I. CANDABA PROFILE
Candaba has 33 barangays with a total population that now exceeds 100,000. It has a total land area of 32,000 and 18,711 hectares of which are very fertile agricultural land with 5,433 farmers.
Aside from rice, the other significant agricultural products are green corn involving some 332 hectares and 194 farmers and melon covering some 226 hectares with 105 farmers. About 60 hectares are used for commercial growing of various lowland vegetables. Candaba remains the top rice producer in Pampanga.
Candaba has 462 fishpond operators utilizing some 3,425 hectares of wetland. The rivers and their tributaries are inhabited by various species of fish that provide sources of income for marginal fishermen and trappers.
Tilapia is the main produce of the fishponds contributing significantly to making Pampanga the top tilapia producer of the country.
Laying duck population is already around 800,000 making Candaba the top producer of duck eggs in Pampanga.
A fledgling ornamental fish industry exists in Candaba offering good prospects for the highly lucrative Koi breeding industry.
The Candaba Swamp, an Important Bird Area with assigned code IBA PH007, is home to more than 90 species of wildbirds half of which are migratory that arrive in big flocks yearly. It is fast becoming a favorite bird-watching site for local and foreign tourists.
II. VISION OF DEVELOPMENT
With a prevailing peace and order situation and the full cooperation of the people, especially the farmers and the local entrepreneurs, the full development of Candaba’s potential as top food producer can be realized.
As general rule, Candaba’s distinct features require it to pursue development that always seeks a balance between the needs of the people and those of the environment in order to address both domestic and national concerns.
III INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
Infrastructure projects shall be planned and implemented for three main objectives: (1) bringing government closer to the people; (2) support for agriculture and food production and (3)linking the barangays for unity and progress.
BRINGING GOVERNMENT CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE
Municipal Extension Offices and more service facilities shall be built and established in the Tagalog and Kapampangan regions in order that government will be better felt in those remote areas. The Municipal Building and other public structures in the Poblacion shall be expanded, renovated and refurnished for the convenience of both government employees and the public.
SUPPORT FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION
Farm-to-market roads, irrigation canals, protective dikes and post-harvest facilities will have to be rehabilitated, improved or constructed to boost agriculture and food production.
LINKING THE BARANGAYS FOR UNITY AND PROGRESS
The main roads linking the Poblacion to the Kapampangan region (San Miguel – Candaba Road) and the Poblacion to the Tagalog region (Baliwag – Candaba Road) shall be given attention at every opportunity because the success of uniting the 3 distinctive regions of Candaba into one productive entity depends on them.
At the same time farm-to-market roads that connect different barangays shall also be given priority for this purpose.
IV. PEOPLE SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT
While the emphasis is on making Candaba a top producer of food, support services and assistance for the people shall not be ignored for they are the most important component of development.
LIVELIHOOD AND EMPLOYMENT
Alternative and additional livelihood shall be promoted in order to utilize the idle hours of the agricultural community, especially during the rainy days. Main targets of livelihood projects shall be the mothers and unemployed women who shall be taught how to produce sellable products that they can make at home.
The facilities needed to deliver health and medical services to the people shall be improved especially the health centers in the Poblacion, Bahay Pare and Salapungan. They shall be equipped and supplied sufficiently to effectively extend assistance to the needy. Provisions of lying-in clinics for those giving birth shall be provided. Basic medicines shall be made available and displayed prominently for everyone to see.
SPECIAL SECTORS SERVICES (YOUTH & SENIOR CITIZENS)
Support services and facilities for the senior citizens shall be provided in order that they may be made more active for health reasons and for community services that they can still perform.
Children at the nursery level shall be given special attention by improving, constructing and equipping nursery schools. Playgrounds and libraries for them shall be constructed.
The out-of-school youth shall benefit from special programs for sports activities and livelihood training.
V. SPECIAL CONCERNS AND PROJECTS
The special concerns are about the need for new and innovative programs and projects that shall address the demands brought about by the unique characteristics of Candaba as a potential agricultural growth center and alternative water source for Central Luzon and Metro Manila. Add to that, Candaba is emerging as a leading swamp and wildlife conservation area.
WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
The Candaba Swamp, being a catch basin of flood water coming from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, is now being considered the next best source of raw water for agriculture in Pampanga and Bulacan and for residential and commercial use in Metro Manila in view of the impending fresh water crisis in these areas in not so distant future.
Comprehensive studies and planning shall be undertaken so that the great volume of water that passes perennially through Candaba on the way to Manila Bay can be tapped and made to contribute to the overall development of Candaba without prejudice to the effort to conserve the swamp and its wildlife for future generations.
MARKETING CANDABA PRODUCTS
Markets for Candaba products shall be developed both inside and outside the country. At the same time new technology shall be introduced to upgrade the quality of Candaba products in terms of methods of production and packaging. Facilities for this purpose shall be established in and out of Candaba in cooperation with government agencies and the private sector. One cooperative per major product shall be promoted in order to develop effective marketing that will benefit the farmers and producers and not the middlemen and traders alone.
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT
Candaba faces a tough job of managing its solid waste considering its being a flood catch basin without any area that can easily be approved for holding and processing collected garbage. Because the lifeblood of Candaba’s economy is totally dependent on water that flows freely along its waterways and keeping this water free of pollution is a paramount task, waste management shall be a major concern. While Candaba proposes town clustering in the province to jointly address waste problem, it shall embark on its own program of minimizing non-biogradable and toxic waste in the environment. This includes the institution of appropriate solid waste management at the barangay level.
CONSERVATION AND ECO-TOURISM
The Candaba Swamp is home to more than ninety species of wild birds half of which are migratory. It has been declared an Important Bird Area (IBA PH007) that needs protection and conservation according to law. The local dumara or Philippine Duck alone that now breeds in Candaba is strongly protected by law that imposes stiff penalties against those who will harm them. It is among the wildbirds that shall be made an attraction for local and foreign tourists in addition to interesting spots and local festivities.
COMPUTERIZATION OF SERVICES
For faster and more efficient services to the people computerization shall be instituted by phases. The first to be computerized is the Real Property Tax administration in Candaba that shall be followed by that of the Business Tax. The long term goal is to computerize tax mapping and the database of all major concerns for more effective planning, implementation and monitoring of program activities.