North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza
Serbisyong Totoo, Lala’s way
AT the young age of 39, the petite but charming Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza is standing tall as the second-ever lady governor of North Cotabato among the 21 governors who served the province since the time of undivided Empire Cotabato .
The first woman provincial governor was Dr. Rosario Diaz, who was first appointed in 1986 EDSA Revolution and elected in 1988. She finished her three terms as the province’s chief executive.
For her part, Lala is not actually bothered by the “men empowerment” at the capitol. More so, that in the 2010 national and local elections, she is facing the comebacking three-term governor Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol.
Piñol is considered to be a seasoned politician as he started as a municipal mayor of his hometown M’lang and later became a governor. His entry in politics opened the door for his other brothers to get elective positions – two of them became mayors while the other one was elected as a congressman.
But in the past elections, things did not go well with the Piñols after Lala overwhelmingly won over Manny while another lady and neophyte politician, Nancy Catamco, defeated incumbent second district Bernardo “Jun” Piñol.
The “Lala” magic seems to be working on this determined young woman, whose parents molded her to embrace politics as a public service.
Born to parents Carmen mayor Rogelio T. Taliño and former mayor Noemi J. Taliño, she started his political career as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chair of Barangay Poblacion in Carmen town at the age of 20. She eventually became the SK Provincial Federation President of North Cotabato for the period 1993-1996, as such, became an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
In 1998, she became a Senior Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan First District) of the Province of Cotabato. She authored the Gender Code of Cotabato Province.
She became a member of the House of Representatives representing the 1st Legislative District of the Province of Cotabato.
First elected to the said position in 2001 and was the youngest district representative of the Province of Cotabato to the House of Representatives. She was re-elected to the same position in the May 2004 and May 2007 elections.
In the past 14th Congress, she is a member of the Commission on Appointments, Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Legislative Franchises and also a member of the following House Committees: Dangerous Drugs, Inter-Parliamentary Relations & Diplomacy, Labor & Employment, National Defense & Security, Mindanao Affairs, Ways & Means, Women & Gender Equality.
She is an alumna to the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on “American Foreign Policy: Trends of the New Administration” on September 14 – October 2, 2009 by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Lala earned her undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the Ateneo de Davao University. She took up Bachelor of Laws thereafter.
Having grown up in Kidapawan City, she studied at the Notre Dame of Kidapawan for Girls from 1978 up to 1989 for her elementary and secondary education. She is married to Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza of the TUCP Party List and mother to Ma. Alana Samantha and Emilio Ramon.
Lala’s campaign in the gubernatorial race is mainly anchored on “SERBISYONG TOTOO” program that got the overwhelming support of the vast majority of her constituents. That’s why, upon assuming into office, she did not fail her people to experience what she really meant about her battlecry.
According to her, “Serbisyong Totoo” is to reach the remotest villages in the 17 municipalities and one city of the province, to bring the government closer to the people. As of this date, almost all municipalities were already visited by the governor together with her co-active government officials like Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong Jr., congresswoman Catamco, first district Rep. Jesus Sacdalan, board members, municipal mayors and partners TUCP’s Rep. Mendoza and Rep. Angelo Palmones of the AGHAM Party-List.
“Serbisyong Totoo” has evolved into a program of governance anchored on transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation with strong political will.
“It is time that we put spirit in our drive to deliver genuine public service to all Cotabateños and what better vehicle than Serbisyong Totoo,” the governor was quoted as saying during the program’s launching on December 15, 2010 in capitol pavilion in Amas, Kidapawan City.
No less than Civil Service Commission 12 Director Grace B. Saqueton lauded the governor’s initiative to come up with a very unique way of governance.
Speaking on the rationale of Republic Act 9485 or Anti Red Tape Act (ARTA), Saqueton lauded her and the provincial leadership for coming up with Serbisyong Totoo whose mission statement is apt with the policy direction of ARTA – to promote integrity, accountability, proper management of public affairs and public property as well as to establish effective practices aimed at the prevention of graft and corruption in the government.
“Serbisyong Totoo” to bring gov’t to farthest barangay
With the launching of “Serbisyong Totoo” to one of the remotest barangays in Cotabato province last January 27, Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza underscored that the main objective of her administration’s “Serbisyong Totoo” is to bring government programs and projects to the barangays.
Before a crowd close to one thousand villagers of Barangay Libungan-Torreta, Governor Taliño-Mendoza announced the various development programs that the provincial government intends to implement in the area such as introducing new food preservation technology on fish and road rehabilitation going to Libungan-Torreta, the farthest barangay in Pigcawayan.
The Governor also stressed the good working relationship between her and Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong and the board members which serves as an important key in the realization of the many plans and programs of the provincial government under her leadership.
Ibrahim Raman, the town’s municipal administrator who represented Mayor Roberto Blasé, admitted that they were overwhelmed to know that Libungan-Torreta is the venue for the launching of “Serbisyong Totoo” in Pigcawayan.
We are very happy because this will pave the way for more development in the remotest barangay of Pigcawayan, where in the past years we thought of it as “unimaginable” in Muslim communities, he said.
Libungan-Torreta is a Muslim community, where residents are 100% Maguindanaoans whose sources of income mostly come from fishing.
