State of the Province Address – Masbate

STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS OF
GOV. ELISA T. KHO

This administration has been given the mandate to lead towards the attainment of a better, if not the best, quality of life for the people of Masbate. With this in mind, this humble representation together with all those who serve in the provincial government, national government as well as non government organizations and civil society has crafted developmental efforts through the implementation of plans, programs and services and in consideration of public policies and measures geared towards the attainment of a desirable condition that could well sustain our progress for the generations to come.

With this commitment to uplift the condition of the Masbateños, we have mobilized, appropriated resources and synchronized all our efforts to pursue uninterrupted delivery of quality public services and facilitate creation of suitable programs in obtaining development from socio-economic milieu to the areas of peace and order as well as public safety.

On Governance, our Sanggunian Panlalawigan, through the able leadership of Hon. Vice-Governor Vicente Homer B. Revil had passed needed legislative policies in support to executive actions. To date, major accomplishment of our province’s legislative body is the passage of Environment Code, Tourism Code as well as the revision of the Revenue Code. There are also resolutions and ordinances passed, as support to the implementation and delivery of basic services beneficial to us Masbateños.

On Administration, we continue to extend our support in the terms of financial and logistic aspects to sustain the functionality of the local special bodies which were created by virtue of the mandates of the Local Government Code, which in return will help in the crafting of policies for the attainment of development goals. 
 
On Financial Management, we continue to utilize all our resources taking into considerations the statutory and contractual obligations as well as other requirements and limitations set by laws. With the revision of our revenue code, we hope to further increase our income and lessen if not totally eliminate financial wastage. We have likewise set, revenue policy directions to safeguard our finances and to establish accountability and transparency as well.

SECTORAL ACCOMPLISHMENT:

1. ECONOMIC SECTOR:

On Power Facility – From the year 2008 to date, the MASELCO’s distribution of power lines in mainland Masbate has been expanded to 50 barangays of the 12 municipalities of the province, such as (Barangays Tubod, Mahayag, Pasiagon and Daraga in Placer; to Cagbatang, Estampar, Divisoria, San Pedro, and Cadulawan in the municipality of Cataingan; with barangays Malbug, Taberna, Lague-lague and Guiom in Cawayan; Madangcalan, Ubongan Diot, Magdalena, Lahong  Interior,  and Batuila in the  municipality of Baleno ; Maolingon, Mabato-bato, Cabitan, Bat-ongan, Nanipsan and Guincaiptan in Mandaon;  and in the municipality of Aroroy, we have energized the barangays of  Capsay, Panique, Luy-a, Malubi, Nabongsoran and Managa-naga. We also have extended the lines to the municipality of Esperanza, covering the barangays of Iligan, Potingbato and Santiago. Still on the south district, we have the municipality of Dimasalang which covers the barangays of Divisoria, Balantay,  and San Vicente.  Barangay Pawa and Cagay in the City of Masbate while barangays Bonbon, Matanglad, MR Espinosa for Milagros and the  barangays  of Arado, San Mateo, Madao and Mabini in Uson).
The Department of Agrarian Reforms on the other hand was able to put up 557 units of solar homes electrification in the 3 municipalities of the 1st District of Masbate, the areas not reached by Ticao Electric Cooperative (TISELCO).

Fishery – very recently, the Office of the Provincial Fishery and Aquatic Resources was able to put-up a Mariculture projects (talaba, seaweeds and bangus fish cage) in barangay Maingaran, Masbate City. It is now operational with a newly repaired building (Mariculture Office) manned by 2 staff. The project envisioned to help our  fisherfolks increase income in as much as the fishery resources in the province is threatened by the declining fish catch brought about by the illegal fishing methods and destruction of coral reefs and marine habitats.   They were also provided with complete sets of scuba diving gear purposely for the continuous underwater assessment and monitoring, undertaken by duly licensed Scuba Divers to support ecotourism activities.

In coordination with our police forces, this office likewise leads in the implementation of fishery laws like illegal fishing as well as fishery regulations and conservations.

On the Veterinary side, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian continues to conduct regular vaccination for the prevention and control of diseases among animals and poultry. Diseases such as foot and mouth (FMD) and bird flu were prevented from spreading due to speedy action of our veterinarians.
The services such as deworming, treatment, anti-tetanus and anti-rabies are regularly maintained.  Specifically on anti-rabies vaccinations, my administration strongly supports the office’s drive to let Masbate become a “rabies free province”.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) – Our port of entry is located in Masbate City and is said to be one of the finest harbors in the country. It facilitates inter-island as well as inter-regional travel duly maintained by our men in the PPA. To date the roll-on-roll-off (RORO) facilities is fully operational, thus, Masbatenos can now enjoy the safest, affordable and regular inter-regional and inter- country travel. With the full operation of RORO vessel, there has been a noticeable increase in revenues of the province.

