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MARCH 25 01



Fulfilling his unfinished dreams

By Glenn Beup

The former town mayor of Madalag, Aklan speaks of his dreams for his townspeople as revealed in this interview. Although he has retired from public service, he has succumbed to the appeal of his constituents to fulfill all his wonderful dreams.

This article expresses the sentiments of former mayor Archimedes Nabor Orbista.

Glenn: During your incumbency as Mayor of Madalag, what were the beneficialities that you had given to your constituents?

A. Orbista: For the first time, our municipality was reached by land transportation when the bridge across Timbaban river was constructed. I coordinated with concerned agencies in the construction of farm-to-market roads as well as the improvement of existing ones; initiated the opening of primary schools to barangays that have no schools and the extension of the only high school in our municipality in Barangay Alaminos; initiated the restoration of peace and order in remote barangays.

The construction of the Municipal Hall annex building was realized during my incumbency. There were also remarkable improvements in the municipal plaza aside from the acquisition of the municipality of a land site for the proposed dry and wet public market situated in the poblacion. Another acquisition of land site intended for the extension of the municipal public building at Brgy. Balactasan was made ready for future use.

I am proud to say that I facilitated the annual appropriation of an amount from our IRA for the purchase of medicines given free to the constituents; this was coupled with the construction of health centers in various barangays and the opening of day care centers in other barangays.

The inclusion of the municipality as recipient of the Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services of the DSWD was also pushed through. I likewise coordinated with the NAPOCOR personnel who conducted feasibility studies on the on-going proposed Hydroelectric Power Project at Barangay Ma. Cristina, Madalag, Aklan. The on-going reforestation project in remote barangays started during my term when I coordinated with the DENR to make our municipality a beneficiary.

Glenn: Am I correct with the impression that it was because of the issues brought against you by then Municipal Councilor Inosanto, now Mayor of Madalag, over Bombo Radyo Kalibo that you were defeated in the 1998 elections?

A. Orbista: In a way, but then there were other underlying factors.

Glenn: Can you still recall any issue that was brought against you at that time and can you please make a clarification before this paper?

A. Orbista: One of the issues brought against me during that time was the purchase of computers by the municipal government. You know, Inosanto alleged over the radio that there was overpricing in the purchase of said computers but this is not true because the transactions were all done accordingly as was required in all government transactions.

My only intention then was to help our employees with the manual works they do without the computer. I tried to raise the standard of service for our constituents by acquiring such modern technologies.

In his (Inosanto) term, he also bought computers but nobody made an issue out of it although my partymates in the sanggunian led by SB Member Eunice Nadua Llegue were also in doubt with the purchase.

I didn't give much attention to those issues then because I know that he was just using me to further his political ambition.

Glenn: Last 1998 elections, you lost against your opponent for only 33 votes and it is considerably a slim margin. Was it because of your miscalculations on your chances, or because of other reasons?

A Orbista: Because of other reasons, one if which was the sufficient resources and overwhelming popularity of now deposed president Estrada (from the opposition party) who contributed to the election of the present leadership. Another is that, allegedly there was dagdag-bawas perpetrated by some members of the election board.

Glenn: Did you decide to run because of the slim margin of votes in the past election? Or is there another reason?

A. Orbista: I decided to run due to the appeal of the people from various sectors in our municipality. The appeal for me to run again is quite overwhelming that even my family consented, so I finally decided to join. The same people have urged me to run as they have seen in the present leadership that development has been hampered due to so much politicking in all transactions and official undertakings.

Glenn: How would you assess the performance of the incumbent Mayor?

A. Orbista: Unsatisfactory due to lack of short and long term development programs for the municipality.

Glenn: This writer was informed of the massive extraction of quarry materials along Aklan river without necessary permits from the local government unit concerned. This is allegedly tolerated because of the "percentage" that goes to the local executive referring to the present mayor. How would you comment on this?

A. Orbista: I am not sure of the issue, but I have heard of it.

Glenn: Based on your observations, what are the problems of your municipality?

A. Orbista: Aside from the present leadership, the problems are poverty and unemployment.

Glenn: What suitable improvement can you make in the municipality being an ordinary citizen? How about when you get elected?

