Written by: Ronie Z. Bautista

The famous sayings:” A journey of thousand miles, begins in a single stepis somehow related to the decision of SEA Inc. to pursue its plan to expand in Mindanao. The intention of the said expansion is to share the Integrated Participatory Accountability and Transparency towards Sustainable Integrated Area Development (IPAT-SIAD) Program to interested and willing Local Government Units in Mindanao Area to implement the abovementioned program as partners. Prior to the forging of such partnership, area scouting and selection process using the criteria set by the office will commence on the day of the Solution Ecosystems Activator (SEA) Inc. Mindanao Team deployed in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte as launching base.

Last Tuesday (March 5, 2024) the journey of the IPAT-SIAD Project Team literally begins towards the Municipalities of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur and Villanueva, Misamis Occidental in Carraga and Northern Mindanao regions respectively. The purpose of such visit was courtesy call to the Local Chief Executives (LCE); area familiarization and assessment; gathering of relative data and exploring the possibility to become LGU Partners for IPAT-SIAD. Travelling for more than a thousand kilometers by land crossing three big cities Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Butuan) situated in three different provinces (Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Agusan del Norte respectively) within two regions (Northern Mindanao and Carraga regions) was tiring and challenging, however it was also fulfilling and worthwhile. The journey to Sibagat produced a positive result by obtaining the verbal agreement to become an LGU partner for IPAT-SIAD joint implementation (official written letter of intent will follow). Relative data were collected thru face-to-face interviews and social media researches that will serves as basis for final selection of the first LGU partner in Mindanao area.

However, in the case of municipality of Villanueva, the proposed meeting with the LCE and due diligence was deferred for the main time due to the unavailability of such LCE because of her urgent unscheduled travel abroad. Another meeting will be set upon her arrival in the municipality.

This journey of a thousand kilometers from Kauswagan…., aside from obtaining good results as mentioned above, it was also responsible for the positive gains (personal level) on the part of SEA Inc. staff. The uncertainty and hardship of frequent changing of various transportations in different location and terminals; asking different directions to strangers; hunger; inconvenience; lacks of rest and sleep as experienced, hone the worker’s interpersonal skills, further developed their patience and understanding of the threefolding process of IPAT-SIAD. Furthermore, this also fueled their commitment and determination to successfully achieved the overall goal of the program: :”Responsible good governance towards Sustainable Integrated Area Development.

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