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Home About Us State of the Province Address STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS 2007

STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS 2007

INTRODUCTION            

         Ladies and gentlemen good afternoon!            

         This week marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of Agusan del Norte. It never ceases to give me the thrill and excitement, standing before you, albeit I have been through this a couple of times already.            

        On behalf of the province of Agusan del Norte, I am honored and proud to deliver the State of the Province Address. This report highlights the various accomplishments the province has made for the year 2006. It shows how we remained steadfast in our intents and purposes.            

        Using a multi-sectoral approach, more steps were taken to attain our goal of a modern and empowered community.  Programs, projects and policies in the delivery of basic services have been designed to alleviate the plight of the poor. Improvements in the investment climate were introduced to spur economic growth and expansion, increase employment generation and provide public resources for social programs. We have taken one step ahead in safety and security to deter crime and discourage criminals. Enhancing our fiscal capability and self-reliance, we are gearing towards IRA independence.  And, endowed with nature’s beauty and generosity, we give back through sustained environmental protection and rehabilitation. Finally, we advanced public workers’ productivity through capability enhancements for a dynamic and responsive administrative mechanism.            

        My fellow Agusanons, I take this opportunity and privilege to give you the state and developments of the province of Agusan del Norte.            

        My report shall be anchored on the accomplishments we achieved in relation to the Agenda of this administration.

A. POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH EFFICIENT & EFFECTIVE BASIC SERVICE DELIVERY SYSTEM

The province fulfills its responsibility of uplifting the living conditions and improving the lives of the poor by extending quality social services and by designing various programs and projects that enable them to become self-reliant and empowered families and communities. 

We have provided for the welfare of indigent families by extending cash, in-kind, medical assistance and the Integrated Social Development Assistance Program or the ISDAP. With these programs a total 1,433 clients were served at a cost of 1.4 million pesos.  Various Medical and Dental Services were extended to over 3,700 persons in the depressed and far-flung areas through the Sagip Kalusugan sa Barangay.  We also allocated the amount of   P 396,000.00 as counterpart for the KALAHI-CIDDS barangays. 

To serve the best interest of children, the people closest to my heart, the province formulated the Local Development and Investment Plan for Children.  Likewise, implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Development was started and as a counterpart, the province along with 6 municipalities provided a total cash amounting to over 2.8 million pesos.  Because of this, the province got the highest score in the implementation of our Nutrition Program in CARAGA for the year 2006.  And to prepare our senior citizens for a productive and fulfilling ageing experience, the province developed a milieu that could meet their present and future needs by supporting the Provincial Federation of Senior Citizens.  

I am proud to report that finally we have covered a total of 19,567 or about 100% of the targeted indigent families in the implementation of Philhealth’s National Health Insurance Program.  Coverage of the target beneficiaries is remarkably high as compared to the 3,386 coverage the previous year.  This, we were able to achieve through the multi-payor scheme where the province, the municipality and the barangay worked hand in hand.  According to PhilHealth, we are as of 2006 the only province providing this breadth of coverage. 

Responding to the educational needs of every Agusanon, we have expanded school participation, improved functional literacy and higher pupil/student competencies especially in English, Science, Math and Values Education, resulting to a 97.34% graduation rate.  

Teachers were given all the opportunities to improve their competencies in their subject areas and in new teaching strategies using computer-assisted instructions and other multi-media materials and facilities.  In connection to this, the province in coordination with the Office of Congresswoman Angel M. Amante, the DTI and the DOST, distributed several computers sets to different schools in Agusan del Norte.  This should enhance computer literacy among school children as we face the challenge of modern technology. 

We now have 167 complete elementary schools and 24 public secondary schools.  Three integrated secondary schools were opened last year, boosting the capability of the education sector to provide services. 

To sustain greater awareness on the importance of drug prevention, students in the different schools, both in the elementary and secondary levels, were organized. Special Education classes aimed at educating students with special needs to attain their fullest potentials were conducted. It provided the differently abled, the talented and exceptional a road to opportunities to a relatively normal, independent and productive life. 

