NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur – Former Mayor Edgar Zaragoza of this town just brushed aside his critics’ claims, particularly that of Narvacan Councilman and former Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson that the town’s income and resources just went to nowhere.
Zaragosa and Singson will square off for the mayoralty position in Narvacan this May.
In an exclusive interview with the Ilocos Sur Integrated Press (ISIP) over the weekend, Zaragoza pointed out that Narvacan, which is one of the biggest towns in the country, is 9th in assets and 5th in revenues among all municipalities nationwide and that its economy is booming. The rankings are based on the latest Commission on Audit Annual Financial Report for Local Government released in 2017.
“Narvacan’s progress can be seen in the improvement of the lives of the people, in the big business investments and economic activities such as the presence of many banks and businesses like Jollibee, Mang Inasal and our commercial mall. The true measurement of progress is not shown in a new municipal building or in a new public market but in the town’s sustainable development. Our town hall is still beautiful. We prioritized the people’s needs first, for what is the use of a new public market if the people’s needs are not met?” he said.
He said that the record of the financial management of Narvacan can speak for itself and that these funds have been maximized to benefit the majority of the people.
“Our funds are being spent for the welfare of the people in the form of fertilizers, farm equipment, hybrid seeds and for the improvement of our roads and the construction of covered courts. These covered courts had been programmed in 2016 and they are only constructed just now because we already have the funds contrary to Chavit’s claim that these covered courts were only constructed when he sat down as one of the municipal councilors,” he said.
He said that all barangays have been provided with tractors; all tobacco farmers are provided with water pumps and that for every kilo of native tobacco produced, each farmer is given a 2-peso incentive while Virginia tobacco farmers are given a 5-peso incentive per kilo.
“We are the only town in the province with a legitimate sanitary landfill. In 1988, when I first became a mayor of this town, our revenue was only P2 million and it rose to more than P200 million last year, enough to already sustain us even without RA 7171 allocations. We will be having soon a modernized, air-conditioned health center complete with laboratory equipment. Its first phase construction is worth P21 million; another P10 million will come from DOH funds while the municipal government has allocated P25 million for it,” he said.
He also said that the town’s slogan “Narvacan is for Narvacaneos” is nothing new as it’s only a modification of its original slogan “I am proud to be a Narvacaneo.”
Asked why Singson is running against him in Narvacan, he said that his (Singson) purpose is to overthrow the Zaragozas who have been ruling the town the last 30 years.
“We cannot allow this to just happen. Ania koma ti umayna balbaliwan ditoy Narvacan ket naprogreso met? (What else will he change here in Narvacan? It’s already progressive)” he said when the issue cropped out that Singson is coming to Narvacan to leave a legacy of progress and prosperity.
ISIP will try to contact Councilor Chavit Singson for his reactions to this interview.
Former Mayor Edgar Zaragoza, a former director of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who graduated at the University of the Philippines and the father of Narvacan Mayor Zuriel Zaragosa. Mayor Zuriel is running as governor of the province and will be pitted against incumbent Governor Ryan Luis Singson. His sister Anicka will also challenge Vice Governor Jeremias “Jerry” Singson for the position of vice governor this coming May 2019.