of GOV.JOSE ANTONIO N. CARRION,
GOVERNOR OF MARINDUQUE
July 7, 2008
Provincial Capitol Session Hall,
Good afternoon, Vice-Governor, the Presiding Officer, Members of this august body - the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque, Mayors of our six municipalities, Vice-mayors, Sangguniang Bayan members of the six municipalities, our barangay leaders and officials, department heads, heads of offices, distinguished guests from the private sector,
To all our kababayan here in our province, and those elsewhere who have freely chosen to seek greener pastures yet remained passionate for Marinduque:
I come to you to deliver my first State of the Province Address, a year after that memorable first working Monday in July 2007, when most of us also came face to face; where, expressions of support and solidarity with your newly elected governor were the call of the hour.
Traditionally, today’s opportunity is used to take to the rooftops for all the world to hear about accomplishments, and all the great things the provincial government has done over the past year. But the calamity that was “Frank” that hit us 16 days ago, compels us to be more introspect and modest in our approach.
We have much to be modest about. For one thing, getting the Marinduqueno to decide – for the first time in our colorful history - where he wants his beloved province to be, where we all know it can be, requires a clear and common vision. This is what the Provincial Development Council (PDC), has done and adopted a month after my assumption into office.
An old Japanese proverb says that ‘vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare’.
We will make no apologies at all for having a vision of where we want our beloved island-province to be. All our actions, energies, and our singular focus, must emanate and flow from that vision.
Where was Marinduque in June 2007?
In financial resources COA’s official report placed Marinduque at No. 72 out of 79 provinces, the only remaining 4th class province, and therefore least developed, in the whole of Southern Tagalog Region. Obviously there’s a lot of catching up to do. Immediate attention was required to address glaring social and economic issues and concerns.
We needed all the help we could get. We resorted to outside fund sourcing from various national government agencies and non-government organizations to augment our resources.
To enable a significant number of our farmers to have access to good farm-to-market roads, we secured funds from the Department of Agriculture. Initially obtained was P 37.1-million for various projects including the concreting of farm-to-market roads for Gasan.
In Gasan, the projects for 9 barangays have, to-date, been completed. For Sta. Cruz, concreting of farm-to-market roads for 31 barangays at the cost of P 20-million pesos is 50% finished.
We have also completed the construction of Matalao-Sayao Concrete Bridge in Mogpog for P 1.2-million from our 20% CDF, and have almost completed the construction of Box Culvert Bridge in Balagasan costing Php 2.1-million in Boac and the Rehabilitation of Magsaysay-Quezon Road amounting to Php 1.4-million in Boac.
For Torrijos. Buenavista and Mogpog concreting of Farm to Market Roads amounting to Php 15-million for each of said municipalities, and Php 20-million for Farm to Market Roads in Boac, await an ocular inspection by the DA as was done in Gasan and Sta. Cruz.
The PEO reports that, excluding the farm-to-market roads for identification, out of 106 barangays where road projects have been approved for implementation work, 42 barangays or 40% have been completed or practically finished.
Our engineering people have their hands full. Engr. Reynaldo Ringor of PEO has already noted that the length, span, and number of these projects completed within a year, are unprecedented in our capitol’s history. But, we cannot jump up and down to celebrate. We simply have to race for development.
We are following up with tenacity the completion of the Marinduque Airport runway resurfacing project being implemented by the DOTC. This will boost our tourism program. The country’s flag-carrier and another airline are ready and raring to serve our airport.
- ON TOURISM
Our thrust for tourism promotion and development certainly cannot pay off with a mere Php 1.6-million annual tourism & cultural budget. We’ve had to undertake more creative and innovative methods to deal with the challenge posed by such a situation.
This humble representation assumed as Chair of the MIMAROPA Committee on Tourism of the Regional Development Council (RDC). This is to more effectively integrate our Marinduque tourism development and promotional programs in that body.
We have re-organized the Provincial Tourism Council designating Provincial Administrator, Atty. Allan Jay Velasco as president. This came after municipalities have organized theirs with their respective mayors at the helm.