With regards to the development and management of water resources for irrigation, the province has a total of 5,118 hectares provided with irrigation facilities, per reports from the National Irrigation Administration Office. Restoration, repair and rehabilitation of NIA assisted Communal Irrigation System has been the focus of implementation of this office for the year 2008, per recommendation from the Office of the President through the Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Efforts (CARE) funds.

Generation of new area for irrigation is the focus of implementation for the year, 2009.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculture in support to the national thrust towards hunger mitigation, economic resiliency and food sufficiency is actively implementing the President’s banner programs on rice, corn and high value commercial crops (HVCC) under its new enhanced programs through Fertilizers, Irrigation, Education and Extension, Loan Dryers and Seeds (FIELDS).

On rice production, the office had conducted and completed 29 sites of palay check farmer field school (FFS) trainings benefiting 1,164 rice farmers, and had distributed 2,139 bags of certified rice seeds under the seed subsidy program of the Department of Agriculture. With this intervention, the province has registered a remarkable 75.36% increased in rice production, and considered highest in the entire region.

The province has also distributed 95 bags of Open Pollinated Variety (OPV) corn to corn producing areas, aside from the conduct of training on corn husk utilization and Aflatoxin. On HVCC program, the office has conducted 5 trainings on Mango production and had awarded 1 unit Dehydrating Machine to the Masbate Provincial Mango Growers Association, courtesy of DA RFU V. This machine can be used in mango processing, hence, the Department of Science and Technology provided techno transfer and skills training as well as financial support through the Comprehensive Agricultural Productivity Enhancement Program (CAPE) as start-up capital.

For the year 2009, the province received 21 flat bed mechanical dryers, for distribution to different municipalities. These are post harvest facilities which could prevent waste, spoilage and moisture content in rice as compared to farmers’ traditional way of drying. Livelihood Assistance for Agricultural Development (LEAD), Food Security and Handog Abono are the special and support programs maintained by the Provincial Agriculture Office.

Philippine Coconut Authority:

This office is an attached agency to the Department of Agriculture, responsible for developing the coconut and other palm oil industry to its full potential in line with the new vision of a united, globally competitive and efficient industry.

Among its accomplishment are as follows:

            1. Processing of application for RA 8048 ( Coconut Preservation Act of 1995)
           
            2. Land Conversion

            3. Farm Mechanization ( Shallow Tube Well)

            4. Integrated Pest Management

            5. Intercropping

            6. Livestock
           
            7. Participatory Coconut Planting  

            8. Disaster Response in typhoon

Tourism:

Major tourist attractions of the province are the crystal clear and white beaches of Bituon Beach Resort in Mobo, Talisay Beach in San Fernando and Bontod Bay, Masbate City. In as much as tourism development is one of my priorities, more tourism potentials were developed and were opened like Khokak beach resort in Cataingan as well as other more resorts in Placer and Palanas. No less than Secretary Ace Durano of Tourism conducted the assessment and validation of tourism potentials in  Masbate.

The province’s trademark the Rodeo Filipino Festival, a weeklong celebration and celebrated annually, continues to draw tourists, both local and international because of its rodeo games competition and other innovative activities of the week.

On Water Sector – Level 3 water supply is now available in the City of Masbate and in nearby town of Mobo. Distribution to households is increasing however, potability remain an issue, the reason why water refilling stations continues to grow like mushrooms.

Construction of level 2 water supply facilities in the municipalities of Monreal and Claveria and the establishment 16 units of Deep Well in Jamorawon, Milagros was made through the efforts of the  Department of Agrarian Reforms office.

The Provincial Government, through the Provincial Planning and Development Office extended livelihood assistance to identified disparity barangays of the province. The fund taken from the 20% Economic Development Fund, has been the province’s counterpart to CPC VI programs and projects. A total amount of =Php= 1,840,000.00 was given to the group of farmers, fisherfolks and women as start-up capital for their businesses.
 
More or less 500 families had benefitted from the 7.05 million extended by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through micro-finance and self-employment assistance (SEA) projects, while 320 Operators of Tindahan Natin Stores were served throughout the province. These projects are in support to Anti-hunger mitigation program as well as Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

2. SOCIAL SECTOR:

The Diocese of Masbate Social Action Foundation, Inc. (DIMASAFI) is the social apostolate arm of the church. It addresses social issues through genuine concern for people empowerment and has also programs on sustainable agriculture, livelihood development, gender development, youth development, health concerns as well as environment.  A very visible projects of DIMASAFI is the weekly feeding program entitled “Lugawan sa  Simbahan” conducted every Sunday, aims to improve the malnutrition status of the children in the City.  There is also the  Bigasan sa Parokya  which serve 16 parishes to let poor Masbateños have an access to sufficient and affordable rice thus, lessen the number of hungry Masbateños.

