Calbayog Mayor and RDC Chair Mel Sarmiento (2nd from the right) with (r-l) Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez, Governor Raul Daza, Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance and Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez (extreme left) (Photo by Vaugh Calvara)
CATARMAN, Northern Samar - The three Catholic Bishops in Samar island spearheaded the 8th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPaD) forum at the Ibabao Hall, Capitol Building here last Sept. 19.
The three who actively initiated the SIPPaD Forum were Bishop Emmanuel Trance of the Diocese of Catarman, Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of the Diocese of Calbayog and Bishop Crispin Varquez of the Diocese of Borongan.
The SIPPAD forum gave way to the discussion of three major areas - good governance, peace and order and environment protection. Representatives from various government and non-government agencies attended the forum.
Two of the prominent persons who composed the panel of speakers were Governor Raul Daza and Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento who is the current chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC).
Gov. Daza talked about good governance. He admitted that there was a gap between good governance and incidence of poverty in his province. He particularly mentioned the latest report of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). Based on its report, Northern Samar is the number one poorest province in Eastern Visayas Region and number seven in the entire Philippines. In 2003, during his first term, the same agency rated Northern Samar as number two in the entire country in terms of good governance.
He explained that good governance could not guarantee better economic condition of the people. On the other side, we could not conclude that the improved economic situation of a certain province was due to good governance of its leaders.
Daza told the participants that he is continuously looking for some means to reconcile the gap between his good governance and the poor economic condition of his constituents.
Earlier, in a press conference, Daza’s son, Congressman Paul Daza, blamed the geographical location of Northern Samar for its being poor. Cong Daza told local reporters that N. Samar has “geographical disadvantage” compared to other provinces which have improved economic climate.
Cong. Daza explained that the province belonged to the country’s typhoon belt and it was far from business capitals in the Philippines like Leyte which was also the source of electricity supply. The far distance from Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant to Northern Samar caused the frequent brownout in the province. (GARRY A. VACUNAWA)
SIPPaD sidelight. Governor Daza giving Bishop Trance and Mayor Sarmiento a tour of the Governor's Office. (Photo by Vaughn Calvara)