City of Mati, Davao Oriental — As the province wrapped up its successful hosting of the Davao Region’s biggest sports event on Friday, March 24, the provincial government also launched on the same day its year-long golden anniversary celebration, with thousands of crowd gathered at Mati City’s picturisque Baywalk Park to witness a joyous countdown that was capped by a breath-taking fireworks display by the sea of Pujada Bay.
In a message read for him by Vice Governor Nino Sotero Uy, the province’s chief executive, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, dubbed as the “Golden Governor”, says the 50thfoundation anniversary celebration of the province “is an occasion for us to salute the wonderful people of Davao Oriental, our colorful history, the icons and the business people, and the milestones of the past fifty years that have made Davao Oriental a fast-rising and economically vibrant province in the Davao Region today.”
“Fifty means a lot of things in different cases. Fifty centavos could not even buy a candy for a kid. Fifty minuits is also not enough to tell stories to a dear friend whom you have not seen in ages. In terms of age, fifty is when one reaches a high level of confidence and maturity in dealing with life’s many complexities. For a married couple, fifty years of togetherness signifies security and the depth of the relationship to enable them to deal with and overcome the adversities and challenges that threaten the core of their partnership. Indeed, fifty years makes a lot of difference. It spells a whole lot of difference and change for the province. Thanks to the pillars of the province, our founding leaders, we have found our own place in the sun,” says Governor Dayanghirang who assumed office when the province would mark its golden anniversary this year, thus he earned the monicker “Golden Governor” of the province.
“Actually, there are more than fifty reasons to celebrate the province’s golden anniversary. Among them are the following: Our tourism and the local economy that creates jobs and cultivate local entrepreneurship, our infrastructure which provides service-oriented facilities in local communities; our innovation that redefines local governance; cultural preservation that protects our cultural heritage through local efforts; disaster preparedness that strengthen our capacity toward resiliency; environmental management, revenue generation, water and sanitation, housing and basic utilities, and there are many more! We have passed the test of good local governance. Proof of it is the latest Seal of Good Local Governance being conferred by the Department of Interior and Local Government to Davao Oriental. We are the only province in the Davao Region being conferred with such distinction. And we will have to raise the ante a notch higher because the challenges of good governance become even more demanding and difficult,” says the governor. The DILG conferred the much-coveted Seal of Good Local Governance to Davao Oriental after the province passed the test of good local governance by meeting three core criteria: financial administration, disaster preparedness and social protection, as well as any one of the essential criteria – business-friendliness and competitiveness, peace and order, and environmental management. The Seal is the province’s passport to gain access to the Performance Challenge Fund and other DILG funds.
PAYING TRIBUTE TO PIONEERING LEADERS
“As we all set our sights towards the future, let us feel more confident that come what may, the glorious past will always be part of our memory. On the occasion of our province’s golden anniversary celebration, let us trace the growth of our resplendent province over the course of history. This is an appropriate time to share with you the facts about how Davao Oriental came to be, the people behind its creation and growth, the dangers it went through, the losses it suffered, its rehabilitation, how our past leaders served the public, what it hopes to still accomplish, and its directions for the future. What thrill it is to discover, for instance, the legacy landmarks, including the written thoughts of Davao Oriental’s pioneering governors. Surely, this will awaken in us the sense of awe for the priceless records that serve to trace the extraordinary qualities of our province’s pioneering leaders deemed as among the best, brightest and noblest men and women of their times. Yes, they are our local heroes. The qualities that made them extraordinary are the qualities that we honor today. But these local heroes are not just the creation of their own times, they are also the forceful projection of Davao Oriental’s destiny and will. They defined our province’s quality. As we celebrate the province’s golden anniversary, we will also recognize the strong pillars of our province, our founding leaders, both elected and appointed. Let us pay tribute to them for they are our local heroes. We may not know the full circumstances of their brand of leadership, but we do know they did not shrink from the fire when the call to duty came. Neither do we know the complete names of our fallen local heroes buried in humble or unknown graves elsewhere. We only know that when duty called them, they came,” says Governor Dayanghirang.
LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
“Our wide open spaces, our clean seas and abundant forests makes Davao Oriental a land of opportunity. We have an opportunity to be a model for the rest of the country. Aside from being the sunrise capital of the Philippines, the province of Davao Oriental is also host to Mindanao’s one and only World Heritage Site: The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. You know the saying, to whom much is given, much is expected in return. We have been blessed with a wondrous natural beauty, rich biodiversity, ancient and strong cultural traditions. Much is at stake in Davao Oriental. And much can still be saved and protected. Alone, I cannot do all these, but together, as one solid province, we can make a difference,” says the governor. By Ferdinand Zuasola