Kaunlaran or economic development is the last of the three K’s (the first two being Kalinisan or cleanliness and Kapayapaan or peace and order) that Mayor Hagedorn has promised the people of Puerto Princesa. This is the most difficult and challenging task that the mayor has put before himself.
To achieve this objective, he adopted a three-pronged approach: Enhanced agricultural productivity, aggressive tourism development with the end in view of making Puerto Princesa the eco-tourism capital of Asia, and promotion of livelihood activities that are not necessarily reliant on natural resources.
Initially, the City Agriculture Department and the City Social Welfare Department undertook the organizing, training, screening, evaluation and final determination of possible beneficiaries of the City’s Government various livelihood assistance schemes such as agro-forestry; rice, corn, vegetable, and cut-flower production; furniture making, goat, poultry and piggery raising; cattle breeding and fattening; sari-sari stores; buying and selling; and similar such projects that promote self-employment.
All in all, a total of P27,626,960.00 have been released by the City Government to 1,187 family beneficiaries.
Due to poor repayment record, however, seen in retrospect as having been caused largely by some of the people’s dole-out mentality, Mayor Hagedorn shifted tactic and involved the San Teodoro Rural Bank in a project called Sosyo sa Negosyo.
Under the new scheme, the rural bank puts up 150% of whatever amount that the City Government appropriates for livelihood assistance. Since its implementation, P2,664,300.00 have already been loaned out to 142 family beneficiaries for such livelihood activities as shell craft and native products manufacturing, mushroom culture, fruits vending, art and beauty shops, and many others. Since then, repayment record has gone up to a healthy 80%.