On Health aspects, the Provincial Health Office were able to established 55 birthing facilities in the 13 municipalities of the province, and had put-up 7 Basic Emergency Maternal and Obstetric Care (BEMOC)  and 1 Comprehensive Emergency Maternal Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEMONC) as a means to address maternal death and infant mortality, which are among the indicators why Masbate province is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. Other services extended by our health personnel are the organization of breastfeeding support groups, TB diagnostic Committee, women’s health team, provincial lactation management team and provincial milk code task force. These structures were formed to become partner in the implementation of health programs and projects in uplifting the health status of Masbatenos.

In support to Adolescent Reproductive Health, the office was able to established 4 school based teen centers and 3 community based centers, aim at reducing the number of young Filipinos, or Masbatenos in particular, engaged in negative risk behaviors. The risk behaviors in youth and young adults resulted to teen pregnancies, early marriages, abortion and even sexually transmitted infections. With the presence of teen center, we hope to lessen the number of youths with negative behavior, thereby engaged themselves in the promotion of positive and healthy self-image.

Another support program for health is the establishment of Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU). This is a one stop shop wherein an abused child or women are housed/accommodated while undergoing treatment and recovery. The place is designed to be “victim friendly” to prevent victims from undergoing same traumatic experience through interviews. Hence, the services of the five (5) pillars of justice are provided in this place.    


Philippine National Police:

The key actors in the maintenance of the peace and order in our province are the men and women of the local PNP. Their efforts focuses on the campaign against illegal fishing , illegal drugs, illegal logging, illegal gambling, manhunt operations for wanted  persons as well as accounting of loose firearms. Output for these actions of PNP resulted to the apprehension of 36 persons for illegal fishing; 9 for dangerous drugs; confiscation of 6.3 grams of shabu, fishing vessel and boats; 547.99 board feet of hot lumbers and arrested 81 most wanted person as well as 15 persons on illegal gambling.

Problems such as undermanned police force, inadequate police equipments, communications and investigation gadgets are the common factors in the deterioration of peace and order situation in the province. The initiatives like telereporting, hotlines and establishment of Community Police Assistance Centers on the other hand, has been a great help in the enforcement of laws. 

 

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office:

This office whose programs is geared towards promoting the rights and welfare of the poor, has served a total of 340 clients under the assistance to individual in crisis situation. This service is a kind of financial assistance aims to lessen the burden felt by an individual while on the present crisis situation. An amount of 703,609.00 was spent for this particular service.

On disaster program, aside from the referrals and comfort giving services, an amount of  134,790.00 was extended to victims of the MB Blu Water sea tragedy and generated 10,725 pieces of GI sheets, 33.78 sacks of rice, 838 packed of ready to eat foods from the National Housing Authority, ABS-CBN ,PNRC and other institutions extended to disaster victims.

A total of 83 out of school youths availed of the services in the Information Technology Center (ICT) duly maintained by the 20% EDF of the provincial government. On Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Program, the services extended focus more on the capability building of selected Day Care Workers, provision of ECCD materials, monitoring and evaluation with funding taken from UNICEF. The Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) on the other hand also extended capability building to implementers and monitoring of the programs through the help of the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) and the Child Friendly Movement-technical working group (CFM-TWG).

The DSWD Masbate Field Office has served 32,080 families in 8 municipalities of the province under its conditional cash transfer service of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), with an amount of =Php= 121,723,700.00. They have also provided supplemental feeding through the food for school program to enrollees of the Day Care Service aims at improving the nutritional status of the pre-school children as well as lessen  the number of Masbatenos who have experience hunger.

 

Provincial Planning and Development Office:

This office as mandated by law, the Local Government Code ,  has to formulate integrated plans not only on economic and physical infrastructures but also on social aspects. Hence, this office served as the coordinating office of the provincial government as it handles and manage the 20% EDF. On social sector, it facilitates the delivery of services to children, women, farmers and other disadvantaged groups funded under the 20% EDF. Its primary role is more on coordination, planning, monitoring as well as capability building of all stakeholders. The Office as coordinator of UNICEF also lead in the Social Policy and Local Development (SPLD) sector which cut across all sector, hence, involved in the implementation of programs to all sectors of the society.

