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STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS 2010

             Distinguished Guests, co-workers in government, my dear fellow Agusanons, ladies and gentlemen, good day:

 For six years the people of Agusan del Norte have entrusted this administration the leadership and management of the province.  The people have once again spoken, overwhelmingly. With God’s grace and guidance and your continued support, I am confident that we can doubly do what we have done even when times are hard and perilous. There are more reasons to step up the pace. With a renewed sense of verve and vigor, we will press on so that the hopes and aspirations of the people for a better future are realized. But first let me take you back to the year 2009. Reflecting back to year past will bring more wisdom.

 The universal objective of wiping out poverty from the face of the earth is also the challenge that this administration has been trying hard to address since day one.  This is why our Executive Agenda places POVERTY REDUCTION as the number ONE Agenda of our governance.  All our efforts are geared towards our vision of transforming Agusan del Norte into a “Life Enhancing Agri-forest Industry Haven Managed by God-fearing and Empowered People.”

 In order to make significant impact on the lives of our constituents, we have been focusing our meager resources on programs and projects along delivery of basic services, notably on health, education, and employment generation and other economic pump priming and support activities.  We also placed greater efforts in improving our fiscal capability so that we can implement programs without relying so much on outside sources.  We are nonetheless always cognizant that all our efforts will not over strain our natural resources; hence we have always taken careful consideration on the carrying capacity of our environment.  To make these thrusts operational, we have continued to fine-tune our administrative response mechanism. All of these have always been our guiding framework in pursuing our vision.

 

 Allow me ladies and gentlemen to proceed with the report of what we have accomplished in the year 2009. The report will be general but comprehensive, and details are available in the CY 2009 Annual Accomplishment Report which we will be providing each agency.

 POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH EFFICIENT DELIVERY OF BASIC SERVICES

 Greater emphasis was given in the delivery of Social Services because it is in this area where many of our constituents are vulnerable.

 Our efforts of molding the youth become better and productive members of the community have been making success as demonstrated by the 2.74% increase in enrollment during the year in review.  The drop out rate in the same year, notably in the private schools, dropped to 20%.  What is significant here is our cohort rate or those who are able to reach Grade 6 or 4th year has improved to 2.42%. Our major concern is to see to it that all children are kept in school for the whole duration of their schooling age. Initiatives and strategies were made to increase enrolment and participation like the Sagip Mag-aaral Indigent Pupils and the Adopt-A-Child Program.

 

2009 was a banner year in our effort to educate our children.  Our MPS or mean percentage score was only 78.17% in 2008. In 2009, we were able to attain an MPS of 80.98%. Likewise, Agusan del Norte has sustained its number one position in Caraga by getting highest percentage scores in Reading, Grammar and Science and Health in the National Achievement Test. The future of our children is shining even brighter. Complementing our efforts in the formal education were our activities in providing technical vocational education and training or the TVET.  TESDA reported that in 2009, the number of trainings jumped 435% or from 9,655 in 2008 to 42,074 in 2009.  Added to this, 4,170 students were given scholarships, the cost of which totaled P 36.9 Million.

        We also insured that academic improvements were matched with corresponding facilities. Among others, our partnership with other stake holders like the non-government sector, resulted to the building of 11 additional classrooms. Moreover, the province was able to open new Integrated Secondary Schools: 3 in the municipality of Buenavista and 1 in the municipality of Nasipit.

Not only did we strive for an educated citizenry, but we also worked for an educated, healthy citizenry.  In this regard, we provided over 2,630 various social welfare services at a cost of          P1.6 million.  Through the 3-year Early Childhood Care and Development Project costing P23.7 million, we were able to rehabilitate and upgrade 18 barangay health centers, distribute medicine and essential drugs, and, provide hot meals for 467 pre-schoolers for 120 days. Our program in nutrition resulted to the decline of underweight pre-school children from 15.5% to 13.31%. This gained the province a Garantisadong Pambata Champ Award given by the DOH with Php 300,000 as incentive.  Last year, 93% of our children were fully given immunization. Corollary to these interventions, our infant mortality rate went down from 2.97/1,000 live births in 2008 to 2.86 in 2009.

 The province’s Annual Parasitic Incidence (API) for Malaria also decreased from 3.15/1,000 population to 0.62/1,000 population resulting to the declassification of Agusan del Norte as Malaria “A” to Malaria “B” province (below 500 cases).  The significant reduction of malaria in the province is credited to the establishment of screening centers in strategic locations and the professionalism and dedication of our health workers. Massive treatment was a strategy we adopted to get rid of these eradicable diseases as we heed the call for its global elimination. Many figures have been decreasing including the positivity rate for Tuberculosis which was 18.6% in 2008 but has lowered to 16.67% in 2009. Our cure rate was 92.7% of those diagnosed.

