Life begins at 40, so goes a popular saying. But to some, life starts at 30.  Sylvester Stallone was 30 when Rocky, the film which he wrote and starred in, was released.  Andrea Bocelli didn’t get his break until he was 34. Harrison Ford was 37 when he came to the Philippines to appear in Apocalypse Now under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola.

Jayvee Tyron L. Uy was only 31 years old when he was elected governor of Compostela Valley (soon to be known as Davao de Oro).  He made a record as the youngest governor ever of Mindanao.

“Compostela Valley is known for a lot of things,” he said in his message of the coffee table book, Pyagsugpatan.  “For miners and the industrialists, it is the valley of gold, the origin of the most valuable metal on earth. For the biologists, it is the home of the two protected areas in the country.  For anthropologists and historians, it is the ancestral land of six indigenous groups whose relationship with each other may not necessarily be always congenial and harmonious.  And for us who lived and spent most of our lives in this splendid province, it is simply our home.”

That’s the kind of province “Kuya Gov,” as he is fondly called by his constituents, is leading.  He is young, indeed, an embodiment of what Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the country’s national hero, as “the hope of fatherland.”

Gov. Uy may not have the experience of the old folks when he started, but he has full of ideas which most younger generations have.  “With his young age comes the natural inclination to innovation and his knack to try new approaches to address old and perennial problems,” said a report which this author obtained.

“While others settle for the ‘old goody’ solution, Kuya Gov is unafraid to seek new ideas, try new technologies, and test new possibilities,” the report added.

Gov. Uy is one leader who takes responsibility with too much enthusiasm and vigor.  He accepts challenges and tries to learn the nitty-gritty of them to come up with win-win solutions.  His accomplishments as governor speak for themselves.  “His innovative approaches to governance had brought the province to greater heights of fame and distinction,” the report said. 

Last year, ComVal – as the province is called by some – was hailed as the second richest province in the Philippines “in terms of assets.”  It is also the second most competitive province of Davao Region, and with the lowest incidence of child hunger and malnutrition among the provinces of Davao Region.

“Tourism arrivals doubled, business investments are entering in an unprecedented scale and the pace and security situation is getting more stable,” the report stated. 

Gov. Uy has accomplished more during his first term.  “He pushed the long controversial mining industry in the province to be more responsible through his Green Mining Agenda and promoted a more humane and effective solution to the illegal drugs problem through the Oplan Liwanag Program,” the report said.

But that’s not all.  He was personally chosen by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to head Davao Region’s new Regional Peace and Order Council, which Duterte himself held when he was still the mayor of Davao City.  He was handpicked because of “his youthful dynamism and innovative approach to governance.”

Now, that’s what “millennial leadership” is all about – “innovative, technology-savvy, mission-driven, forward-looking, inspiring, and collaborative.”

Kuya Gov has gone a long, long way.  He was born to a prominent family engaged in business and politics.  But then he carved a name for himself without using the influence and affluence of his family.  He worked hard in order for him to be recognized for what he is and not because of the surname he is carrying.

In 2013, he entered politics and was elected as provincial board member.  His thirst for knowledge and credibility paved him to pursue his master’s degree on public administration, “juggling through hectic public service duties on weekdays and schooling on weekends.”

Gov. Uy believes that his heart is to serve his people.  To do this, he must be prepared for the task.  After earning his Masters in Public Administration, he took short-term leadership courses in the Leadership Academy of Ateneo School of Government, National Movement of Young Legislators, Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership and the Asian Institute of Management.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela said.  Gov. Uy seems to believe in that, too.  So much so that he launched several programs for the children, including those coming from indigenous people’s communities.

He also introduced the parent mentoring system because he adheres to the belief that children should not only be taught in schools but also at homes.  Aside from basic education, he also invested a great amount of effort in making tertiary education accessible to more youth in the province.

Marian Wright Edelman once said: “Hunger and malnutrition have devastating consequences for children and have been linked to low birth weight and birth defects, obesity, mental and physical health problems, and poorer educational outcomes.”

It is for this reason why Gov. Uy considers hunger as “a silent terrorist.”  To end hunger, he launched Kusina ng Kalinga, an approach that involves a central kitchen where lunch meals for all children are cooked and prepared for distribution.

“Addressing malnutrition is surely no joke,” the report pointed out.  “It calls for an iron will and stubborn determination.”  But with his innovative approach and enthusiasm, Gov. Uy believes hunger can be terminated.

“I hate drugs,” said President Duterte.  Because of this, the young governor initiated the Oplan Liwanag, a community-based drug rehabilitation program. “In reforming the drug addicts, he does not need to build an expensive rehabilitation facility but only harnessed the power of the community,” the report stated.

When one hears ComVal, people think of gold.  It was for this reason that Gov. Uy pioneered green mining technology in the province in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology.  Instead of using cyanide or mercury to extract gold and copper, he introduced an environment-friendly, high yielding alternative process using flotation/gravity concentration technologies.

“Win peace through the ways of peace.”  That’s his formula for ending the long-standing insurgency in the province.  He did this by introducing Oplan Pagbabago, a program that infuses socio-economic reforms, consensus-building, reconciliation of former rebels to the mainstream society, and creating a conducive climate for peace. 

All these could not be accomplished without the economic prosperity of the province.  “He put a great deal of effort in enhancing the ease of doing business, construction of roads and other infrastructures, and strengthening the tourism and investment promotions,” the report said.

Gov. Uy also holds the Provincial Business and Investment Conference, an annual gathering of entrepreneurs, small and large industry players, and other potential investors where he delivers his business report and where he pitches in different investment opportunities that people can explore.

With his second term as governor, ComVal – or Davao de Oro – is on its way to become one of the most successful provinces in Mindanao if not the whole country.

Thanks to Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy. – ###