In the promotion of the rights and general welfare of children and women, the Provincial Planning and Development Officer (PPDO) acts as Programme Coordinator for the Sixth Country Program for Children, a 5-year period of cooperation between the province of Masbate and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). An amount of Php= 2,908,562.00 was released to the province in the year 2008, for the implementation of various programs for children. With the untiring efforts of the Provincial Technical Working Group (PTWG), several activities had been implemented which include the formulation of the Provincial Child Welfare Code among others. The conduct of last year’s Piyesta san Kabataan has been a successful event in the campaign for public awareness on children’s rights and the promotion of children’s welfare in general.

Education:

There are 548 primary schools in the province and only 20 barangays do not have complete elementary schools. For high school education, there are 65 public high schools and 22 private high schools. Our graduates of high school may have access to tertiary education in eleven institutions in the province,and 3 technical and vocational schools.

Bolig Sa Eskwela Scholarship and Training (B.E.S.T.) Program

The PPDO, as the duly designated Chairman of the BEST program vowed to improve its service by effectively promoting a fair and impartial scholarship grants to poor but deserving college students in the different schools in the province.   

In my term, a total of 116 students availed of this scholarship and the amount spent for this program have reached =Php= 422,887.24 as of April, 2009. Said amount was directly paid to schools. However, for the school year, 2008-2009 a total number of 70 students passed the screening process conducted by the PPDO, and their payments are still on process due to lacks of some requirements ask for by the Commission on Audit.

3. INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR:

Our Provincial  Engineering Office, with the leadership of Engr. Danilo Marcaida, was able to re-graveled  27 barangay roads in the 5 municipalities of the province with a total of 114 kilometer road and continue to conduct the activities like vegetation control, erosion control, reshaping gravel road and patching unpaved road which are necessary in the maintenance of provincial roads and bridges.

To address Masbateños clamor for deteriorating medical services, the administration had prioritized its resources to health services by improving and rehabilitating the Masbate Provincial Hospital, as well as upgrading its support facilities like out patient building, administrative building, power plant, laundry house and morgue. The hospital has a separate pediatric building to avoid contamination of viruses specifically on infants who are the most vulnerable to different kind of diseases. To complete the package on upgrading, the PHO Research and Training Center has also been renovated to have it more conducive to learning especially during trainings and other capability building activities.

Another visible improvement is the vicinity around the Provincial Capitol building and in the Masbate Social Center which was made through the efforts of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) with support from the staff of the Plaza and Parks Unit. With the improvement of Masbate Social Center, most residents of Masbate City spent their recreational activity in the open space where they can have a fresh air to breathe. It is also equipped with playground paraphernalia, where children can play, the video house with big plasma television for entertainment as well as well lighted lamp post and cleanly maintained comfort room coupled with watchman roaming around the area for security.

“ Kalsada ang Tulay sa Kinabukasan, Sama-sama nating Alagaan”  says Secretary Ebdane of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). In as much as their office is concern more on roads, and since roads is the parameter for development, he likewise enjoined the public to be cooperative and vigilant in all projects undertaken by their office. In the province of Masbate, the projects undertaken by our First Engineering District includes the construction of farm to market roads , rehabilitation, regravelling and concreting of roads, construction of water facility, flood control , school buildings as well as bridges. Funds for these projects were taken from DPWH regular funds as well as from the CDF of both the upper and lower houses.
“Kasama” ng DPWH, ay ang Department of Agrarian Reforms which has its physical infrastructure support programs such as:
1. Farm to Market Roads to all Agrarian Reform Communities (ARC) areas with a total of 51.75 kilometers in length
2. Irrigation System in 3 municipalities which covers 235 hectares.
3. Post Harvest Facilities – 16 units Solar Dryers.
Another kasama ng DPWH is the Provincial Government through the Provincial Planning and Development Office which supervised the construction of the following projects:
1.  Barangay Halls
2.  Day Care Centers
3.  Senior Citizens’ Building
4.  School building and stage
5.  Rain Collector
6.  Pathways and waiting sheds
7.  Rehabilitation/regravelling and concreting of roads
8. Repair of :
– Old Provincial Jail
            – Provincial Fishery Office
– Office of the Provincial Veterinarian
– Provincial Planning and Development Office

Environment Sector:

The passage of Provincial Environment Code is an indication of the province’s commitment to develop and maintain ecological balance in the province.

To date, the provincial government has extended its support for the protection of Tugbo Watershed Forest Reserve in the municipality of Mobo, through the Provincial Protected Area Management Board.
 
With these achievements, allow me to extend my thanks to those who had, in way or the other contributed to the development of the province. Rest assured that my administration will continue to renew the commitment to deliver development initiatives to respond to the needs of my fellow Masbatenos.  I do believe that progress is never too hard to reach as long as we work as one to face the challenges of time.  
Mabuhay an Probinsya san Masbate! Go Masbate Grow!