THINK BIG. THINK MATI!
Just minutes ago, I saw this wall post from the FACEBOOK account of a local official from the City of Mati in the province of Davao Oriental soliciting suggestions on how to make the place a progressive city. It just gotten its cityhood last December 2009 when the Supreme Court ruled in its favor. Thus, I posted my response below.
I have always wanted to do something better for my wife and son’s birthplace and I know that time will somehow give me the means to achieve this. At any rate, all I can do now is to love the place and work hard so someday I can go back, settle and invest. As an adopted citizen of the said city, I have to share my thoughts on this.
Looking back, I first set foot in Mati more than a decade ago when I married my wife. Through the years, I have learned to love Mati. For me, the best way towards progress for Mati is for both officials and people to think forward. I have seen much changes but I believe that there are still plenty of things that we all can do to reach our goals.
The city should think beyond agriculture. Mati has other areas with great potential! I believe that tourism will open Mati’s ports and airstrip if only it can promote efficiently its culture, places and people to the world outside in all means. No place is too far for tourists! Mati needs to have a unique identity, a festivity and a delicacy for branding.
If Bohol has its Chocolate Hills, Mati has its Dinosaur Island to be proud of! We have the great surfing and skim boarding waves plus the white sands of Dahican Beach coupled with Dugong-watching at Mayo Bay. We also have the islands of Pujada and Waniban and the clear water at the Mangrove Nursery in Guang-Guang. The City of Mati is indeed rich and we all need to value all these treasures that we have!
The province is well gifted with its natural resources that the mining industry has its eyes on it for explorations. I was even able to go to this remote place with fascinating falls filling a pool of fresh water floored with gold dust. I just forgot the name of the place but it’s really awesome. With such land so rich and blessed, Mati holds a great potential for moving forward.
On the investment side, I think it is time as well for us to promote Mati as a business hub. Koreans and Taiwanese are great investors in the Philippines as they lack lands in their countries so they invest elsewhere. Making Mati as an open city for garments, cannery and manufacturing firms abroad while boosting the sea as its door to the world will provide tremendous opportunity.
To add, a generous tax holiday will add value proposition too. This will attract investors and will boost employment and business activity in the province. With national and global presence, the City of Mati will have its way towards progress. Its revenue will fuel infrastructure development and all else follows like education, social services, peace and order and livelihood.
Imagine the city balancing commerce and agriculture with its effective and efficient delivery of social services to its people through a working local government unit. Imagine young professionals staying in after graduation to work and invest in their birthplace. Imagine a good life and a good home for every family living in the City of Mati. Priceless!
To do all these, political will is the key. Plans and dreams are made for execution and not just for good political speeches. We all need to reflect. We all need to actively participate and cooperate. Are the officials and people doing enough? Is the livelihood of the locals improving or it’s just the officials getting richer? Are we supporting all efforts undertaken? Are we doing our part? Ask! Focus. Think Big. Make things happen!