MAYOR Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic is leading the Municipality of Odiongan in Romblon Province (Philippines). Embracing inclusivity, the value is well reflected throughout her actions and how she sees things, from facing the COVID-19 challenge to responding to the rise of technology. Mayor Trina always connects things to her local people and what it means for them.

COVID-19 and Equal Support

With the applied restriction due to COVID-19, the Odiongan Municipality promotes backyard farming. It is conducted through the distribution of different varieties of seeds to local people. This initiative minimises the spread of the virus as local people do not need to risk going to the market and at the same time ensures the provision of healthy and nutritious food for the family. Moreover, it helps the families to generate income if they sell their excess harvest.

Under the leadership of Mayor Trina, the municipality also recognises that farmers are commonly male, while vegetable and fruit producers are mostly women. Mayor Trina believes that gender inequality is inextricably linked to other systems of inequality. For the COVID-19 initiative, she ensures that the support is equally given to both genders. The municipal government directly purchases their produce and transports it to town. The fresh produce is used for the relief packs distributed to 15,000 households of Odiongan.

Technology and Inclusivity

In regards to technology, Mayor Trina acknowledges the benefits of technology and how it can support the development of a city. At the same time, she is also aware that technology development can replace human labour and add to the employment challenge that the city has. Thus, she highlighted that it is important to ensure that technology development enhances what we have, instead of adding to the challenge we are currently facing.

In her interview with the Business World discussing Industrial Revolution 4.0 and technology, she also acknowledged that government is about providing the solution for large scale problems. However, she emphasised that it can only happen when everybody is on board. According to her, this is why we need to have a policy on inclusivity, to make sure that no one gets left behind. “Technology will be for nothing if people will get left behind,” she said.