CITY OF MATI, Davao Oriental (PIA) — The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI made the first crack on establishing a local government unit (LGU) Information Kiosk and took the first ditch in conducting a multi-sectoral forum on ASEAN in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental on April 21, 2017.

The preparation was a blitz in barely eight working days that started on Palm Sunday. Formal letter requests to the City Mayor and to the City Vice Mayor of the City of Mati were sent on Holy Monday and from then on, the ball of the preparation went rolling.

Hasty with risk of failure. This could be the drawn observation at the outset especially that Regional Director Efren F. Elbanbuena asked no funding support from the Central Office. This, however, was drowned out with high hopes and strong commitment of the prime-movers of PIA Davao Region and of LGU Mati.

City Information Officer Yon Maybuena took the challenge and the risk of preparing in short notice, the launch of the kiosk and the conduct of a mini forum about ASEAN. Jessari “Mutya” Tarrona of the City Vice Mayor’s Office drew out equally optimistic spirit to handle Davao media coverage.

Logistical note was sent. Director General Harold Clavite and Deputy Director General Angelo Villar were informed. There was no assurance of their presence during the height of the Holy Week but the hope and commitment of LGU partner-workers still ran high.

Partners neither showed no sign nor sent feelers of giving up until the day of Resurrection. The preparation hit on the ground the following day, Monday, when organizers were told of the positive presence of DG Clavite.

Both PIA Davao Region and the LGU of Mati had their hands filled with events to handle. On top of preparing for the Info Kiosk launch and the conduct of the ASEAN Multi-sectoral Forum. PIA hosted the national seminar of Philippine Information Agency Gender and Development (PIA GAD) Focal Point System (FPS) while the City Government of Mati was tied with the Summer Fun in Dahican 2017 preparation.

It never occurred to both PIA and the LGU of Mati that the timing was perfectly pieced together. The city government of Mati needed a fuel on disseminating information about its tourism drive to promote Dahican Beach as a summer destination while PIA needed a willing partner to deliver national government information to the grassroots level.

The match was made perfect on the day of the Info Kiosk Launch, April 21, that also marked the kicked off of Mati’s Summer Fun in Dahican. Director General Clavite with Regional Director Elbanbuena took about three-hour ride from Davao City while City of Mayor Rabat and Vice Mayor Gayta sliced a pie of time from their hectic day to personally attend the event. City Councilor Maria Gracia Tiago also graced the kiosk opening and joined the panel of guests during the ASEAN forum.

“We are grateful of PIA for having chosen Mati as the site of the very first LGU Info Kiosk in the Region,” Rabat said as he publicly conveyed his partnership with PIA in bringing to the grassroots level information about ASEAN and the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN this year.

Mayor Rabat was hopeful that Mati would somehow benefit from the opportunities that the ASEAN Community opens up for member states. He was hoping ASEAN to help boost City of Mati’s desired position as a “premiere tourism destination.”

“So with the continuing cooperation of and partnership with the ASEAN communities, we can move together, we can progress together and we can change the world together,” he said.

Vice Mayor Gayta expressed optimism that the City of Mati would stand to the challenge of Director General Clavite to spread good news “as there a lot of good things that are happening in Mati”.

“Rest assured that we will always be here to do our part; that the right information is delivered,” she said. Gayta made commitments during the mini ASEAN Multi-sectoral Forum held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod to bring down to the barangay level information about the benefit of ASEAN.

Meanwhile, Councilor Tiago viewed the launch of the Information Kiosk as a link to her dream of enticing citizens of ASEAN member states to visit the City of Mati. She expressed her excitement of having met DG Clavite and felt happy about the information link of the City of Mati with PIA. Her joy was fuelled by the prospect of drawing more visitors to take their trip to Mati.

“There is progress in tourism through the Information Kiosk,” she said.

The Information Kiosk Launch in the City of Mati that went with a brief forum on ASEAN lasted for more than two hours only but the event generated smiles from the local executives of the City of Mati, from the employees whom PIA Davao worked as partners, from the media practitioners of Mati and from the forum participants.

PIA sealed the event with a visit to Menzi Beach Resort in Dahican where the city government of Mati held on that day the kick-off of Mati Summer Fun. DG Clavite with PIA Budget Officer Tess Marivite Diata Cruz, Budget office staff Benjamin Sy and Regional Operations Division staff Carlo Canares took shoes off to feel the soft white sand of Dahican, took a whiff of the cool sea breeze and took souvenir photos of Dahican that capped their moments spent in the City of Mati. (Jeanevive Duron-Abangan, PIA Davao Region)