 We are now well equipped to monitor dengue and other dreaded diseases with the establishment of the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU).  We attained national health recognition for our local support health facilities.  All RHU’s are already Out-Patient Benefit (OPB) package accredited.  Two Maternal Care Package accredited RHU’s and 5 TB DOTS Center are also PHIC accredited.

 During the year in review, the Provincial Hospital was able to serve 71,962 patients.  This figure is above the benchmark bed capacity for tertiary hospitals. To expand hospital services, our mobile hospital also rendered a total of 7,486 medical, dental and surgical outreach programs to far flung areas.

In the same year, we provided P6.9 million as our counterpart fund for the PHIC Universal Coverage of 33,314 families.  As a result 2,896 member patients were served in our provincial hospital and in return, the province received a total of P16.1 Million in reimbursements or what is known as the Capitation Fund from the PhilHealth. 

 Our health outreach program further saw the increase of our Botika ng Barangays (BnB). As of 2009, there were already 56 BnB’s operating throughout the province. Seven of these BnB’s have already met the national target ratio of 1:2 barangay.  We are also happy to report that these village level pharmacies have posted an aggregate Return on Investment of 42%.  For this, 3 outlets were awarded Best Performing Botika Ng Barangay.

 We have started improving our main health facility by the upgrade and rehabilitation of the Provincial Hospital as well as enhanced its diagnostic capability with the acquisition of state-of-the art medical and laboratory equipment.  Combined cost was P13 Million.

 Access to safe water is another significant indicator for healthy families. With the implementation of additional 125 small and medium scale water system projects costing P 2.6 million, 94% of all households have already access to safe potable water. We are certain the gap is closed before the end of my term.

 Food security as well is a determinant of how much our constituents are kept healthy.  Last year, the province was able to insure that our staple food of rice and corn are maintained in sufficient quantities.  The NFA procured at prices advantageous to the farmers over 27,755 cavans of rice and 1,924 cavans of corn.  Also some 7,382 bags of certified seeds were distributed to farmers. 

 ECONOMIC GROWTH

 Our provincial economy is measured by the total goods and services the province generates. The year 2009 was exceptional because despite difficulties, the sector still posted notable accomplishments. Last year the accomplishment of the sector was 54% over targets.

 Export sales reached $3.25 million during the year in review while domestic sale was P36.6 Million.  Agusan del Norte was able to generate investments amounting to P622.4 million resulting to the creation of 6,491 jobs.

 Income augmentation projects which we implemented included PCA’s Participatory Coconut Planting where farmers were encouraged to plant coconuts and in return, they were given incentives.  Out of the program over 21,400 seedlings were planted and P322 thousand was paid to farmers. 

 To further spur productivity, we implemented various projects under the Caraga Integrated Development Program.  The program covered post harvest facilities like farm to market roads, machinery and equipment totaling P16.27 million.  Similarly, 6 projects costing        P14.2 million were implemented under the Mindanao Rural Development Program.  These economic pump priming programs were further enhanced by the construction of 82 accessibility and transport projects, categorized as: Public Buildings, Roads and Bridges and environmental sustaining projects. Total cost was      P483 million.

 Our program of attaining 100% energization continued. Sitio Cahayagan at Lingayao and Sitio Subait at Bonifacio, all of the Municipality of Las Nieves were all energized in the 1st quarter of the year 2009. The province for its part was also instrumental in energizing 2 barangays in Buenavista and 1 in Kitcharao at a tune of P 500 Thousand.

 Insuring sustainability is a component of the intervention we are implementing to attain our desired economic growth.  For this purpose, our agrarian reform program was able to distribute 324 hectares of land to 202 landless farmers thus making them active players in the agricultural productivity drive.  To demonstrate their potential, 144 farmer organizations composed of 10,267 farmers have already raised a combined asset of P95 million.

 The year 2009 was capped with intensified veterinary assistance and services. The province tallied a record high of 17,438 farmers and animal raisers served registering a 116% accomplishment of our 15,000 target. This is manifested by an increasing trend of the populace availing of our services for the last five years. Through the Multi-Livestock Development Loan Program (MLDLP) we were also able to disperse 190 cattle heads and 133 heads of carabaos.

 Imperatives in agricultural development were likewise holistically addressed. With the collaboration of the local government units, the private sector and the national line agencies, subsidized certified palay seeds and hybrid open pollinated corn seeds were distributed in suitable municipalities. Pre and Post harvest equipment and facilities and agricultural inputs were also provided with the support of the Department of Agriculture. These interventions gave our farmers more opportunities to improve their yield. Thus, agricultural productivity in 2009 posted an average yield of 4.2 metric tons per hectare for rice and 3.0 metric tons per hectare for corn.  This translated to more stocks for our food sufficiency program.

