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Home About Us State of the Province Address STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS 2008

STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS 2008

Good day everyone! 

Before I proceed with my address, allow me to greet all Agusanons a happy 41st anniversary.  For 41 years, Agusan del Norte stood the test of time and today we shall see how the province fared and prevailed. My report is a snapshot of our collective efforts. More details are contained in the larger volume of the 2007 Accomplishment Report which we will be distributing. 

My friends, fellow Agusanons, fellow workers in government, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for coming and for your time. Every time I stand before you I feel a surge of awe and excitement knowing that the whole gamut of the province is represented here. Over the years as we continue to gather for this occasion, I can always see in you the drive and the desire for the public good. For the veteran and seasoned public servants, keep the faith and strive to get better, for failure is much worse knowing that we have not tried. For the new elected ones, be optimistic and share our vision for Agusan del Norte. 

As leaders, it is fulfilling to have done a noble cause in demonstrating commitment towards building a better future for the people and for generations to come. It is time we give back to the people what is due them. Our actions will be our strength in building our beloved province. We are on a mission to pursue greater things no matter how little we started - for great things come from small beginnings.    

This report I am rendering today is a window of performance, productivity, development and accomplishment for the year 2007. It will be presented following the outline of the Executive Agenda which this administration pursued for 4 years.  Next year, we will shift to the outline of the State of Local Governance Report.

POVERTY REDUCTION THRU EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE BASIC SERVICE DELIVERY SYSTEM

The province ensures that people’s health is being cared for and appropriate health programs and services are delivered through our health facilities. An efficient Local Health Board attributed to the performance of the Sector. 

Last year, we implemented various public health programs in coordination with the municipal LGU’s and partner institutions, notably the Culion Foundation whose 6 years of multi-million health development assistance to the province resulted to the provision of various health facilities. Another partner is the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) whom through the Northern Mindanao Community Initiative Resource Management Project (NMCIREMP) continues to provide health program components to improve the health status of agrarian reform beneficiaries.  The Global Fund as facilitated by Tropical Disease Foundation and USAID through the Local Enhancement and Development (LEAD) for Health is another project which, similar to the ACT FOR PEACE PROGRAMME, extends various social services to communities. One example is the Expanded Program on Immunization where 8,602 babies below one year old were fully protected with immunization from childhood diseases.

To improve coverage on dental health services, the Rolling Dental Health Team was organized to serve school children throughout the province. Over a thousand children were provided curative and preventive dental treatment. 

The Women’s Health and Safe Motherhood Program (WHSMP) aimed at empowering women for their well-being, their families and community has been successful in community health development as demonstrated by the lives of women in Puting Bato and Mahaba, Cabadbaran. At the end of 2007, there were already 20 Women’s Health Federations organized by the province.  These groups are now managing livelihood projects and various endeavors to improve their lot. 

Providing communities with access to safe drinking water is a basic need that the provincial government addresses.  In 2007, 43% of the populace or 23,861 households were served with Level I water supply system. About 33% or 17,944 by Level II or community shared water system, and  10,361 households or 19% of the total households are being served by Level III water systems under water districts.  Of greater significance, 86% of the 54,892 households in the province have already access to sanitary toilets.  I am happy to report that currently, we are already above the 82% national benchmark.

To guarantee that cheaper medicines are available for the vulnerable sector of the populace we assisted the establishment of community-based outlets for cheaper medicines. At the end of 2007, there were already 46 functional Botika ng Barangays (BNB) operating throughout the province or about one in every four (4) barangays. 

We are thankful that Agusan del Norte was chosen as a recipient of an infrastructure grant from Agencia Española Cooperacion Internationale (AECI) facilities by Fundacion ANESVAD. A total of seven (7) Rural Health Unit (RHU) buildings costing P2.4M each were donated by the Agency. The challenge to build more RHU’s remains. For Barangay Health Centers, we have already 90 barangays with functioning Barangay Health Centers as of 2007. Our target is to have at least one BHS per barangay. With our united resolve, we can attain this target.