The province recognizes the considerable number of prospective Muslim enrollees for its Madrasah Classes. There are now four classes with a total enrolment of 136 in selected schools.  Moreover, we have started the SIKAT schools or the School for Indigenous Knowledge, Arts and Tradition for the Indigenous People Groups. 

The pursuit of quality education, the key to personal and national growth is a concern that every Agusanon should give full attention.  In a highly competitive global economy, providing excellent education to our youth is the key to our survival as a people and as a community. 

In our desire for quality technical education and skills development for the Agusanon workforce, the province has set aside funds for the establishment of a Provincial Training Center in Mat-i, Las Nieves.  Last year, we have graduated 213 trainees of different skills training program. 

In the area of health, we have been moving towards eliminating the dreaded Filariasis as a public problem in endemic communities.  Advocacy and awareness is crucial in this undertaking.  247,000 or 81% of the eligible population submitted themselves for Mass Drug Administration. 

Our Barangay Health Workers continued to be actively involved in planning and carrying out health and related activities making themselves available at all times from the lowest level to the highest services of the pyramidal network in their locality. They are the little-known workers but the big heroes in our communities despite the very meager financial support they get, some receiving less than PhP 1,000.00 per year.  There are now a total 1,839 well trained BHWs in the province.  We will continue to work for the filling of the gap for BHWs. 

Through the Botika ng Barangay Program, the province in coordination with the DOH and other concerned agencies was able to provide safe, effective, accessible and affordable medicines to majority of the people especially the poor.  There are now 28 Botika ng Barangay outlets throughout the province.  We will continue to work for the establishment of at least 1 outlet for each Barangay. 

Since a good number of the population have turned back to herbal medicine for healing, we established Communal Herbal Gardens in CADC and non-CADC barangays.  There are now 17 barangays who have established herbal gardens.  Information and Education Campaign on Herbal Medicine was intensified by incorporating the topics in BHW trainings.  This was made possible through IFAD funds.     

In support of the DOH’s thrust of eliminating rabies and declaring a rabies-free Philippines by 2020, the province has committed itself to the prevention of human deaths due to rabies by providing free anti-rabies vaccines. A total 388 patients were vaccinated during the year in review. 

The National TB Control Program on the other hand, a collaboration of the DOH, the LGUs and other sectors aimed at reducing deaths and illnesses caused by TB was successfully implemented. The province is implementing the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course Chemotherapy or the DOTS as a strategy to stop TB.  An 88% cure rate of the 571 TB cases was reported.  

Also, we are on the process of eliminating leprosy as a public health problem with the help of the Culion Foundation – an NGO that provides drugs and vitamins to patients, allowances and training to health workers and doctors alike. 

Care for pregnant mothers and the newborn during delivery is very critical for both the mother and child. Maternal death last year was only 2 compared to the previous year’s - 8.  Credit goes to our health workers for motivating mothers to consult professional health workers. 

The Adopt a Hospital Room Program also brought significant improvements to our hospital facility.  These include among others, cash, construction supplies, fixtures and hospital equipment.  Renovation works were also started. 

For legal services, the province through its legal department rendered 32 legal opinions, 6 cases formally investigated and 17 cases handled. Legal advisories and consultations to barangays and provincial employees were also conducted.  As a result, 108 probationers, parolees and pardonees are now living normally in the community with their families not as liabilities but as productive, law abiding and reformed individuals.   

Housing has always been a concern.  In partnership with the nationally acclaimed Gawad Kalinga Program, we have completed and turned-over 5 houses.  We will put up more houses to benefit the 70 recipient-families in Abilan, Buenavista, as well as start similar project in other areas. 

My fellow Agusanons, I am very thankful that the province has dramatically inched upward in the fight against poverty.  We started with a 60% poverty incidence.  This year, by God’s grace, our poverty incidence has dramatically gone down to just a little over 40%.   

B.  ECONOMIC GROWTH           

Agusan del Norte’s economy during the year in review was able to move away from being sluggish to being upbeat.  

