Cebu News

Tuburan folk credited for town’s success

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
Tuburan folk credited for town�s success
Hundreds from the business and other sectors attend The Freeman’s “Business Forum 2024” held at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City Friday afternoon.
Aldo Banaynal

CEBU, Philippines — Development of the “human capital” and community involvement.

Tuburan Mayor Aljun Diamante cited in the growth of his town’s coffee production industry and its tourism industry, which he benefitted the town economically and culturally while preserving their heritage and environment.

The Tuburan, Cebu mayor was one of the speakers of The Freeman’s Business Forum held at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City the other other, when he spoke about “Community-based Tourism” and “Empowering Local Communities.”

“Once involved ang community, empowered ang community, sigurado gyud ka nga moasenso ang katawhan ug ang kumunidad,” said Diamante.

He said that poverty incidence in his town was at 45.9 percent in 2009, which was one year after he became mayor.  In 2018, the figure went down to 24.40 percent.

“Hopefully, today, naa sa 15 percent to 18 percent na lang ang poverty incidence.  Our target in the next five to eight years dapat single digit na and in the next 10 years onwards maybe one to five percent nalang. Maayo unta og maluoy ang Ginoo nga ang tanang tawo motuo ug motuman sa akoang mga programs,” Diamante said.

During the forum, he said that Tuburan Coffee started in 2012 as a means to help alleviate poverty in his town.

Since then, the industry has grown, with 3,000 hectares of land in the town’s mountain barangays dedicated to growing coffee, with over 2,000 coffee farmers.

The mayor also cited the convergence of various government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Tourism, National Irrigation Administration, among others, as having contributed a lot to the.

And with the success they have achieved, his town is targeting and even greater height.

“We are now focus sa agriculture and its organic. Our goal is that in five years Tuburan will be an Organic Town.  It is my dream that Tuburan will be the organic capital of Cebu Province,” said the founder of Tuburan Coffee.

And along with this is the vision to further develop community-based tourism in Tuburan.

In the same forum, Diamante also emphasized the importance of sustainable practices that minimize negative impacts of tourism on local communities and the environment.

He said these include promoting responsible tourism behaviors among visitors, implementing waste management programs, and supporting eco-friendly initiatives.

The town’s top tourism draws include Tuburan 360, Tuburan Town Museum, San Antonio de Padua Parish Church, Molobolo Spring, Marmol Cliff, Adela River, Lantawan Tunnel, Tubod Festival, Sto. Niño and Apalan Marine Sanctuaries, and the huge Dao Tree.

And having lived in poverty himself, working as a dishwater after his high school graduation in 1982, he said it is his thrust to alleviate poverty through education.

“When people are educated dali ra sila pasabton, dali ra sila tudluan og skills, and they are empowered to know especially sa mga balaod nga angay nilang tumanon,” the mayor said.

That is why he, as mayor, donated lots to the Department of Education for the construction of two school buildings so that children no longer have walk far just to study, as he does not want then to experience what he suffered when he had to walk 14 kilometers from home to school.

He also divulged that his town’s future development programs include the construction of a P1.8-billion dam by the National Irrigation Administration. However, the dam, measuring 40 meters in height by 150 meters in length, still needs Regional Development Council approval, with its budget to be taken from the 2025 national budget.

“Maka-irrigate ta og 1,550 hectares, so secured gyud ang atoang food production for food security and sustainability, then balanced with the preservation of nature by planting bamboos, native trees, and coffee,” Diamante said.

Another of his initiatives was changing the standard of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program, wherein the agency was supposed to give P6 million to the municipality for 400 of his constituents.

“Wala nako gipahatag individually nga supposedly tag-P15,000 each for the 400 people. Akoang gihimong entrepreneur ang mga people's organizations, maximum of 30 persons, then gitidloan sila sa taga-DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) ug CTU (Cebu Technological University) para ma-empower sila,” Diamante said.

He said that with the P6 million as capital, the people received 65 percent of the income and 35 percent goes back to the organization as additional capital.

Because of this scheme, the beneficiaries started to receive P3,000 per month and in five months there was already a “return of investment” while at the same time the organization’s capitalization increased.

“Very effective gyud ni nga programa pero dapat transparent, honest, ug sincere ang tanan. Nindot kaayo ni nga program og ma-sustain lang kay ma-alleviate gyud ang kinabuhi sa kabus,” Diamante said.

Because of his initiative, DSWD recognized Tuburan last March as among the local government units that received the “GAPAS Award”, or the Gawad sa Paglilingkod sa Sambayanan Award, for being an outstanding and model LGU in implementing the different programs of department. — (FREEMAN)

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