For the year in review, the province provided social development assistance for payment of hospital bills, blood transfusion, purchase of prescribed medicines, transportation, shelter and burial assistance in the amount of P 1.65M. We delivered free medical and dental services to some 7,771 persons in 30 barangays. The Early Childhood Care and Development Program (ECCD) allocated close to P1.46M and distributed to 6 municipalities.  Including the national and municipal funds, our total financial exposure under the program was P 9.1 Millions.  

The province also allocated funds for livelihood projects through the Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K). There are already 12 organized groups all over the province who are enjoying the scheme. The program promoted social responsibility and upliftment among the poor who in turn have improved their living condition thru sustainable livelihood projects.  We also extended livelihood assistance to successful women organizations through loans in our Gender and Development Programs. 

Through the Philhealth Insurance Program we provided Social Health Insurance to indigent families.  In 2007, we enrolled a total 20,143 families under the program.

The goals of “Education For All” have been on top priority.  The disadvantaged, the differently-abled, the children with special needs, the children of indigenous people and the Muslim children were given special considerations in the programs implemented.  All efforts are exerted by the province towards the attainment of quality basic education for the improvement of the way of life of the people. 

Agusan del Norte implemented different programs and projects that the Department of Education has designed to develop learner’s competencies.  These programs have seen positive results.  

For the school year 2007-2008, two districts were added.  Jabonga was divided into two districts and Cabadbaran is now made up of three districts operating Northwest Cabadbaran. 

The performance of the public secondary schools in the National Achievement Test (NAT) was impressive for SY 2006-2007. The Mean Percentage Score (MPS) we obtained was 70.68%, a score much higher than the national MPS, which was only 59.94%. Last year was a banner year for the sector as our completion rate inched upward by 3%. Yet the challenge to further improve the graduation rates we posted remains primordial.

Education is generally recognized as a precondition for economic growth and sustainable development.Imparting important skills to individual persons is essential for better management of the education sector.Through the PGMA-TWSP or the Training for Work Scholarship Program responded to the critical training needs of repatriated Filipino workers by offering 25 courses including Information and Communication Technology, Metal and Engineering, Agribusiness, and others. For the year 2007, around 242 Agusanons have been awarded to retraining workers for skills training, entrepreneurial and enterprise development. 

The establishment of a Technical Vocational Education and Training Center at Barangay Mat-i, Las Nieves is a dream come true for the people of that far-flung area.  The Center will enable them to acquire entrepreneurial skills for future economic ventures and skills which are in demand in the market.   

As the most interior municipality of the province it ignited the hope of the youths, the marginal sectors, women, farmers, the unemployed adults and the out-of school youths, that someday, they too can live outside of poverty and live in a flourishing life. 

Our programs for the housing needs demonstrated strong accomplishments. Forty five percent (45%) of the intended beneficiaries for housing were provided with homelots and 53% of the targeted dwelling units were completed. We shall continue to implement projects in this area until homelessness in Agusan del Norte is eliminated.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

The economic enterprise of the province generated a total annual income of more than P2M with cash income of over P1.8M. 

The PLEDAP-SME and PEEAP, two of the most bankable projects continued to earn last year as it generated an estimated income of P1.2M. PLEDAP on the other hand generated an estimated income of over P592T. 

The year 2007 has been productive for the mining industry, a total 1,298 metric tons of confiscated manganese ore made the province richer by P3.4M.  Next year, I shall be able to report a full account of our mining industry as this sector is already considered a re-emerging sector of our economy. 

Our effort in agricultural development contributed about 1 Million to our local revenue. Support to sustainable agriculture includes extension and on site researches. 

The same year saw the birth of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) in the province of Agusan del Norte. This is a poverty reduction program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) with agricultural livelihood, environmental conservation and rural infrastructure component. 

