Roger "Oging" Gaviola Mercado
A Public Servant, First and Foremost
Congressman Roger “Oging” Mercado started his career in public service in 1983, as Sangguniang Pampook Assemblyman for Region IX. In 1987, he served as the Representative for the lone district of Southern Leyte in the Lower House of Congress. He held this position until 1998. From 2002-2004, he was appointed Assistant Secretary at the Department of Transportation and Communications. In 2004, he was elected and served as House Representative for the province for three consecutive terms and up until June 2013. As Congressman, he was able to pass three laws which directly benefited the people of Southern Leyte, namely: RA 7095 or “An Act Establishing a Vocational High School in the Municipality of Maasin, Province of Southern Leyte to be Known as the Maasin Vocational High School; RA 7863 or “An Act Changing the Name of the Don Agustin F. Escaño Municipal High School in Tomas Oppus, Southern Leyte, to Don Agustin F. Escaño National High School”; RA 7740 or “An Act Declaring July First of Every Year as a Special Nonworking Holiday in the Province of Southern Leyte, to be Known as ‘Adlaw ng Southern Leyte’”; RA 9772 or “An Act Imposing a Logging Ban in the Province of Southern Leyte.” He also spearheaded the construction of major infrastructure projects in the province, including: the Agas-agas Bridge in Sogod, the tallest bridge in the country; the Benit, San Ricardo Ro-ro port; the Maasin City airport; and the soon to be opened Guadalupe, Maasin City Ro-ro port.
“Matinudanong Pagpangalagad,” or whole-hearted, honest to goodness public service sums up Congressman Mercado’s work ethic. Doable work practices, such as being on time for work and meetings, delivering what is promised, meeting deadlines, being transparent, etc., are expected to be practiced by all government employees - - from the highest officials down to the rank and file employees. Governed by the shared vision of a developed and progressive province, with healthy, safe, secure, and happy Southern Leyteños, Congressman Mercado outlined his development agenda, as follows:
(1) Poverty Reduction through: capacity building and employment generation for the poor; increasing incomes by adopting improved, diversified and sustained agricultural and fisheries production practices; improved and expanded health services. Taking center stage is the development of the local coconut industry, through the introduction and adoption of value-added processes, aimed at providing sustained livelihood and increasing the incomes of coconut farmers, who constitute a majority of the province’s farming population.
(2) Environment Protection and Disaster Mitigation: Congressman Mercado’s motto “one man, one tree can make a forest,” defined his development outlook. He believes that development is only meaningful if it nurtures rather than destroys mother earth. Programs to be pushed for environment protection and disaster mitigation, include: Provincial Greening Program, Coastal Fisheries Management Program, and Ridge-to-Reef Monitoring Program.
(3) Economic Development: Tourism with infrastructure development is expected to spur the province’s economic growth. Major infrastructure projects for completion of the Guadalupe, Maasin City Ro-ro port, the Maasin City airport, and the Lunas, Maasin City to Mahayahay, Bontoc road. Infrastructure projects in the pipe line include the concreting of the San Roque-Bahay, Liloan road and the Mahayahay, St. Bernard to Hinunangan road. And, with the newly-established Provincial Business Office under the Provincial Public Enterprise Board, the province can now engage in business to generate much needed income to fund development and livelihood projects for the betterment of Southern Leyteños.
(4) Responsible Governance: In line with responsible governance, Congressman Mercado is taking the path of self-reliance rather than being entirely dependent on the national government in meeting the needs of the province. Toward this end, the provincial government has undertaken major programs, including: computerized tax mapping; automated interconnection between the Treasury department and the Assessor’s office; and the revised Provincial Revenue Code.
Congressman Mercado solicits the help, not only of the provincial employees, but all Southern Leyteños to make the dream of a progressive Southern Leyte a reality. “With Unity, Solidarity and Teamwork, Southern Leyte can do it!”