On business, trade and industry, we were able to facilitate investments totaling P380M resulting to the creation of 2,749 jobs.  This was generated through the conduct of investment consultancy services, consultation meetings, PCAB consultancy services, entrepreneurial training and other interventions rendered to 955 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. 

Domestic sales amounting to P17M was realized through marketing assistance provided to MSMEs engaged in production of Abaca Fiber, Cassava Chips, Virgin Coconut Oil, Branded Rice and manufacture of Handicraft and Souvenir Items.  We also facilitated participation of 23 MSMEs to national and local  trade  fairs  which resulted to generation of on-the-spot sales worth PhP 1.7 Million. 

In the ONE TOWN ONE PRODUCT (OTOP) Program, investments generated was PhP 11.4 Million, jobs created reached 398 and sales of up to PhP 5 Million was made. 

Consumer welfare has also been our primordial concern, hence thru the Department of Trade and Industry, over 250 establishments were monitored to ascertain compliance with consumer welfare laws.  

NMCIREMP’s investments in the Poverty Alleviation Fund went to the municipalities of Kitcharao, Jabonga and Santiago where there are 920 beneficiaries in 16 Peoples Organizations. A total 46 projects amounting to P4.2M were invested.  In addition, Community Investments poured to 13 barangays in the 4 municipalities were translated into 16 projects amounting to PhP 41.7 Million. 

Implementation of Agrarian Reform Programs achieved an average accomplishment rate of 100%.  As of 2006 of December, the PhP 368 Million investment made by the sector to address the various poverty alleviation programs of the province has been sustained and are operating smoothly. 

More projects relating to agriculture and fishery were implemented during the year in review. We were cognizant of the significance of the achievements and the causes of action taken in making the farmers and fisherfolks of the province more productive.  To further promote land based productivity, over 600 patents covering an aggregate area of 610 hectares were issued. 

Augmenting rice production, the Bureau of Soil and Water Management allocated PhP 500,000 for the implementation of the Modified Rapid Composting Technology covering 90 hectares in rice productive municipalities. The project benefited 700 farmers including the 30 farmer-cooperators of the techno-demo farms. Additionally, provision of 1,395 bags of Dolomite intended for soil conditioning were distributed to the municipalities. 

A milestone is the development of the Talag-Anahaw Provincial Demonstration Farm for orchard and plantation crops. An amount of P200T was utilized for planting and maintenance of mango intercropped with banana, corn and squash.  We are now maintaining additional 160 mango hills and 1,600 hills of lacatan banana.  Hopefully when harvest time comes, the province will reap the bountiful benefits these endeavor will bring.  

We were also able to establish and maintain two seaweed nurseries in the towns of Nasipit and Cabadbaran with a fund support of P200T.  These projects netted 30 tons of fresh seaweeds, 11 tons more than the previous years’ production.   

With the 20% Development Fund, we sustained the operation of the Provincial Integrated Diversified Demo Farm in Los Angeles. The fishpond project is now finished and fully stocked with 10,000 tilapia and carp fingerlings. The Greenhouse Project is planted with a variety of vegetables using compost as rooting media.  Our 20-sow level piggery produced 335 piglets.  Production from rice farm on the other hand produced 652 bags of palay.  The Demo Farm remitted over P 700 Thousand to the provincial coffers. 

Under the GMA Rice Program of the province, a total 1,669 hectares were planted for program area and 8,838 hectares for non-program area.  Average yield of 4.3 and 3.5 metric tons per hectare respectively were posted.  In coordination with the DA,  we  distributed  5,300 bags  of  palay seeds worth PhP 5.16 Million. 

The province through its veterinary office has exerted its best efforts to fulfill its mandate in the field of Animal Production and Health. For the year 2006 a total of 6,544 farmers in 54 barangays were served with veterinary assistance and services. Over 9,726 animals were treated for various ailments.  