We shall continue to vigorously pursue agricultural development by enhancing productivity in the agriculture and fishery sector that will lay the foundation of the province’s competitive edge in food security and production. Productivity of our farms remains a challenge. The year 2007 recorded our average yield at 4.2 MT per hectare. Fish catch however was a bit rosy as it posted sufficient surplus if ranged against the per capita requirement of the populace. Last year, our fish catch was recorded at 19,410 MT. 

Export Sales of the province for the year 2007 amounted to $0.59M while domestic sales posted a little over P51M. This record translates to a stronger domestic buying power, a sure welcome since heavy dependency on export has its own downside. Local investments was in excess P 747M.  A total of 2,457 SMEs or Small and Medium Enterprises received assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). As a result, seven thousand ninety-one (7,091) jobs were created. Our unemployment rate of 5.8% was far below the national figure of 7.90%.

The threat of Avian Influenza or Bird Flu incursion was also given greater attention. Blood sampling in backyard chickens and ducks were conducted in selected barangays along Lake Mainit in Kitcharao, Jabonga and Santiago. Through our veterinary office 9,218 farmers/animal raisers benefited from services ranging from veterinary consultation, animal disease treatment, animal de-worming and supplementation, animal surgery, animal pregnancy diagnosis and large animal artificial regimentation.

INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT  

RA 9136 or the Electricity Industry Reform Act calls for the re-structuring of the Philippine power sector to operate at high efficiency, reliability and quality while making electricity available to end users at affordable prices.  The open access provision being brought about by the EPIRA is intended to usher competition in the power sector.  In order to ensure competitiveness, ANECO will need to concentrate on maintaining operational efficiency of their system.  It needs to enhance its relationship by strengthening its partnership with the strategic customers, the community and the government agencies.  The goal is to establish a closer bond through the expansion of existing services to customers in ways that are truly value-added and active involvement in government activities and issue discussions. 

Since energization at the barangay level has been completed at this stage, ANECO has started extending its service to purok/district level.  It programs 10 sitios a year to be energized.  Hopefully ANECO’s target will be brought to household levels.

The year 2007 is a fruitful year for the public works sector, having implemented 62 projects at a cost of over P377M.  Total employment generated was 172 jobs. The   Mat-i-Ambacon-Pinanaan (MAP) Communal Irrigation Project at Las Nieves, the Culit CIP at Nasipit, the Sanghan CIP at Cabadbaran and the Guinabsan CIP at Buenavista, are among the larger irrigation projects being implemented to enhance farm production and insure food sufficiency. Similarly, the implementation of significant projects like the water supply in Magallanes has greatly helped the people in acquiring the essential component of living, that is clean water.  Furthermore,  we were able to install 189 units of Jetmatic Pumps for  Level I Water Systems, 40 Artesian Wells , and Level II Water Systems in Barangay 7, Cabadbaran; Barangay Balang-Balang, RT Romualdez; Barangay Olave, Buenavista; Barangay San Pablo, Jabonga and Barangay Bangayan in Kitcharao. 

The construction of bay roads in the area of Tubay connected several barangays, helping the farmers there to transport products fast and safe.  The rehabilitation of flood control in the areas of Cabadbaran and Jagupit protected the people from possible natural disaster during rainy season. These projects not only helped uplift the people’s way of living but also boosted the morale of workers because through their hard work they have touched many lives.

 

For CY 2007 our hardworking engineers have completed construction of 28 projects such as Concrete Road Pavements, Farm to Market Road Drainage, Irrigation Dams, River Dredging, Covered Court and Mini-Gym and  Barangay Halls.  Out of the 1,257 kms required for our urban and rural areas, we are already reaching the 1,100 mark or a coverage of 87%.

PEACE AND ORDER

The province of Agusan del Norte enjoys relative calm and peace as compared to other parts of Mindanao. During the year in review, out of 202 crime incidents recorded, a hundred eighty five (185) were solved reflecting a Crime Solution Efficiency of 91.58%. 

Intensification of police operation and intelligence work aimed at speeding-up the identification, speedy investigation, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators resulted to the high crime solution efficiency. 

