From being a hotbed of crime in the South, Governor Henry S. Oaminal shared how the success of peace and order initiatives in Misamis Occidental turned it into one of Northern Mindanao’s leaders in development indicators.
In an interview, Gov. Oaminal shared the progress milestones that the province has achieved in less than a decade, such as in its infrastructure, employment, economy, and labor and employment.
But before Misamis Occidental could achieve such leaps forward, Gov. Oaminal recalled the poor state of law enforcement in the province as a “challenging part of our history,” marked by crime, insurgency, and even terrorism.
The province could have been “the drug and organized crime capital of Mindanao,” said Gov. Oaminal, if peace and order initiatives couldn’t step up. Apart from the threat that the Kuratong Baleleng Gang previously posed in the area, conflict also arose from the presence of rebels.
The governor attributed the province’s liberation from crime and violence to the cooperation of local government units (LGU) with law enforcement improvement efforts, as well as the work of the previous administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ozamiznons can now freely walk without any fear of harassment from the bad elements,” said Gov. Oaminal. This, according to him, is the realization of one of the tenets of his 5M platform— “Misamisnon Magpuyong Malinawon Malambuonug Malipayon,” or “Misamisnon Live Peacefully, Progressively, and Happily.”
With criminal threats under control, the province is witnessing consistent progress, the governor proudly shared. More businesses are being established, he shared, “and the job opportunities that were created out of it are getting better.”
From being one of the poorest provinces, Misamis Occidental posted in 2021 “the highest significant improvement in poverty incidence among families,” according to data by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)—from 32.7% poverty incidence in 2018, to 23.3% in the same period in 2021. According to Gov. Oaminal, lately the poverty incidence has further decreased to 18.30%.
Public infrastructure also heavily contributed to the province’s development, according to the governor. “We gave more attention to the improvement of our roads,” he said. And during his three terms in congress, Gov. Oaminal happily shared that municipal, provincial, and national roads were now 95% paved. And through good fiscal management, the province continues to establish more health centers, and improve educational facilities for Misamisnons.
Peace and order initiatives will continue to be one of the priorities of the provincial government, according to Gov. Oaminal, affirming that “when there is peace, there is development.”