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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Misamis Occidental Governor underscores peace and order as keys to progress

From being a hotbed of crime in the South, Governor Henry S. Oaminal shared how the success of peace and order initiatives in Misamis Occidental turned it into one of Northern Mindanao’s leaders in development indicators. 

In an interview, Gov. Oaminal shared the progress milestones that the province has achieved in less than a decade, such as in its infrastructure, employment, economy, and labor and employment.

But before Misamis Occidental could achieve such leaps forward, Gov. Oaminal recalled the poor state of the province’s law enforcement as a “challenging part of our history,” marked by crime, insurgency, and even terrorism.

The province could have been “the drug and organized crime capital of Mindanao,” said Gov. Oaminal, if peace and order initiatives couldn’t step up. Apart from the threat that the Kuratong Baleleng Gang previously posed in the area, the conflict also arose from the presence of rebels.

The governor attributed the province’s liberation from crime and violence to the cooperation of local government units (LGU) with law enforcement improvement efforts, as well as the work of the previous administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ozamiznons can now freely walk without any fear of harassment from the bad elements,” said Gov. Oaminal. According to him, this is the realization of one of the tenets of his 5M platform— “Misamisnon Magpuyong Malinawon Malambuonug Malipayon,” or “Misamisnon Live Peacefully, Progressively, and Happily.”

The governor proudly shared that the province is witnessing consistent progress with criminal threats under control. He also shared that more businesses are being established, “and the job opportunities that were created out of it are getting better.”

From being one of the poorest provinces, Misamis Occidental posted in 2021 “the highest significant improvement in poverty incidence among families,” according to data by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)—from 32.7 percent poverty incidence in 2018 to 23.3 percent in the same period in 2021. According to Gov. Oaminal, lately, the poverty incidence has further decreased to 18.30 percent.

According to the governor, public infrastructure also heavily contributed to the province’s development. “We gave more attention to the improvement of our roads,” he said. During his three terms in Congress, Gov. Oaminal happily shared that municipal, provincial, and national roads were now 95 percent paved. Through good fiscal management, the province continues establishing more health centers and improving educational facilities for Misamisnons.

Peace and order initiatives will continue to be one of the priorities of the provincial government, according to Gov. Oaminal, affirming that “when there is peace, there is development.”

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