The Local Economic Affairs Development (LEAD) Council had its maiden meeting on February 3, Thursday at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session Hall. Discussed during the meeting was the Executive Order that constituted LEAD Council with Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman as chair and Victor Moore Infante Ututalum, president of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) – Isabela City, as vice-chair. In her opening statement, Mayor Hataman relayed the LGU’s goal in establishing the said council, is to harness opportunities to increase businesses in Isabela de Basilan, institutionalizing an efficient and responsive public-private partnerships in laying down and implementing an economic roadmap for the city. Mayor Hataman emphasized that recent indicators and recognitions received by the city, particularly bagging the 3rd Most Competitive Component City in the recent Competitiveness Index Summit, manifest the city’s economic development.
LEDIPO chief Jaime Juanito Rivera discussed the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) and explained in detail how Isabela City bagged the 3rd Most Improved City (Component City Category) in the 2021 CMCI Rankings. Four aspects were considered for the said distinction: Economic Dynamism (from 101st place in 2020 to 63rd place in 2021 or up by 38 spots), Government Efficiency (from 96th in 2020 to 79th place in 2021 or up by 17 spots), Infrastructure (from 104th place in 2020 to 96th place in 2021 or up by 8 spots), and Resiliency (from 105th place to 76th place or up by 29 spots). In the same vein, Mr. Rivera also presented the HAPISABIDA Strategic Plan 2021-2023.
The City’s PESO Manager Ara Belleng also presented the Islamic Microfinance Program –one of the flagship projects of the Turabin-Hataman administration –with 444 borrowers (4 batches) as of to date, who are mostly market vendors and individuals with home-based businesses. Market vendors who have stalls in the vegetable and fruit section were prioritized as per assessment of Microfinance Officers. Repayment rates were reported to as high as 98 percent. These beneficiaries were eventually organized as a vendor’s association with the assistance of DOLE Isabela City Field Office. Mayor Turabin-Hataman, a financial inclusion advocate, came up with this initiative to firstly help small vendors to have an option against traditional 5/6 lending schemes, to instill among vendors the concept of them not only as beneficiaries but as partners of government aiming for economic empowerment, and to teach them good financial management.
Meanwhile, Business Licensing and Permits Officer Albert Porticos, presented a comparison of the Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) accomplishment in 2021 and 2022. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the impositions of city lockdowns as well as the shortened and new business permits requirements led to a 163% increase with 1,384 (82.97%) registered businesses as of February 03, 2022.
In its mission statement, the LEAD Council shall promote and coordinate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect socio-economic development in Isabela City. It shall primarily be an umbrella organization of all economic sectors, both public and private. Mr. Infante Ututalum, head of PCCI Isabela City, expressed his gratitude to the local government for the establishment of such body. He reiterated that the numbers in the city have actually improved due to the proactive stance of the local government. “If we see the government working, sasabayan namin ito from the private sector, and this means more investments in the city” he added. Moving forward, the city government plans to conduct Isabela City Business Summit this year as it aims to be recognized as the next sustainable city of the South.
Also present in this inaugural meeting were Vice Mayor Jhul-Kifli L. Salliman, Amin T. Hataman, representing the Office of Deputy Speaker Mujiv S. Hataman, Miriam Suacito of Nagdilaab Foundation Inc., Lena Alabata of DOLE-ICFO, among others.
The LEAD Council is composed of the following: the City Vice Mayor, the chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Trade, Commerce and Industry, City Planning and Development Coordinator, City Treasurer, City Agriculturist, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer, City Cooperative Development Officer, City Tourism Officer, Public Employment Service Officer, City Information Officer, Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions Officer, Business Permits and Licensing Officer, President of the Association of Punong Barangays, President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and IP Representative for the Local Government Unit.
Meanwhile, members from the National Government Agencies (NGAs) include the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Information and Communication Technology.
Also part of the LEAD Council are various sectoral representatives from the Banking and Finance Sector; Transportation and Communications Sector; Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Sector; Wholesale and Retail Trading Sector; Infrastructure and Construction
Sector; Agriculture and Fisheries Sector; Academe Sector and the Non-Government Organizations Sector.