Diplahan rated as fast developing town in Sibugay PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 June 2011 15:22

Diplahan was used to be just a dusty and sleepy town since its charter until some five years ago. Its prime reason is the political advent of the Palmas in the mayoral helm of Diplahan. Their leadership caused its drastic change to be the fastest growing economy and developing town in Sibugay Province at present.

In an interview, Sibugay Provincial Board Member Atty. Eric Yap Palma (former Diplahan mayor for three consecutive terms before another elder brother won the post last election, Atty. Wilter Yap Palma),  said,“these achievements were actually the dreams of my late father that didn’t happen to his time because his extreme strictness was hardly understood by the Diplahanons. But later our constituents realized that our late father was right. Results—they want us, the children and cousins, to lead them.”

The Palma brothers governed Diplahan with the legacy of infrastructures, education, good governance, integrity and affection to their constituents. These made them more loved by the people.

The younger Palma explained, “because our town is a rice growing municipality, through our local funds, we provide our elementary students (beside school supplies) boots, raincoats and umbrellas to protect them from the elements on rainy seasons. It’s not easy for these kids to walk through rice paddies in rain. At least with these subsidies we can alleviate their little ordeals. We didn’t do them just for political reasons. They’re pure services. God has already blessed our family. We have none to ask for more but we would want our people to experience a little share of relief to what we are relishing.”

The Yap-Palmas are rice industrialists in Diplahan since the ‘60s. They started as their parents migrated to the place with just as humble Ilonggo couple from the Visayas trying their luck then to Diplahan. But they were hard working and taught their children to finish their studies. Education to the elder Palmas is the foremost weapon against poverty. Their values produced then three of the sons as good lawyers.

There are five big landmarks the Palma brothers built in Diplahan as their leadership signatures. First, the Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) with a cafeteria across for passengers to relax and dine. This IBT and cafeteria is run by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Diplahan. It is situated at the heart of the town.

Second, the two clean public swimming pools, the kiddies’ and the adults measuring 6 feet deep, in a hillside overlooking the rice paddies of the Lindang Valley by which early morning and late afternoon fogs. The mist is one of the town’s natural attractions where local tourists are now starting to flock while at the same time doing picnics at the pool.    The panorama is relatively dramatic as like heaven kissing the earth. Many attest of feeling goose-bumps when they see the natural wonder for the first time. Along the pools are a function hall they name bamboo house and a pension inn with 7 air-conditioned rooms for intending vacationers.

Third, the shelter for abused women and children that are attracting funding agencies and the national government to supporting its purpose financially. According to Board Palma, there are now 15 clients in-housed to the shelter. Each has a different story of abuses. More than five of them are minors, victims of incest. While in an interview Palma grit his teeth and was teary relating the brief. The shelter existed for two years now.

Fourth is the acclaimed Mindanao’s longest steel suspension bridge connecting the Diplahan’s Poblacion to nearby baranggays that are separated by the Sibugay River. Its construction spawned plenty of critics including Senator Lacson’s committee of rural development during the Arroyo administration because of its architectural design defying common sense. Board Palma who was then the mayor at that time needed to reason to a senate inquiry in the chairmanship of Senator Lacson who is infamously known as cold & brutal in his question shots. Despite, Board Palma convince the committee thus the construction of the steel bridge was done.

Later, including Malacanang, appreciated its purpose serving alleviation to the farmers living in the barangays across Sibugay River. Before farmers would take strenuous long cut of walk and carriage to deliver their goods to Poblacion but now it will just take some 20-30 minutes of truck and jeepney drive. A businesswoman by the name of Myrna Malan commented, “Palmas are undefeatable for any political race because of their dedication to their constituents.”

Fifth, the concreting of all baranggay to market roads. It’s now a saying all over that Diplahan is a rice grainary town with concrete roads.
Beside of the infra projects Diplahan is also a relatively peaceful town. Christians, Muslims and Lumads live harmoniously helping together in maintaining the peace & order of the town.

When this interview was made the town’s present mayor, Atty. Wilter Yap Palma was in U.S. for official business functions. But one of his councilors, Boyet Yap, elaborated further that anytime soon Diplahan will become a tourist destination in Sibugay Province. The LGU thinks to build an additional three storey hotel with cable carts connecting to a nearby hill crossing the landscape of the Lindang Valley. Its major attraction is a zip line to pump adrenalin rush for willing tourists to zip-cross in suspension to the beautiful valley measuring 600 feet above sea level. --Pastor Yap