SAGADA, Mountain Province – Outgoing Mayor James Pooten II underscored that he will be leaving the municipal government by noon of June 30, 2022 full of hard-earned experience that had contributed in preventing the worst-case scenario in the municipality during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic over the past two years.
Pooten stated that the municipal inter-agency task force enforced an effective and efficient pandemic response that allowed the containment of the deadly virus even if there were untoward incidents that transpired but at least, the locality was spared from experiencing a worst-case scenario.
While all the problems of the pandemic had been blamed on his leadership, the outgoing mayor claimed that having served the people during the difficult times is already an enriching experience for him because his administration was able to contain the rapid spread of the virus that could have heavily affected the economic activities and sources of livelihood of the people.
During the implementation of the pandemic response, he reported that the municipal government put in place an online registration platform for tourists that allowed the concerned government agencies and sectors to ascertain the town’s carrying capacity that allowed the formulation of appropriate programs, projects and activities to ensure that the effects of tourism boom will be addressed.
According to him, tourism and tourism-related activities is one of the town’s major economic driver but the programs, projects and activities must have to be put in place to prevent the occurrence of future incidents that will trigger surges in cases that might compromise the local health care system and unduly stress the frontliners.
Sagada is one of the favorite destinations of foreign and domestic visitors because of its natural attractions like its caves, rice terraces, among others.
Pooten expressed his gratitude to the people of Sagada for having allowed him to serve for two consecutive terms as the local chief executive, saying he was able to show to the people a new brand of leadership that elevated the municipality to a higher level in terms of governance and other aspects of growth and development.
He said he will take a well-deserved rest after he will turn over the municipal government’s leadership to the new set of duly elected municipal officials and that he will study his other options for the future but what is important to him is he was able to sincerely serve the people, especially during the difficult times where the situation brought out the best and the worst of everyone.
He expressed hope that the new set of officials can continue the implementation of the municipal government’s aggressive and proactive anti-COVID-19 pandemic response to allow the primary objective of recovery from the impact inflicted by the enforcement of series of lockdowns that affected the employment, economic and other established sources of livelihood of the people over the past two years to continue the road to recovery.