In order to enhance knowledge and skills, sufficient trainings participated by farmers, fisherfolks, women, the youth and the agricultural technicians were conducted.  As a result, one young farmer from the province was sent to Japan for a 10-month on the job training on agriculture. 

Since open access to fishing grounds needs to be controlled as it will result to over-fishing, we established FISH SANCTUARIES.  As of last year, 16 fish sanctuaries were established covering 500 hectares.  In the Cabadbaran Fish Sanctuary, artificial reefs were placed to enhance fish habitat. Reports from fisherfolks have indicated positive gains. 

And to supplement the decline in aquaculture production, we sustained dispersal of fish fingerlings. Around one million fingerlings were distributed to our fisherfolks. Inland bodies of water in Lake Mainit, rivers and dams were also stocked with fingerlings.        

By and large our 2006 performance in agriculture and fishery was carried out more importantly in addressing the well-being of the farmers and the fisherfolks. Support to this sector is to be maintained.  The province being agriculture-based is expected to harness and develop its resources under the tenets that agriculture in the Philippines is the mother of all industries and a maintainer of human lives. 

The Infrastructure Support Program of the province for the year in review saw the completion of 34 projects at a cost of PhP 25.55 Million.  The rest of the projects are on-going or are yet to be started.  Thirty three (33) more projects were recipients of the Material Assistance Program amounting over PhP 8 Million pesos.   All these were funded under the 20% Development Fund of the province.  Further, 88 provincial roads were maintained by the Provincial Engineering Office.  Similarly, our partner at the District Engineering Office implemented 44 various infrastructure projects amounting to Php 55.9 Million.  

Through the Provincial Water Supply Project we were able to install in several barangays 308 shallow and deep wells, 2,900 meters of transmission pipeline and 2 galvanized pressure tanks. 

Our efforts at energizing virtually all households has continued to gain headways as we were able to construct additional 22 kilometer of lines. 

We have already fully completed all the construction works of the Calayagon Communal Irrigation Project and the Aclan-Amontay Communal Irrigation System.  The system will continue to provide irrigation to over 200 hectares of riceland allowing the areas an average of two croppings per year.   

In related endeavor, of the 4 major irrigation projects implemented by the NIA, the PhP 138 Million Peso irrigation project at Las Nieves is already 80.74% accomplished while the PhP 19.3 Million Peso irrigation project at Nasipit is already 92% accomplished. 

C.  PEACE AND ORDER 

Of the 218 crime incidents recorded last year, 198 of these were solved reflecting a 91% Crime Solution Efficiency. The contributing factors are the relentless follow-up investigation and appropriate filing of cases against the suspects together with the involvement of our communities.  

Campaigns against loose firearms and explosives, wanted persons and illegal activities were sustained resulting to apprehensions, confiscations, arrest and filing of charges.  

The illegal drugs activities are now on a downtrend. However, our police and the PDEA continue to regularly cooperate to address these illegal activities.  Generally, the people of Agusan del Norte experienced a peaceful atmosphere. 

D.  FISCAL CAPABILITY AND SELF RELIANCE

Excluding the Trust Fund, the province collected the amount in excess of PhP 369 Million from RPT, Business Tax, Regulatory Fees, Economic Enterprise and Shares from national collections.  Expenditures was PhP 363 Million leaving us an excess of Income over Expenditures of PhP 3.5 Million. 

The province improved its assessment services by upgrading and updating our techniques, procedures, practices and review procedures.  On the issuance of certificate of landholdings, tax declarations and sketch plans P121,000 was collected.  Collection for Transfer tax was PhP 384,795.66. Realty  tax  paid  on  transfers,  revisions  and  projects  amounted   to     PhP 1,127,126.84.   

 

For CY 2006, the province partly generated an income of PhP 2.77 Million from its enterprise section. The cash income of P2.21M is higher than the previous year’s income by 131%.  This is a record high for the province since it is the first time it breached the 2M mark in cash income from its economic enterprise. The Rock Crusher Operation contributed the biggest income at PhP 929,000.00; followed by Equipment Rental at PhP 409,000.00 and Fishpond operation at PhP 210,000.00.  Income derived from the operations of the general services was PhP 413,305.00.  Our income from Sand Gravel/Small sand grains and pebbles – netted as over PhP 10 Million during the year.   Our provincial and 5  district  hospitals  have  also  generated  for  the  province  the  amount of PhP 20,114,693.00. 