Various cultural activities which we conducted successfully with the involvement of all sectors, and undertaken in partnership with national tourism and cultural agencies, and media were designed to initially promote the concept of cultural tourism and eco-tourism in our province.
In addition to various activities initiated by the municipalities as part of their local tourism programs, we have spearheaded the “Battle of Pulang Lupa Commemoration”, “Araw ng Marinduque” and “Moriones Festival 2008”, among other festivities for development as tourist attractions.
We have constructed a website, at no cost for the government, that has drawn inquiries and positive responses from outside the country.
Our claim to be the Geographical Center of the Philippines has received notice and support from the National Mapping, Resource and Information Authority (NAMRIA), An eco-park will be established at the Luzon Datum of 1911 site in Balanacan by NAMRIA as a new tourist site.
Typhoon “Frank” hit us a couple of days before the holding of the awaited Southern Tagalog Tourism Council Assembly in Marinduque. We’ve had to move it to the 23rd to 25th of this month. “Marinduque Rising!” is the theme adopted by this assembly of Calabarzon and Mimaropa tourism stakeholders.
With this event, we hope to make a new forward step in tourism discourses both in the regional and national level.
- ON AGRICULTURE
Under our watch Marinduque’s agriculture, which remains as our main economic driver, must be nourished.
A crop development program has been strengthened to increase self-sufficiency level in rice, corn and high value vegetable, mango and banana. Php 5-million was allocated for the purchase of seeds and fertilizers to boost our food production.
To increase rice yield from 4.35 metric tons per hectare to 5 metric tons per hectare, certified seeds were distributed to 490 rice farmers. Bio-N fertilizer, a microbial-based fertilizer which we started producing on the 3rd quarter last year to minimize the use of commercial fertilizer, are now being disposed to our farmers.
Support to farmers also intensified with the purchase of a hauling truck and tractor at the cost of Php. 2-million to promote mechanized farming.
Interventions to improve corn yield were likewise, undertaken with the distribution to 150 farmers of hybrid corn seeds.
Similar interventions in livestock improvement have been undertaken by our veterinary office. Artificial insemination of carabaos and cattle, cross-breeding of native goats by superior breeder bucks like Boer and Anglo-Nobian Buck with the purchase of 12 heads.
These 12 head Breeder bucks have been loaned to our farmers. A similar project to upgrade cattle with Purebred American Brahman Bulls saw 405 heads being naturally bred, serving 350 more farmers.
1,750 heads of native chicken, 15 Boer Bucks and 120 heads of Doe were dispersed by our PVO in connection with a Hunger Mitigation Program by the DA.
Insemination of native goat with Purebred Anglo Nubian semen – this increases the weight of goats by an average of 25 kilos, which is an increase of Php 1,625.00 per head – is an ongoing project.
(Si Manong Manoy na mag-reretiro na sa Disyembre, ay isa lamang sa mga nabiyayaan ng animal dispersal program, na natugunan ang pangangailangan sa pagpapaaral ng bunsong anak para maging inhinyero balang araw).
SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELFARE
- ON LIVELIHOOD & EMPLOYMENT:
Our complimentary programs in poverty reduction and job generation took off with the convergence of livelihood and job generating programs which is the concept of the KALAHI (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan). This include PSWDO’s projects in Industrial sewing craft conducted in barangays that produced 102 new dressmakers, the PESO program which provided work to 148 displaced workers from Gasan, Boac, Mogpog and Sta. Cruz through rural work projects undertaken by the Capitol.
Another PESO program assisted 336 jobseekers and effected the placement of 73 jobseekers in Cavite and Subic. The Manpower Skills Registry for Offline Philippines Jobnet assisted 319 skilled professional workers and 383 OFWs. The SPES program benefited 52 poor but deserving students. A program for inmates in Morion Mask Making in Paper Mache was undertaken by TLDC to enable them to be productive members of the community.
Administrative Order No. 2008-001 was issued Restructuring the Technology and Livelihood Development Center Management Committee (TLDC ManCom). We have also designated Gen. Recaredo Sarmiento to co-chair the committee. The focus is to provide assistance to farmers and small fisherfolks, women’s organizations and cooperatives.
