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Reinventing Guimaras: An island of unfulfilled dreams

October 25, 2006

ROUGHLY the size of Singapore, the sleepy island-province of Guimaras has been rudely roused from its dreamy slumber by a 20th-century environmental scourge – an oil spill.

Ironically, this may also catapult it to 21st-century modernity if development plans are achieved.

By law, the island was made a province in 1992, when it belonged to the derogatory “Club 20” of the poorest provinces in the country. Unable to create jobs for lack of investments, its local government units were also unable to deliver basic services to their poorest.

Guimaras became a province after the passage of the Local Government Code that transferred to local government units (LGUs) the task of providing basic services, which the national government used to do. The law also devolved to LGU personnel, assets, equipment and the tough task of economic survival.

Unfortunately, the new local governments did not have the proper structures, leadership, technical competence and resources to handle the demands of “devolved governance.”

Many development experts feel the province will have to dramatically reinvent itself if it is to fulfill the development promise brought about by its misfortune.

(For the full story, click Reinventing Guimaras, Oct. 25, 2006.)

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