E.  ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND REHABILITATION 

In almost all environmental protection programs, we have achieved a 100% accomplishment.  We are cognizant of the efforts extended by our partners at the DENR for these accomplishments. 

We did our best to insure industrial safety and integrity, hence a total of 149 ECCs were issued to various development activities.  These issuances were coupled with rigid monitoring activities aimed at attaining compliance with laws and regulation promoting environmental integrity. 

To help prevent environmental degradation, mitigating measures were undertaken to counter its adverse effects.  For year 2006, we established a 5-hectare Mangrove Reforestation Project in Cabadbaran, Rattan plantations in Tubay and Santiago, Riverbank Stabilization and Protection in Buenavista and Santiago, Urban Greening Project at RTR and Carmen and a 2-hectare Tree Park in Las Nieves.        

For the management of our forest resource, mini-forests were established in Tagcatong, Carmen and in Poblacion 2, Tubay to assure a continuous water supply. Indigenous species were interplanted with mangium, narra and    mahogany.  The entire stretch from De Oro to Kitcharao was also planted with thousands of seedlings of various fruit & fruit trees, ornamental and flowering trees. Executive Order #21 was issued requiring all municipal and barangay local chief executives to actively participate in the project which was a major factor in its success. 

F.  DYNAMIC AND RESPONSIVE ADMINISTRATIVE MECHANISM

At the forefront of development planning, the province in coordination with the national government, NGOs, the private sector and the civil society have efficiently planned and implemented development activities leading to sustainable development. 

The concept of computerization for the province was first visualized during the early part of 1998. This program was institutionalized by virtue of a Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution in the later part of 2005.   The project which covers the province and 6 selected municipalities namely, Jabonga, Tubay, Buenavista, Nasipit, Magallanes and Cabadbaran was officially installed on the later part of 2006.  On-line transactions on treasury operations, accounting and business permits was started early January this year.  Real property is now undergoing database build-up at the PASSO. 

Computerization would soon include all the municipalities. Now, we can proudly say that the province of Agusan del Norte is at pace with modern technology and is connected on-line with the rest of the world! 

The province through its Educational Assistance Program has benefited 96 students. Last year, the Special Program for Employment of Students has benefited a total 110 students. 

For the past 2 years, the 13th Sangguniang Panlalawigan has maintained its trademark of quality service and legislative actions for the betterment of the province and its constituents.  The members faced the challenges with greater vigor and wit to effectively work for the passage of vital measures responsive to the needs of the people.  The August Body passed and approved 504 resolutions and 22 ordinances, focused and directed to a balanced budget with emphasis on revenue generation measures, food sufficiency and poverty alleviation.  Very importantly, the agenda of the Legislative Body was formulated consistent with the agenda of the Executive Department. 

To further enhance the Administrative Capability, we have conducted 17 capability building activities last year.  A total of 538 personnel from the Provincial Government were benefited from these trainings. 

We have also continued to promote collaboration and alliances among various stakeholders.  Two of the most prominent of these alliances are the Lake Mainit Integrated Alliance Development and the Agusan River Basin Alliance. 

CLOSING

My friends, it has been both challenging and rewarding leading and steering the provincial government for the past 3 years. It’s been good. It will be better this time. My new mandate provides me the greater opportunity and motivation to continue and to further improve services for the people of Agusan del Norte. 

We all can look to a brighter tomorrow as we journey Agusan del Norte to the challenges of the future. Armed with hard work and commitment, let us all join our hands in carving-out Agusan del Norte for the next generation. 

To the workers in government, I extol your professionalism.  To the barangay leaders, your excellence.  To my constituents, your faith. I thank you all.  God bles


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