Story and photos by Leonardo Perante II / Correspondent
BEFORE 300 B.C. Indo-Malay expeditions of the founding forefathers of Cauayan arrived in the valley. The town site was first located in Calanusian, along the Cagayan River.
It was baptized Cauayan after kawayan, a Gaddang term for bamboo, an indigenous tall grass growing along riverbanks. This gave birth to yearly celebration of Gawagaway-yan Festival.
The municipality of Cauayan was converted into a component city by virtue of Republic Act 9017 signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A plebiscite on March 30, 2001, overwhelmingly ratified Cauayan as a component city of Isabela.
“With the vision to be digitally connected, Cauayan City is the first in the Philippines to have free public Wi-fi and installed LED screens, which are innovative tools for promotion and information dissemination. We will soon be the ‘First Fiber City in the Philippines’ in order to efficiently implement digital solutions to the social needs of the people,” incumbent Cauayan City Mayor Bernard Faustino M. Dy said.
Last year the United Nations officially launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal plan of action including new areas, such as climate change, economic equality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice.
“Countries all over the world are encouraged to adopt this set of goals as part of their respective development agenda, aimed to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, that is precisely the reason Cauayan City took the lead and actively initiated the implementation of these goals in the local level,” Dy said.
The new SDG seeks to eradicate poverty in all its forms and to increase access to basic human needs and services.
“We extended free access to medical, dental and oral care, maternal, child and environmental health, core shelters, feeding programs, livelihood, educational and financial assistance,” Dy said.
The city government is committed to strengthen economic opportunities, especially for the underprivileged, until no household will ever struggle for the most basic needs, thus, eradicate poverty in the community.
“It is our goal to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. One of the new innovations implemented by the city government is the establishment of a Food Bank, which is the first hunger-relief operations in the city,” Dy said.
Increasing life expectancy and reducing child or maternal mortality are the targets of the goals on Good health and Well-being. The Cauayan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, particularly Rescue 922, has been a consistent effective arm in medical aid, emergency and disaster operations.
“We will continue to equip our Rural Health Units with more advanced facilities and supply of free medicines, strengthen our campaigns in family planning and youth involvement regarding health issues to promote a healthy citizenry in the city,” Dy added.
Schools in Cauayan City are K to 12-ready with advanced academic and technical curriculum. The distribution of school bags and supplies in all of the villages, plus the construction of additional day-care centers, were made accessible to the locals. The new City Library was able to cater more than 10,000 readers, alongside with the operation of the Mobile Library.
To achieve women empowerment, the city government launched the 18-day awareness campaign to end violation against women. The Green Ladies Organization has been the implementing arm of the city government in programs promoting the active participation of women, helping them to engage in income-generating projects and livelihood programs.
The city government, likewise, collaborated with the Junior Chamber International in the Tubig Impact Project, which provided water systems in villages located in the forest region. Toilet bowls were also distributed. The city conducted campaigns to promote a healthy lifestyle.
To ensure access to affordable and sustainable energy, solar street lights were erected along the city highway. In line with the Smarter City Project with the Isabela State University and the Department of Science and Technology, the city government, likewise, partnered with Ropali Trading for the conceptualization of e-tricycles with solar roof. The advocacy to adopt the use of modern-day technology helps conserve energy and protect the environment.
Job fairs and employment programs providing livelihood projects, such as dressmaking, handicraft-making and food processing, were designed as income-generating projects. Seminars and workshops were conducted to officially institutionalized the city’s Go Negosyo Center and enhance competitiveness of the micro, small and medium enterprises.
The bamboo industry of Cauayan City has been enhanced tremendously. From bamboo planting and bamboo propagation, the city is ready to pursue the production of barbecue sticks, chopsticks, toothpicks, and other materials made out of bamboo for souvenirs and for export.
The city extended support to senior citizens, including monthly birthday celebrations, advocacy activities to promote the rights and welfare of the elderly, ID booklet for grocery and medical assistance, PhilHealth grant and social pension program.
The indigenous peoples and the agricultural sector were involved in the policy-making processes of the city government.
Core shelters were provided to homeless families to help them improve their living conditions. Expected increased Internet connectivity makes Cauayan City the first Digital/Fiber City.
The advocacy on organic agriculture and fishery development programs, including distribution of corn and rice seeds, vegetable seeds, as well as cash assistance, were extended to farmers to help them for the continuous production of the basic agricultural crops.
The initiatives to reduce the impact of climate change in the city include tree-planting activities and participation in Earth Hour.
Fishery-development programs, which include fingerlings dispersal, distribution and installation of fishing gears and fishing cages, we initiated.
“We consider deforestation as one of the major causes of climate change, that’s basically why we continuously uphold the strict implementation of the total log ban,” Dy said.
In line with the advocacy of the current administration against illegal drugs, the city conducts random drug testing of city officials, officers and members of the Philippine National Police, campaigns on drug prevention to fully create a drug-free city of Cauayan.