By Sunday Post
He has no impressive academic credentials to boast. He is even proud to be a college dropout but in the arena of fund raising for projects in his town, he has the gall (pun intended) to be a cut above the rest.
Short of calling it his own â€˜bragging rightâ€™, Mayor Penny Digal of Sevilla is one town executive who knows how to use the power of persistence to maximum effect.
His tenacity to make things happen speaks for itself. When you happen to visit his small turf in the heart of Central Bohol, you can say without fear of contradiction, that there rules a mayor who knows his worth and capability.
To a newcomer, what greets the eye is a spanking municipal hall. Big and spacious to local standards, the new Sevilla municipal hall is a living testament of the mayorâ€™s capacity to make things done.
Hampered by lack of funds as most other LGUS are in with fifth class status, the mayor found this as no hindrance. In fact, he considered it a challenge to push the limits of patience just to get what he needs. In some cases, one has to unload all the tricks in the bag to cajole the dispensers of favor what are due the local government in terms of projects.
In the case of Mayor Digal, he is just kulit to the max. Kulit as in bothersome to some national officials if one doesnâ€™t know how to play his cards right.
But not Mayor Digal. With honesty and sincerity as the motivating factor coupled with down-to-earth disposition, no public official in the high council of government is so high and mighty to Mayor Digal. To the Sevilla mayor, they are just as vulnerable as any public servant to the incessant importuning of local officials, if one knows how to push the right button.
One of the mayorâ€™s willing sources of his begging bowl is Marietta Tamondong of the Presidential Management Staff who provided the seed money of P1 million for his modern municipal hall. Then thereâ€™s no stopping from there his money making machine from churning out funding requests. From Gov. Erico Aumentado to Cong. Adam Relson Jala, thereâ€™s no let-up in his temerity to get funds. Thus, one term later of his colorful political career, he saw the rise of a municipal hall that has become the envy of his peers.
With the municipal hall now in place, he again cajoled Tamondong if it was still possible to release funds for his 13 barangays. He was not disappointed, .Through the Presidential Social Fund, the PMS is now obligating P100,000 for each of Sevillaâ€™s 13 barangays whether for the repair of dilapidated barangay halls or farm-to market roads.
Has he gone bored of asking too much and too many? It seems that getting bored, let alone if it means money, is not found in his vocabulary.
In fact, he has found a new benefactor that will carry Sevilla to the pinnacle of municipalities as the most pampered in the eyes of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.
Cultivating Yapâ€™s ambition to run for third district congressman, Mayor Digal has chosen a ringside seat to cash in of awaits Sevilla in the run up to the 2010 elections.
Not that he is being ungrateful to those he had curry financial assistance before. It is just that he is being practical and he apparently knows â€œhow to strike while the iron is hotâ€.
And so it came to pass that one of the closest mayors the third district ever had to Sec. Yap is Mayor Digal.
Just how close can be attested to the fact that during the recent Sevilla fiesta, the agriculture secretary choppered to the inland municipality to greet Mayor Digal a happy fiesta. It was also during that festive occasion, that Yap had the chance to meet with third district mayors.
One eyewitness account was that third district mayors formed a beeline to engage the DA secretary a one-on-one huddle. Whatever they discussed, it was definitely not about the huge turnout of parishioners attending the fiesta pontifical mass.
When Mayor Digal was asked by one of his cohorts in the municipal hall what possibly was the topic during Yapâ€™s one-on-one- conversation with each of the mayor, with a twinkle in Digalâ€™s eyes, he can only mutter â€œyour guess is as good as mineâ€™.
Of course, the educated guess was that Yap was testing the choppy waters of the third district congressional journey. His body language and pronouncements loaded with promises of more DA largesse flowing the way of third district mayors betrayed his intentions of casting a moist eye to the third district congressional plum.
As for Digal, his town was the recipient of a P10.5 million fund assistance for his public market and a network of farm-to-market roads.
Not bad, for a mayor who knows how to pester the living daylights of those who holds the power of the purse in government.