[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 16, 2008
By CEASAR M. PERANTE
SAN MATEO, Isabela – This multi-awarded town in Isabela has many reasons to be merry this Christmas.
One reason is that it is now an agro-ecological destination.
President Arroyo signed on Dec. 1, 2008 Presidential Proclamation No. 1685 declaring San Mateo, Isabela as an agro-ecological destination in the Cagayan Valley Region.
The Department of Agriculture had earlier recommended that this municipality be declared as an agro-ecological destination in Region 2 because of its vast ecological and agricultural production areas as well as its being an awardee of ‘Galing Pook 2007’ for best local governance.
"It is the duty of the government to strengthen the autonomy of the local government units and to accelerate their economic growth and development," the President stated in Presidential Proclamation No. 1685.
San Mateo Mayor Roberto Agcaoili, Isabela’s most outstanding mayor and Presidential Lingkod Bayan of the Year awardee, was also cited recently at the historic landmark Manila Hotel by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, giving him two gold "Punong Bayan Award of Excellence" medals.
Mayor Agcaoili was delighted by the President’s declaration.
"It’s a dream come true. As a major statement in our municipality’s goal, our desire for our town to become an agro-ecological destination has been realized and sealed with a series of sweet wins by nearly all of our local governance programs," the mayor said.
The three-term mayor, who is credited for the transformation of his town from fourth class in 2001 to first class in 2008, thanked Malacañang for recognizing his municipality’s best practices by conferring on it back-to-back awards.
Meanwhile, Barangays Old Centro and San Marcos, this town, are slated to receive soon in Malacañang a total of R1.5 million for winning the nation-wide search for the best implementation of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or RA 9003.
"While many towns win awards symbolized by trophies and plaques, we are lucky that all of our awards have brought both honors and substantial cash. The money could inspire our people to strive more," Agcaoili said.