The contributing factors that gave our police this efficiency is the relentless follow-up investigation and appropriate filing of charges against the suspects. Community involvement is also an important strategy we employed in combating criminality. 

The favorable accomplishments we gained last year in our peace and order drive was achieved largely through the effectiveness of the Local Peace and Order Council as well as the Local Disaster Coordinating Council.

FISCAL CAPABILITY AND SELF-RELIANCE

The provincial treasurer reported collections which included the Internal Revenue Allotment in the amount of P415,832,934.61.  Disbursement totaled P356,036,305.40. Contributing to the total includes among others the following:

·         Our general services generated income of over P4.28M;

·         Our provincial assessor collected P477,309.83 from issued certification of landholdings, true copy of tax declarations, documents, sketch plans and transfer tax;

·         Realty tax paid on transfers, revisions, newly declared properties and encumbrances amounting P826,562.22

 

With the adoption of a good Comprehensive Revenue Generation Plan, our cost collection ratio is way above the benchmark. The cost we incurred to collect our revenues is within the 10% excellent rating.  We only spent 2.17% of our revenue to collect the whole sum of 67Million Pesos. Similarly, our financing capacity is rated high. On debt servicing, we are only devoting 1.89% of our total regular income to amortize our debts.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND REHABILITATION

In order to mitigate climate change, ensure water supply, conserve biodiversity and preserve the remaining natural resources we planted forest trees within the Cabadbaran River Watershed Forest Reserve and along the Cabadbaran River. 

The implementation of forest protection activities resulted to the apprehension of 1,203 cubic meters of logs and 219 cubic meters of flitches and lumber with an estimated value of P4.064M. 

During the observance of World Wetlands Day, we conducted a coastal clean-up at Barangay Calibunan, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. We also highlighted awareness through IEC on World Water Day and Earth Day.

 

All these efforts resulted to our steady improvement towards attaining the benchmark forest cover.  As of 2007, our reforestation activities have already resulted to a 47% forest cover. It won’t take long and we will finally regenerate our forests.

 

DYNAMIC AND RESPONSIVE ADMINISTRATIVE MECHANISM

To be effective, development management should be implemented as a comprehensive and continuous activity and not as a periodic reaction to individual development needs. The province continues to pursue active coordination with multi-stakeholders to efficiently plan and implement activities towards sustainable development. Of the 254 projects funded out of the 20% Development Fund, 210 or 82.68% were implemented in partnership with local civil societies.  Moreover, 74% of these projects directly respond to the vulnerable sector of the populace. 

The prolific members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan, on their part continued to pass significant legislations geared towards progress and development of the province. Our Sangguniang Panlalawigan has maintained its trademark of giving out quality service to the constituents. For the year in review, the August body passed and approved 520 resolutions and 20 ordinances. They also approved a balanced annual budget sufficient responsive to the needs of the province while placing emphasis on revenue generation, food sufficiency and poverty alleviation. 

With the presence of a functional website as well as the manning of an information desk, the province was able to discharge its functions and duties in utmost transparency. This is more manifested by the active participation of different sectors in the way we govern and pursue development.

CLOSING 

My fellow Agusanons, we should continue to bolster our local economy through aggressive networking with investors, local and international businessmen and NGOs, the private sector and the civil society.  

We should gather all efforts to brace ourselves against the coming onslaught of economic difficulties beyond our control that is rocking the country and the province as well, and even felt worldwide. 

We should give these matters a great deal of thought before we go back to our homes and families knowing that amidst the skyrocketing prices of rice, fuel and other basic commodities there is hope.  The people of Agusan del Norte can overcome this overwhelming challenge.  We just have to rise above these difficulties.  

We should be persistent in our resolve. Let us find our strengths in each other. Together, we can surmount any misfortune. Then, we can move on as one province and one community. 

I am taking this opportunity to say to you that I am proud and honored to carry the banner of Agusan del Norte and lead the way in our pursuit of a better life for our people.   

Maayong gabii sa tanan ug usab, daghang salamat.

 

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