Too Much Politics is Anathema to Progress

Inaugural Speech of Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento
Mga tugang kong Catandunganon!

Enot, gusto kong ipaabot sa sainyo ang sakong dakulang pasasalamat sa itinao nindong suporta kan nakaaging eleksiyon
. I am very grateful for the trust and confidence that you gave me. By this formal ceremony, I swear to exert all efforts within my power to serve the interest of all Catandunganons, as a manner of repaying the support that you bestowed upon this representation.

A day's work of a local farmer.
I also wish to express my deepest gratitude to my loving wife and kids, my mother-in-law and all my relatives, for their unselfish support and untiring efforts that, for the large part, contributed to my success in my last political foray.

Likewise, let me extend my invitation to everyone to attend our thanksgiving party – called Handog Pasasalamat, to be held tonight at the Virac sports center.

I have specifically opted to celebrate and mark the beginning of my term, in the midst of the common Catandunganon, who prayed, hoped and sacrificed that I should be the province’s lone representative to the House of Congress.

The election that was just concluded was both innovative and novel in many respect. For one, it was the first automated election in the country where we did away with the tedious, troublesome and time-consuming manual count.

It also showed a departure from traditional political campaign tactics and it saw ingenious election strategies.

In my case, for instance, you will note, that I shunned traditional campaign practices and instead choosed to run without the usual political line-up that is the usual fare of other parties. For I believe that, in the final analysis, the people have the ultimate power to pick their own leaders.

And so I placed my fate in the hands of the ordinary electorate during the last elections and as it is, the Catandunganon did not forsake me. It is just proper that I should celebrate; sa tahaw kan mga katawohan na nakidumamay asin nagtuon sa sako tanganing sakong makamit ang tagumpay.

Looking back, it behooves upon us to take stock of the lessons of the last elections – that if one would only have faith in the people, they will repay you with the same confidence accorded to them.

It is not surprising therefore that, in spite of the machinery and the wealth of their opponents, the ones who emerged triumphant in this province - and even at the national scene, are the leaders who have established direct rapport and personal relationship with the electorate. Su mga lideres na pirming kahampang asin nakakaibahan kan mga ordinaryong namamanwaan, iyo man ang sinuportaran kan mga elektorado nin Catanduanes.

This occasion marks a new beginning and on this significant event, allow me to state my unwavering commitment to institute in this province a different kind of politics and governance - a kind of leadership that is participatory and consultative; a brand of leadership where the welfare of the people takes precedence over personal aggrandizement; a form of governance that puts high regard to the basic needs of the people; and more importantly, a type of leadership that is morally upright.

And, to signify and re-affirm my kind of politics, I pledge once more to fulfill a platform of government that truly reflects the sentiments and desire of the people for a progressive province.

This is an agenda for development, very well articulated during my campaign sorties, with the acronym HEALTHY; the same development agenda drawn through a series of consultations with all sectors of Catanduanes – and truly representative and symbolic of the people’s aspirations. Sarong plataporma na tutugunan ang mga batayang pangangaipo kan lambang Catandunganon.

And so, with your support, we will endeavor to achieve, henceforth and unto the next three years – or beyond if needed, the improvement of our health and social services by upgrading our health facilities. It is my wish to see in this province a modern hospital with state-of-the-art equipment where the medical needs of the people can be addressed without need of seeking medical attention elsewhere.

We will also enroll the remaining 6,000 or so indigent constituents into PHILHEALTH and provide fund assistance to indigent patients and their specialized medical needs.

And, in case you have not noticed yet, we have a looming water crisis as water resources become scarce due to the El Nino phenomenon and our logged out forest areas. Along this line, I intend to provide water system, if possible, to every barangay, that water should flow to every household.

The children and the youth, in whose hands the future belongs, shall benefit from a program whereby damaged school buildings will be repaired and new ones constructed; reading centers will be established; technical assistance provided; and a sustained feeding program for malnourished children will be instituted.

No longer endemic Pili tree.
As I believe that education is a passport to a better life, I intend to provide educational assistance to children of every poor Catandunganon families, that, in the future, there could be a college graduate in every household.

On the other hand - the environment that we shall hand down as a legacy to the next generation, should be protected through programs that put emphasis on environmental conservation. We should care for whatever remains of our natural resources.

It is also in my plan, this province being geographically located in an area where disasters are natural occurrences, to assist in the establishment of a functional disaster management system in Catanduanes, by helping in the needs of all stakeholders in the province.

Agriculture, our main economic activity, shall always receive preferential attention through the provision of innovative agricultural technologies, irrigation facilities and farm-to-market roads.

Abaca and lasa, the top products of Catanduanes, should not always be exported raw. There are loads of livelihood opportunities that await the farmers; and the fishermen; and their wives. We should institute a program to provide livelihood opportunities that the unemployed members of each and every household should become productive citizens of this province. I hope that through this initiative, there should be no more need for people to knock on the door of public officials for every perceived needs and that we could correct the dole out attitude of our people.

Catanduanes, for all we know, is an exotic, verdant and serene island with a wealth of natural wonders and long stretches of beaches and coves. If we wish to see that development and prosperity should take place in this province, I believe that tourism is the key. Our tourism potential is there. We only have to develop this potential to put this province in the tourism map - by putting up and improving our tourism services and facilities; by developing our roads to and from tourism sites; by improving our air and sea ports; and by coming up with tourist attractions or packages. More tourists mean more revenues for the local government and more income for more people.

Puraran beach
A long-term, grass-roots and school-based sports program for the youth will have to be implemented if we wish that this province regain its lost glory in the field of sports.

On the other hand, skills training program for out-of-school youths will be provided for them to become productive members of society.

Mga tugang kong Catandunganon, magkarasararo kita; mag-iriba; asin sarabay na susudon an dalan papunta sa Bagong Catandungan – where projects are instituted to address the basic needs of the people; where livelihood opportunities are available to all; where there is a college graduate in every family; where the health needs of every man, woman and child is provided; where there is job opportunity for the many; and where the people live in peace and prosperity.

We can achieve this, if we only work together, disregarding political colors - and disregarding too much politics. Too much politics is anathema to progress.

I wish therefore, to offer myself as a collaborator for progress and along this line, I assure Governor Joseph C. Cua and the local officials of Catanduanes of my wholehearted and unconditional support in all efforts to make this province a better place for this generation and for the generations that are yet to come.

Catandungan, satong pag-sierbihan!