The TLDC also pushed for the commercial pilot testing of the Charcoal Briquetting Technology with fisherfolks of Brgy. Ipil in Sta.Cruz as initial recipient of the project.
In partnership with DTI Marinduque Office, your provincial government has undertaken an interest and collateral-free micro-financing program for livelihood. Since January this year, “Haplos ni Bong Program” has responded to 54 sari-sari store operators, food, fish, vegetable, fruit vendors and traders of various commodities, mostly women. They continue to show improvement in values, attitude and economic capability.
Construction and quarrying activities related to the development of a new resort on Elephant Island and a golf course in Lipata also provided an opportunity for the unemployed to earn income.
We also recognize the efforts undertaken by the entry of non-government organizations such as the Norwegian Mission Alliance. Together with CARD, Rotary Club of Marinduque, the REACT, the Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council, the MACEC, FARMC, Marinducare, Marinduque Market Vendors Federation and Farmers Organization they continue to empower our poor to improve the quality of life.
To improve our health services we have purchased one unit of Mobile Clinic equipped with X-ray machine, dental unit, minor OR and laboratory equipment in the amount of Php 4.5-million.
All our 218 barangays particularly those in far-flung areas that have no easy access to clinics and hospitals should be benefited by this unit. Medicines worth Php 534,000 are to be given free of charge to indigent patients served by this mobile clinic.
We are grateful for the continued support through medical and surgical missions conducted by NGO’s in cooperation with our LGU’s. Foremost of this is the Mission of Love conducted every two years by Marinduque International.
Thousands all over the province were benefited by the Mission, including 54 major and minor surgical operations costing Php 1-million but given free to our indigent patients. Other medical mission partnerships with the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation, Club Marinduqueno and Philippine Band of Mercy were undertaken for our indigent brothers and sisters.
A donation of medical equipment was transported to Marinduque from the United States and turned over to our provincial hospital in March this year We could only convey our humble thanks to MI for this gesture.
We expect that the hiring of six (6) additional medical specialists/medical officers and filling out of vacancies in the nursing service and administrative service will also make a positive mark in the delivery of health care service by our provincial hospital.
Purchase of medical equipment such as ECG machine and suction machine were undertaken for Torrijos Municipal Hospital, as well as hiring of casual employees to augment the services of the present staff. Acquisition of hospital beds and wheel chairs through donations were also undertaken.
We have rehabilitated certain areas of the Sta Cruz District Hospital destroyed by previous typhoons.
By the next 6 months a stronger Inter-Local Health Zone to optimize the sharing of resources and address special medical concerns will be operational and made functional with Dr. Honesto Marquez as co-chair.
Incidentally, Dr. Marquez and I were invited to the World Malaria Day last April to receive a citation for our people. Marinduque has been declared Malaria-Free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Various programs on immunization, promotion of health, dental programs, and access to affordable medicines through Botica ng Barangays continue to be undertaken. We have 55 Botica ng Barangay and have established 61 more.
Our unsung volunteers, the 1,283 Barangay Health Workers throughout the province have not ceased in their noble task, and there are 80 more who have undergone training to be more effective BHW’s.
Working for a common agenda in the pursuit of one vision for the education of the Marinduqueno child and youth was the objective of the 1st Education Summit in Marinduque. For the education program adopted by our education stakeholders, the Marinduque Education Stakeholders Alliance (MESA), chaired by Rev. Father Allan Malapad and Dr. Celso Guevara being the President of the alliance, will act as the implementing and monitoring arm.
Numerous corporate and institutional support have been committed to the Alliance for the various phases of this important mission to reverse the education crisis. This includes the 57-75 Group which is at the forefront of this education campaign.
To compliment our education campaign, we have provided 18 computer units with inter-active learning programs for use by the day care children. Learning and instructional materials and books were provided to all our day care centers.
At the opening of classes we distributed school supplies package each to 5,318 day-care and more than 6,000 pre-school children, and similarly to 10,000 Grade 1 pupils province-wide. And still on going.
