MAYOR MEL SENEN SARMIENTO, belongs to a family of politicians from the island of Samar. Dating to as far back as a century ago, Mayor Sarmiento recounts that a member of his family has been involved in the island's political affairs.
But in spite of this family background that may have pre-determined his future, Mayor Sarmiento did not immediately enter into politics. The first-term mayor's foray into public service began only a few years ago, when he served as vice mayor of Calbayog City from 1992-1995. He was unsuccessful in his bid for the mayoralty the following term, so he took a break from politics for 6 years, during which time he ran his own construction firm. Mayor Sarmiento is very proud to say that he is among the few who won foreign-funded contracts over foreign contractors, an indication that the Filipino can indeed compete in a global economy.
In 2001, he ran and won as Mayor of Calbayog City. Since then, there was no turning back. When he assumed office, Mayor Sarmiento faced the daunting task of reversing a PhP144M deficit, alongside a City Council and City Hall that were largely loyal to the previous administration. Only over a year in office and already his administration has exhibited impressive gains.
Through a series of strategies he attributes to his experience in the private sector and the CDS process, his administration has increased tax collection efficiency to 97.65% (from 6.87% in 1997), increased local revenue by 5.4%, and a 130% increase in revenues from business collections.Mayor Sarmiento is a very hands-on local chief executive. His typical day starts at 7AM when he goes to his office to plan out his day. By mid-morning, he is already roaming the streets and barangays of the city. He visits the farmers in the fields, talks to barangay captains, and does his own share in promoting women's health by chatting with anticipating mothers waiting for their turn to see the doctor. His day does not end until about 1AM, during which time he concentrates on the paperwork for the following day.