PEACE AND ORDER

Without harmony, attaining prosperity is next to impossible. For this reason, the province implemented several interventions to curb criminality and promote peace. Among others, we partnered with the ACT for PEACE Programme in implementing various peace initiatives and projects amounting to P1.8 million. These initiatives included health facilities and livelihood projects. Parallel activities like the Integrated Patrol System, campaign against loose firearms which resulted to the confiscation and surrender of a total of 150 assorted firearms, and, campaign against wanted persons were implemented resulting to a Crime Solution Efficiency of 91.45%. 

FISCAL CAPABILITY AND SELF RELIANCE

 Our 2009 provincial income of P 587,505,371 have largely determined how much we can rely on ourselves in implementing programs and projects.  The revenue we generated was enhanced by the contribution of several provincial agencies which have grown adept in generating income over the years.  In 2009, the PEEDMO contributed over P3 Million, the ENRD over P 4.7 Million, the PGSO – P829 Thousand, the PEO – some P387 Thousand and the             PAO - P1.4 Million.  The Bureau of Customs which remits collection to the national treasury also collected some P555 thousand.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND REHABILITATION

 All our efforts while aggressively aimed at reducing poverty and attaining progress in great strides, always took cognizance of the province’s responsibility of minimizing the ill effects on the environment.

 In order therefore for project interventions in our watersheds to be more responsive to the promotion of a sustainable environment, we insured that the characterization of our watersheds is completed. We are glad to report that we have already completed the tedious process of surveying and mapping of our three major watersheds, namely: the Calayagon Watershed, the Cabadbaran Watershed and the Lake Mainit Watershed. 

 Our program on Social Forestry, on the other hand, made possible the massive planting of 6,000 Mahogany and African tulip seedlings.  Planting of 400 bamboo strands and 3,248 vitever grasses were also done along the banks of Cabadbaran, Cabayawa and E. Morgado Rivers.  We awarded 120 farmer-beneficiaries with tenurial instruments through the LASBUENASCAR Sustainable Agro-Forestry Development Project.

 

Other high impact environmental programs included: 1) Ecological Solid Waste Management Program; 2) Air and Water Pollution and Control; 3) Parks and Wildlife Project, and; 4) Integrated Coastal Resource Management.  The formulation of the Tubay Mining Cum Sustainable Tourism Development Plan is a step further towards economic development through sustainable tourism and responsible mining.  We also implemented 5 structures that were designed to protect our fragile environment. These projects cost the province some P1 million.

 DYNAMIC AND RESPONSIVE ADMINISTRATIVE MECHANISM

 Through the partnership of the Executive and Legislative branches the provincial government continued to exercise dynamism in governance.  I would like to specially mention the passage of the Investment Code and the Environmental Code of the Province, twin legislative measures which distinguish the province as a strong advocate of good governance.  During the year in review, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed 19 ordinances and approved 343 Resolutions. A total of 92 projects amounting to P 3.7 Million were also funded under the Legislative Assistance Development Fund.

 With the mainstreaming of the computerization project in our functions, we are now able to consolidate remittance reports and submit the same to the GSIS, HDMF and PHIC “ON TIME”.  Likewise, the synchronization of our budgetary and planning preparations has exhibited more efficiency and effectiveness in our administrative processes.  We are even able to monitor our activities of rehabilitating law offenders by the installation of computerized CCTV monitors in our jail. 

 Grassroots and bottoms up approach in governance were shown by our direct interface with the barangays. In 2009, we provided them with material and financial assistance for 39 projects costing P8.65 million. We also successfully implemented the Participatory Initiative in Governance Program.  The program covered the implementation of 144 projects like street lighting, water system, drainage canals and flood control projects. It was instrumental in empowering barangay councils in planning, implementing, monitoring and sustaining projects. Project cost was   P8.3 Million.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

Our province cannot progress if we remain complacent. Only through persistence and perseverance can our will be strengthened, our vision inspired, and success achieved. The essence of our achievements lies in our will to become the best of what we can become. This year’s theme of the 43rd founding of Agusan del Norte “Ang Kakugi sa Panerbisyo Naghatag Iwag sa Pag-asenso” reflects our value and attitude towards work. 
We have to finish what we have started and keep the gains we painstakingly earned through the years. Let us not allow hard times to deter our resolve, not even financial crisis nor climate change. Our focus remains steadfast and clear- That the people of this province may one day live in peace, progress and prosperity.

 Ladies and Gentlemen, the realization of our common vision for a prosperous province will be hastened if we move in unity. I am confident that we can do it.  We are better equipped now. Our social services have continued to improve. More so, with the Community Based Monitoring System, our capacity to exactly pin-point who, where and how many among the populace urgently need our interventions is greatly improved. Maximum benefits can then easily be attained. Our economy on the other hand has continued to be resilient despite odds. We must take advantage of a resurging world economy. The opportunity is vast and the future looks good.

 May I call therefore upon all Agusanons to join me in our continued journey towards a better future.

 Thank you all and God bless.

 

 

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