In collaboration with the Department of Education through the able Dr. Florante V. Saet, Don Luis Hidalgo Memorial School was the beneficiary of 10 computer units for their Grade 2 pupils. This is an initial release for the computerization program of this administration. We will continue to introduce our pupils and students to the world of computer technology and information highway as part of their early preparation to be globally competitive.
This administration also intends to establish a Speech laboratory in District 1 and District 2 in tie up with the Department of Education with initial budget of Php 1.5 M to be funded out of our local funds. This will enable to enhance the English Language, grammar and diction of not only our students but also of our teaching personnel.
In tie-up with TESDA, 100 students received PGMA Scholarship program.
Supplementary feeding and nutrition education have been the priority activities of the provincial nutrition office to improve the plight of our undernourished pre-schoolers and school children. Marinduque has consistently been a recipient of the Green Banner and Crown Awards for its nutrition programs.
But for as long as there are young children who are undernourished, and mothers who are reluctant to accept the value of proper and good nutrition, the promotion of nutrition in schools and barangays will continue and PNO’s nutritious Marinaya products will continue to be promoted.
ON SOCIAL WELFARE
On the other hand, the PSWD under Julpha Arevalo likewise provided hot meal and milk as supplementary feeding for 42 days to 2,505 day care children from Gasan, Mogpog and Torrijos through a program, a collaborative effort with DSWD.
As the social welfare arm of the provincial government mandated to care and provide assistance to the disadvantaged members of our community, the bustle of activity at the PSWDO has not waned.
Funds received by the provincial government intended for victims of typhoon “Reming” were immediately distributed. From July 2007, there were 25,784 families with totally and partially damaged houses given financial assistance amounting to a total of Php 6,599,038.20 from the provincial government’s funds. In collaboration with the DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral granted our request for relief assistance for typhoon Frank victims, 1,000 food packs in addition to the previously provided 500 food packs and 500 clothing packs.
Individuals in crisis situation, victims of fire, those with physical disabilities have received help and will continue in the ordinary course of effecting PSWDO’s mandate.
Our athletes who competed and won bringing honor in the 2008 MIMAROPARAA Meet in Palawan were provided incentives amounting to a total of P. 119,500.00.
ON CULTURE AND THE ARTS
To enhance the preservation of Marinduque’s culture and indigenous arts we undertook various historical and cultural activities and programs, asserting Marinduque’s national significance in the process.
Cultural bodies such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Museum, National Historical Institute, have partnered with us. The identification of Marinduque as a priority area for culture and arts development was immediately followed by a writeshop on developing cultural programs for our cultural organizations and LGU’s. This has opened avenues for more activities with corresponding grants from the NCCA.
Issues on Marinduque’s already fragile eco-system and responsibility for its rehabilitation have been the subject of various forums, debates and lengthy legal battles that all appear to have gone awry.
In the final analysis, it is still we, the people of Marinduque, who live and breathe and die here who decide our future. The DBP Forest Project involves watershed rehabilitation, fruit tree forestation and mangrove rehabilitation in an aggregate area of 500 hectares of Marinduque public land as authorized by the DENR. It is one such response to protect the environment that needs to be nurtured.
To ensure that provincial government responsibilities to this environmental project are undertaken in a seamless, sustained manner, we have designated no less than Ret. General Recaredo Sarmiento, former Chief, PNP, as project consultant for the DBP Forest Project. The only remuneration the General gets for all his efforts is the happiness to be of service to the Marinduqueno.
To-date, 61.442 hectares have been covered, that is, 18 hectares of land in Brgy. Canat planted to fruit trees; 27.0 hectares of fruit and forest trees in Sta.Cruz and Torrijos; and 15.5 hectares of mangroves also in Sta.Cruz and Torrijos. Directly benefitting initially are 33 cooperatives with more or less 30 members each from 33 barangays, equivalent to 175 families.
ON PEACE & ORDER
The peace and order situation in our province remains at a highly manageable level. Decrease in the number of crime incidents are attributed to effective implementation of laws and the full cooperation of LGUs.
