Brothers pledge continuity in Samal governance

Outgoing Mayor Rogelio Antalan, 69, elder brother of mayor-elect Aniano, 66, was emotional in his parting speech, exhorting the incoming officials for excellence in work and partnership with the people, two strategies he said that took in his full nine year term. 

Antalan said they can boast of their achievements because it is a product of a "successful partnership between the executive and the city council and the people of IGACOS (Island Garden City of Samal)."

Antalan served as the first mayor of the 3rd class city in the province of Davao del Norte with a population (Census 2000) of 82,609.

The city was created through Republic Act No. 8471 in 1998 which paved the way for the dissolution and merger of the former three municipalities of Samal, Babak, and Kaputian into one local government unit, now officially named as the Island Garden City of Samal.

He told his brother Aniano that  the big challenge is how to sustain what they have started. 

The incoming mayor took his oath before the outgoing mayor.

As Aniano took to the podium to deliver his inaugural speech, Rogelio went down the stage and returned to his seat, this time, as part of the audience.
The audience applauded the brothers.

The new mayor, who had worked as executive assistant for political affairs and was a public school teacher for 21 years said he would take on the reins of service but considered it a big challenge to equal his brother's achievement.

He pledged no major changes in his administration saying he would continue projects, such as the implementation of the city's laws on fisheries, housing, livelihood among others.

"But I will also start my own programs in due time," he told reporters in an interview at the end of the program.

Among these programs, he said would be the conversion of the city's circumferential road into a national highway to usher in more development via infrastructure project.

He said among problems bugging the city is poor road networks and conditions.

Antalan also pledged to push for the construction of the bridge connecting the city to neighboring Davao.

He said he would face problems that would be brought by development once the bridge is there "in due time."

The former mayor had stressed the city has to balance between progress and environmental protection to keep Samal's healthy environment. 

"We are aware of the perils of development. That is why I am thankful the bridge was not done right away. But together with development comes the social problems and we can't avoid that,"  he said.

The Export Processing Zone Authority declared the city as a special economic zone this year but the local government unit has to look into balancing priorities considering its thriving tourism industry.

Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative-elect Antonio Lagdameo, who earlier in the day took his oath in Tagum City with wife Dawn Zulueta, took his oath again, sans the celebrity wife, in the city with the new mayor, vice mayor Orly Amit, and 12 city councilors.

The oath taking was festive with rondalla music playing amid the marching beat of the city's drum and bugle corps. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)