The attainment of the long-desired development of Talikud in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) is totally dependent on the will of its people. They know the problems that have been bedeviling their island for the longest time and they too are very much aware that they are part of the problems.
More unknowingly their actions — or inactions — or lack of it, made them the biggest supporters of the efforts of some of those installed as leaders of their own island, the city, province and the congressional district where they belong, to maintain the status quo. Therefore, if they are part of the problems, they too, are very much a part of any solution, or even the ONLY solution. They have to fight the status quo; make change happen in themselves and their society.
To achieve this we believe that the residents of the Island of Talikud have two major options. First, they have to choose local government leaders who commiserate with their plight and who are willing to help the island and its people move forward economically.
The second is for them to mobilize themselves into action to explore the possibility of converting their status from an overly isolated barangays of IGaCoS to a new town that will be run by its own people and not by those who hardly set even a single step on the lime stones that make the island.
Of the two courses of actions the people of Talikud Island have been given the chance to exercise the first one. But it is apparent that they themselves have been bungling the opportunity in the past many elections.
During the midterm polls last May 13, 2019 the residents of Talikud as well as those of the other barangays of IGaCoS, made somewhat unexpected choices of leaders especially at the provincial and congressional district levels. They too retained the young mayor of the city with changes in the composition of the local government’s legislative body. They helped infused young blood in the city’s leadership.
However, for now no one knows if their recent choices of leaders were right. What with tales of vote buying during the last elections! If we have to believe the claims of both contending candidates for governor, congressman, and even for the local bets there were massive buying and selling of votes in the whole of Davao del Norte including the island city and its four barangays inTalikudisland.
In fact we were told by a Talikud resident whom we met and happened to know us by name because of our having been in broadcast industry in the past, one political party gave voters P1000 each with several kilos of rice. But the contenders from the other party topped it off by doubling the amount. Our informer even proudly claimed that he/she got both the P1000 plus rice, and the P2,000 being given. But our volunteer informer told us he/she voted for the candidates he/she liked. How then can the result of the May 13 election in IGaCoS , the province and the district where the island city is a part be trusted to produce the leaders who will sincerely spearhead the development efforts of Talikud Island? After all, the elected officials can claim the people voted for them because of the P1000 or P2000. So what could compel them to work hard for the improvement of the four barangays in Talikudisland when their votes were bought?
But of course we agree to claims from certain sectors in the community that there still remain some good men and women in a society mired by greedy interests of politicians and their backers. Based on our conversation with a good number of island residents we immediately sensed that the few good men are just around the 4-barangay island waiting for the right opportunity and a leader to help them take the second option. That is, to pressure the government into changing the island’s status from mere barangays into a town chipped off from its mother city.
Yes the move is kind of “revolutionary.” But the people of the island’s four barangays have also their constitutionally guaranteed right to self-determination. They claim that their island only gets the attention and concern of their elected leaders during election time. But in between their chosen leaders seem to find it extremely difficult to even visit the island and check on the needs of its people. And they’d rather not deny this gospel truth. The existing infrastructure projects in the entire island are incontrovertible monuments of the leaders’ neglect.
Of course any such move is not likely to happen if those residents of Talikud who have the mental capability, the talent and the will to mobilize pressure groups will remain silent and unconcerned. They have to keep their feet on the lime stone ground of Talikud even if they are somewhere practicing their profession and skills to make a living for their families. They should remain the islander instead of being “foreigners” to their home island.
We however found a proposition from some of those we have talked to that they give the newly elected leaders of their city, province and congressional district the first half of their terms to prove that they are the right choices they made. Make real development start to happen in Talikud. And if failure to keep the elected leaders’ promises is eminent then the second option in the Talikud residents’ aspiration for the development of the island becomes the best measure to take.
As the saying goes, “If you want a helping hand you can find it first at the tip of your arm.” Apparently the people of the island have already found themselves their best allies in getting out of the rut.