Police/SR. Supt. Ismael Lapira reports that the existence of insurgents remains a potential threat, but military and intelligence operations in the inner barangays have been rendered checked, and our police forces and barangays remain vigilant.
INSTITUTIONAL & ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS
The Provincial Treasurer, Maximo de Luna, reports that during my incumbency as your Governor, or specifically during the period from July 2, 2007 to June 30, 2008, our income rose to P 297,565,141.36.
Despite the fact that we have granted an additional cash gift of Php 15,550.00 each to our officials and employees in December last year, we were able to register a surplus fund of Php 57,533.288.00. This money now constitutes the backbone of the provincial government’s sound financial position.
Part of this surplus fund was used to fund additional hazard pay to our health workers in the amount of Php 3,466,346.00 and Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) incentive of Php 5,000.00 each for our rank and file employees.
With the consent of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan we have been able to secure a P 75-million peso loan from the Landbank for the purchase of heavy equipment to drastically improve the condition of our provincial, municipal and barangay roads.
For lack of equipment our roads have deteriorated. But with this self-liquidating purchased equipment, the province in general, and the people of Marinduque in particular will benefit greatly.
The utilization of the CBMS as a valuable tool for planning and monitoring at the local level, but more importantly, to push our priority program thrusts in agriculture and tourism, our economic drivers, required a customized household profile questionnaire that gave weight to these priorities. At our instance this has been reviewed by NEDA and new agreements with our LGU partners in data collection and the conduct of surveys were concluded.
We have upheld the rule that every official and employee is an asset or resource to be valued and utilized in the delivery of basic services. Sound recruitment by strengthening the Personnel Selection Board, value orientation workshops, employee health through the conduct of sports and health activities have been undertaken. For as long as functions and duties are performed properly, I say trust can be given to even the most petrified bureaucracy.
The appointment of consultants in the areas of agricultural development, cultural and tourism development, environmental concerns, legal affairs, provincial planning & development, and flagship projects, were likewise undertaken to fast-track our targets.
Indeed, one of remarkable complimentarity describes our relationship with this august body, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque, composed of principled, dedicated and seasoned public servants. I am truly gratified with the report of Vice-Governor, Tomas Narito Pizarro, no one else can state it any better.
Pictures tell a thousand words. Briefly, let us see some images of what typhoon Frank has done to us… (Flashes of images, powerpoint presentation)Ladies, and gentlemen, Frank’s devastation appears to be an all-time high with rehabilitation costs now running at P 260.5-million. Once again we are left with the burden of finding solutions over our unfortunate circumstances. History has taught us that the Marinduqueno is resilient. But “Frank” is a trigger.
Twelve years ago, we were confronted with one of the biggest mining-disasters that placed inter-disciplinary science in the international hot seat”. It reduced all scientific studies “for further environmental monitoring and health assessment studies - to understand the extent and nature of mining-related impacts on the environment and human health”. Commissioned studies were made and concluded costing millions of pesos, after which, with our short memories, all appear to have been forgotten.
With a concrete Vision, we are charting Marinduque’s future towards “a tourism-oriented economy”.
Time now to support the idea espoused by scientific experts to establish in Marinduque a center of educational excellence in the southwest Pacific. As seen by scientists such a center would provide learning and training opportunities in both technical and research fields about mining environmental issues.
It would fix up the minesite for habitation by experts, international students, and tourists; focus expertise on the rehabilitation of our ecosystems - this takes into consideration typhoon impacts and employs Marinduquenos.
Time now to undertake steps to recommend the creation of a Presidential Task Force on the Rehabilitation of Marinduque. I would therefore request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to immediately undertake the necessary legislative measure in this respect.
As regards measures we have to undertake to mitigate the damage of “Frank”, I have invited the Philippine Army, represented by Brig. Gen. Romulo Detabali and the PNP represented by Police/Sr Supt. Arturo Envento. I urge everyone, especially our local officials to stay after the SOPA for a meeting with the Peace and Order Council.
Lastly, let our love for every single Marinduqueno reign over us. Let us lift our hands and hearts to God and, as the song goes, “everything will be alright!”
Pagpalain nawa tayo ng Maykapal!