A. Orbista: Madalag is a very promising town. The beauty of nature is still there, having been untouched by civilization; in this aspect our municipality should be developed in such a way that would not compromise the environment which includes the unpolluted rivers and creeks and the virgin forests that have yet to be explored. Development should be done by having these attributes promoted as a tourist destination in a manner that would not, as I said, compromise the environment.

Glenn: What are your chances of winning in this coming election?

A. Orbista: I want to be optimistic; the people are dismayed due to unfulfilled promises during the campaign in the last election as well as the dismal performance of the present leadership.

Glenn: Under what particular party are you running?

A. Orbista: The administration party Lakas-NUCD-UMDP.

Glenn: Can you please lay down your programs of government in case the people of Madalag will give you another mandate to serve them.

A. Orbista: If I were to get another mandate as local chief executive, I would recommend to the sangguniang bayan a speedy legislation on five major areas: Economic Growth, Health and Sanitation, Barangay Self-Reliance, Quality Education, and Sports Development.

To attain our vision of Madalag 2004, working hand in hand with the officers and men of different national agencies like the DOH, DA, DSWD, DILG, DECS, DENR, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a must.

Our main objective for Madalag by 2004 is to achieve stability, security and prosperity for our people -by continued construction of farm to market roads to effect the delivery of basic services; protection of our natural resources and conservation of our forest, rivers and creeks; provision of quality education by improving our school buildings to be conducive to learning, conducting outreach educational programs to far-flung barangays by providing school buildings, and facilitating for the DECS to provide teachers to increase literacy rate; the transfer our public market in accordance with our zoning ordinance; and following-up the early implementation of the on-going Hydro-electric Power project situated at Brgy. Ma. Cristina, Madalag, Aklan in order to serve the different provinces in the island of Panay particularly Aklan being the recipient of additional taxes derived from the said project.

Glenn: Madalag is far from Kalibo, if you travel through the Western side of the province. But you can make a short cut by crossing the Aklan River. If you were elected into office, would it be possible for you to undertake the construction of a bridge in that area?

A. Orbista: During my tern, this short cut by crossing the Aklan River from Brgy. Paningayan to the Poblacion was already included in the Regional Development Plan of Region V1 per our resolution requesting for funding assistance in the construction of said proposed bridge.

Glenn: How and when did you start entering public service?

A. Orbista: As Chief of Police of our municipality in the 60's.

Glenn: What is the reaction of your family regarding your political comeback?

A. Orbista: At first they were hesitant, especially my children, but due to the persistency of our supporters they consented.

Glenn: How many children do you have?

A. Orbista: I have 5 children, they are Alona, Brenda, Carmelo, Archimedes Jr. and Daisy.

Glenn: What values did you impart to your children?

A. Orbista: To be humble, honest, respectful, and just in dealing with other people.

Glenn: Tell us about your wife. How does she help you in managing your family as well as your political affairs?

A. Orbista: My wife, Daisy, is a simple housewife. I take pride of what she has done in rearing our children to become what they are now. As regards my political affairs, my wife has always been supportive though she only stays in the background. She has never interfered with my official functions when I was still Mayor; all the she did and still does is entertain the visitors who come into our house.

Glenn: Share with our readers your life as a child, as a teen-ager and as an adult.

A. Orbista: I was born in a barrio where my family led a simple life. My childhood and teenage years were spent partly in Madalag and partly in Libacao, in the same way as those of my contemporaries in our town. As an adult, my activities were already geared towards public service. I was lured into it because my father was then considered as one of the leaders of Madalag and its neighboring town, Libacao.

My career in public service ranged from being the Chief of Police, as an employee of the Land Transportation Office, as Provincial Warden of Aklan and eventually as mayor of Madalag. When I lost in 1998, I applied for retirement after more than 30 years in public service.

Now, most of the time I stay in the barrio to tend to our farm where I am most comfortable.

Glenn: Finally, what is your message to your constituents?

ealing and reconciliation must begin at our level and this coming election will be our chance to express our desire for change--a change that would bring all of us a sense of prosperity that we all desired for. Hence, let us choose our leaders not only on what they say but also on what they do, personally or publicly.