May 19, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Newly elected and re-elected local officials of this capital town took their oath of office on June 30 at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol grounds.

In his inaugural speech, Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” B. Tudlong, Jr., shared the roadmap of his administration in the next three years.

The roadmap which he labeled “Englangakha: Achieving the Vision for a Dynamic Bontoc”, encompasses the four pillars of his administration to include ecosystem generation, empowered communities, economic empowerment, and governance.

Englangakha is an old Bontok term meaning “to shine”.

Ecosystem generation covers the strengthening of environmental and solid waste management programs, disaster resilience and climate change adaptation through the establishment of tree nurseries and tree planting activities in all the barangays, implementation of improved water system distribution, and sanitation.

The second pillar which is empower communities shall include promoting health and nutrition, local culture and the arts, strengthening support for education and youth development, and maintaining peace and order.

Economic empowerment focuses on the promotion of organic agriculture, recovery of local enterprises, boosting sustainable tourism, and promotion of green infrastructure. Noteworthy is his plan to brand Bontoc as the “Pancake and Patupat Capital of the North.”

The fourth pillar is good governance of which he assured to continue to invest in human resource development.

Tudlong assured his administration will sustain the programs of the former administration and will introduce new, creative, and innovative programs and services that are beneficial to the community.

Also, in recognition of residents of Bontoc who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields, an annual Search for Most Outstanding Citizens of Bontoc shall be conducted.

“So as Bontoc rose under Mayor Franklin Odsey’s leadership, I hope that it would shine more brightly during our term. I took the oath before God and people, committing myself to discharge to the best of my ability the duties and responsibilities as mayor of this capital town. Not as mayor of those who voted for me; but as a mayor for all. Not as a public servant of those who voted for me; but as a public servant for all. And I mean to do just that – to be a servant to for all,” Tudlong said.

He rallied for unity, support, and teamwork from elected officials, stakeholders, and the community and set aside political differences for the realization of the roadmap and the new administration and to bring Bontoc to greater heights.

Vice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen and the councilors assured their support to Tudlong and unanimously solicited unity, support, and cooperation among the public and partner stakeholders.

In his valedictory message, the former mayor said it has been his honor and pleasure to have served Bontoc as he marks his 30 years in public service.

“It is my hope that my service to our town these past nine years have been commensurate to the trust that you have reposed upon me for three terms. I also hope that my stewardship as mayor has made a positive and lasting impact on our community and on our town’s future,” he said.

Odsey gave a brief report of the accomplishments of the administration for the past nine years which is from “An Era of a Job Well Done” to Bontoc on the Rise”.

Among notable accomplishments are more livelihood opportunities, better infrastructure to include the construction of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol, better health delivery systems and services, increase in the number of local government personnel for more efficient and effective delivery of government services, substantial increase in revenue, more funding for essential programs, closing of Matoytoy-ok open dumpsite and improvement of solid waste management programs, improvement of Manggid Water System which will soon substantially increase distribution of potable water supply to the four central barangays, increase support to the education sector and to sports and culture and the arts, increased support to the 16 barangays and functionaries to include the tanods, barangay health workers, and the lupong tagapamayapa, support to Mountain Province State Polytechnic College’s bid for universityhood, support to day care programs and facilities, improved and expanded services in disaster risk reduction and management, efficient Covid-19 response and the highest vaccination rate in Mountain Province, 16 midwives for the 16 barangays of Bontoc – a ratio of which only Bontoc holds in the province, and the Bontoc Rural Health Unit having the most number of permanent nurses in Mountain Province.

With all of these undertakings, Bontoc was a Seal of Good Local Governance National Awardee from 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Bontoc was also one among the only four LGUs in the Cordillera that was granted the Performance-Based Bonus in 2019 and the only LGU in CAR granted the same in 2020.

The Municipal Accounting Office was also given a national Hall of Fame Award for 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Furthermore, Bontoc was among the only four municipal and provincial LGUs in CAR given a rating of Beyond Compliant (Excellence) for its disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction and management initiatives. – Alpine K. Malwagay