Sponsored by the Cotabato Health Insurance Program, the launching activity which started even before the provincial officials arrived included parlor games and giving of toys and slippers for children which benefited almost 500 children, food assistance for senior citizens with 250 recipients, free haircut for boys, and free consultation led by the Integrated Provincial Health Office. Corresponding medicines were also given to every person who submitted to a medical check up.
The same launching was also conducted in Midsayap Pilot Elementary School in the afternoon of January 27 where hundreds of students joined in various Palarong Pambata prepared for the said activity. Kids were also given toys and shirts while adults received rice, caps, and shirts also.
Elementary pupils from Grades 1 to 6 of the host school showcased their talents before the provincial and local officials with folk dances which impressed the governor who has been advocating Filipino culture, tradition, and values in schools through dances and games and not just facts and theories in academic classes.
Governor Lala was joined by Vice Governor Ipong, 1st District Board Members Shirlyn Macasarte, Eliseo Garcesa, Celestino Rapacon, and Ernesto Concepcion who were also the same board members, except for Board Member Macasarte, who graced the launching in Pigcawayan. Board Member Vicente Sorupia also attended the launching in said town.
Vice Governor Ipong, who also gave a message on both occasions, expressed delight over the conduct of said activities in different barangays especially in remote areas “because this is an opportunity for us to visit and see for ourselves the real situation and need of the people in the area,” he said.
The vice governor is also hopeful that Cotabato barangays especially the farthest will surely obtain the development they dreamed for.
The launching of “Serbisyong Totoo” in Midsayap which was sponsored by the Provincial Accountant’s Office is the culmination of a series of launchings conducted in local government units since December last year.
Serbisyong Totoo transcends politics
Speaking before a crowd of municipal and barangay officials, senior citizens, students, teachers, and children at the barangay hall of Aringay, Kabacan, in yesterday’s launching of “Serbisyong Totoo” Governor Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza explained that her program of governance embodied in “Serbisyong Totoo” transcends politics.
“I am privileged to serve you and with your cooperation and support, we will be able to transform our province into a truly progressive and peaceful place that our children and their future children can be proud of,” Gov. Mendoza said.
“Let us mend differences and work together even if we belong to different political parties. We have one people to serve and one mission to accomplish,” the lady governor stressed.
Barangay Captain Adam Wagia thanked Gov. Mendoza for choosing Aringay as the venue of the “Serbisyong Totoo” launching for Kabacan and pledged support for the lady governor’s advocacy program. He said that even if Aringay is 80 per cent populated by Muslims, they maintain a harmonious relationship with the Christian residents comprising of Ilokanos, Ilonggos and Cebuanos.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Policronio Dulay who also read Mayor George Tan’s message, praised Gov. Mendoza for bringing “Serbisyong Totoo” in Kabacan and for her commitment in improving the lives of Cotabateños.
The launching of “Serbisyong Totoo” in Kabacan was facilitated by the Cotabato Provincial Hospital led by Dr. Joel Nelton V. Sungcad and staff in coordination with the local government unit of Kabacan.
Toys were given to the children while the senior citizens received rice packs.
Serbisyong Totoo – a ray of hope
With wide smiles on their faces, the residents of Sitio Lebpas of Barangay Tuael, Pres. Roxas and Barangay Natutungan, Matalam, Cotabato consider Serbisyong Totoo as a ray of hope amidst hopelessness.
For them, the visit made by Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño- Mendoza recently to launch “Serbisyong Totoo,” her advocacy program of governance is a manifestation of government’s sincerity in delivering genuine public service especially to the underprivileged.
Braving the ride on a “bangka” or small narrow boat powered by gas motor and unmindful of the scorching heat of the sun, the lady Governor led the group of provincial and local officials, chiefs of offices, employees, officials and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to Sitio Lebpas for the people there to know that the provincial government of Cotabato truly cares for them.
The team travelled more or less five hours at the Rio Grande de Mindanao (Pulangi River) going to Sitio Lebpas and back from Barangay Tawan-tawan, Carmen where the team assembled for jump-off in the morning of December 23, 2010.
The launching activities were co-sponsored by the municipalities of Pres. Roxas and Matalam, Office of the Provincial Veterinarian and the Provincial Engineering who also led in the parlor games prepared for the children.
In her message during a brief program, Governor Lala expressed her deep concern over the plight of people in the barangays who are, more often than not, neglected when it comes to government programs and projects.
The governor assured that during her term as governor she wants all programs and projects of the provincial government to be accessible to all barangays and that those who are truly in need can benefit from them.
She even urged barangay officials and all residents to be united for the easy and fast facilitation and implementation of the various provincial government programs and projects.
As a reaction, Tuael Barangay Captain Daniel Puntongan and Natutungan Barangay Captain Esmael Balah for their part, thanked the governor and the provincial officials for the support given to their barangay and for the gifts they received for Christmas. Both wished for the success of the advocacy program of the provincial government.
The governor brought with her a medical team which rendered free consultation and gave medicines, rice for the senior citizens and various gifts of toys for children 10-years old and below were given by Governor Lala. Free haircut for children and adults were also provided.
Sitio Lebpas does not have electricity yet. As a personal gift, the governor donated one generator set for the use of the community.
Meanwhile in Natutungan, Matalam, the governor assured that the provincial government will help in the construction of their barangay hall.
Sitio Lebpas, Tuael and Natutungan both received P5,000 each as an aid from the Provincial Government of Cotabato.