its primitive beginnings to a semi-modern life. Balbalan now has the things any urban community could showcase.
"But what is very significant of these changes is the level of governance it achieved from humble beginnings to the successful management of its resources," Mangaoang said adding that the local government unit (LGU) tried to maximize the utilization of what is available.
Mangaoang, the 17th Chief Executive of Balbalan is now on his third term as Municipal Mayor. He is the great grandson of Juan Puyao, the first President of the district whom Lt. Gov. Walter Hale describes as a principled man with magnetic personality and having a strong visionary leadership. These traits of Puyao is also dominant in Allen Jesse, also a peacemaker and builder of his time.
According to local government assessment, Mangaoang he is the only Mayor in the province of Kalinga who turned their resources and assets earn income.
Under his leadership, the support of his legislative counterpart, barangay captains and the whole constituency, Balbalan was able to transform its classification as "poorest" municipality before into a 3rd Income Class, an objective which was phenomenally attained given the fast phase of development during the implementation of the local government code.
"We did it not by magic (other LGUs projects unrealistic income just so to receive bigger share from the internal revenue allotment or IRA) but through hard work and convergence of minds and actions," Mangaoang, a Geologist by profession proudly claims in an interview.
"Under the principle of autonomy, we made a turn-around in local governance and eventually decrease our dependence from higher LGUs, national and international donors for assistance by starting on what we have and making them productive for our own use," Mangaoang, who is also the President of the Mayors league said.
"Our income revolves within the municipality, our money just the same comes back and spend again for other projects," he said. Balbalan is responsible in opening its barangay roads contracted by administration with its heavy equipments purchased from its IRA.
Mangaoang said they bought the heavy equipments at P4.3 million and to date, the LGU was able to save or earn P50 million by implementing its own projects. Aside from various micro hydro power plants and solar source of power, the LGU bought a generator set at P700,000.00 which is self-liquidating since it also earn income from payments of households from four barangays served by the energy source. They also built a 3-storey hostel complete with amenities at a rate of P150.00 per person a night.
For good performance, Mangaoang said the LGU is considering giving centennial bonus to its employees provided it will not exceed the 13th month pay and if Department of Budget and Management allows the grant of an additional incentive. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]