In State of the Province Address (SOPA): Gov. Cua credits people for 2018 achievements
posted 8-Nov-2018  ·  
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In his second State of the Province Address last week, Governor Joseph Cua gave credit to the people, including capitol officials, employees and partner agencies for the “pro-people” and “pro-poor” accomplishments of his administration, asking constituents to continue to trust his leadership.

“More than giving a place na ‘masisilungan,’ we have provided services ‘na inyong matatakbuhan,’” he said in urging the people to trust him again.

Describing the outcome of his team’s efforts as “commendable,” the chief executive unveiled to the audience at the Catanduanes Convention Center last Oct. 26, 2018 the achievements of the programs and projects implemented on his second year of his term.

 “For the last three years, we have not wasted any time in making sure the provincial government of Catanduanes provides the best service that is pro-people, especially one that is pro-poor,” he said.

In the first nine months of 2018 alone, Gov. Cua reported, 1,670 indigents have benefit5ed fromk the capitol’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program. .

“An satong asistensya uminabot na sa P4.8M puon Enero hanggang Setyembre 2018 kun sain P3.2M kaini hale sa sakong opisina asin an P1.5M hale naman sa opisina ni Bise Gobernador Shy,” he said.

Almost 47% of the funds disbursed went to medical assistance while 28% went to hospital bills, 19% for burial assistance and the remaining 4% to other forms of assistance, he clarified.

His administration, Cua proudly mentioned, has allocated the largest amount under the Special Education Fund (SEF) to sports development, including the rehabilitation of the Olympic-size swimming pool at the Catanduanes Athletic Complex following the gold-winning feats of local swimmers in the 2018 Palarong Bicol.

He also cited the completion of the payout of P162.6 million Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for 16,273 families whose houses were partially damaged by typhoon Nina in 2016, as well as the continued provision of care to Children In Conflict with the Law (CICL) as well as victims of physical or sexual abuse.

Aside from providing livelihood opportunities through partnerships with Phil Nippon, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Cua administration has also received assurance from recent visitor Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on his representations with the National Power Corporation to deploy a power barge here by the end of the year to augment the island’s power supply.

The amount of P101 million has been allocated for various infrastructure projects, including P47 million for the concreting of Buenavista-Cagraray provincial road in Bato, P50 million for the concreting of  Pandan-Balangonan provincial road, and P16 million for the concreting of Pajo-Daguindingan provincial road in Virac.

The Land Bank of the Philippines has already approved the provincial government’s P350-million loan for the completion of Center Mall’s Phase 2 and the acquisition of heavy equipment needed for the construction and maintenance of local roads, the governor disclosed.

“These are priority infrastructure projects na talagang kaipuhan asin mapapakinabangan nin mga tawo. Dai lang ini nahalata ta pinili kong dai ilaag ang sakuyang pandok sa mga tarpaulin sa kada road concreting, o dai ko pinalaag ang sakuyang initials sa mga seawall or mga building ta masupog man tabi sa saindo. Bako ko ining imo. Saindo ini,” Cua stressed.

In the war against drugs, he said, 76 have already graduated from the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) of the Department of Health (DOH) as of April 23, 2018 after undergoing six months of rehabilitation. Catanduanes is the first province in the Bicol region to have IOP graduates.

Last July, Cua bared, the Regional Peace and Order Committee awarded the province for having six drug-cleared barangays, 62 barangays soon to be declared drug-cleared, and 77 unaffected or drug-free barangays.

A month later, we became the first province in the region to have a Balay Silangan, a reformatory facility for persons who used drugs and pleaded guilty before the Court, the governor said. An initial P5 million pesos has been set aside for the rehabilitation of the former provincial jail inside the capitol compound that would become the Balay.

Unfortunately, Cua remarked that the efforts against illegal drugs led some people to try to destroy his name, tagging him as a drug lord and murderer and in the process destroying the province’s name.

“The people behind this campaign are maybe the same people who are really involved in drugs. Inuuyag ninda ang sakuyang pangaran tanganing pagtakpan ang totoong involvement ninda sa illegal na droga sa probinsya,” he emphasized, adding that the cases against him have been dismissed by the Department of Justice.

In tourism development, the chief executive pointed out, the island’s attractions have earned it the tag of “a gem in the Pacific” from the Department of Tourism, with arrivals for the first two quarters reaching 119,764 tourists or over four percent greater than the number for the same period in 2017.

The 366% increase in tourist arrivals from 2013 when Cua began his first term he attributed to the active support of his administration to the promotions of emerging attractions, mainstream media exposures, familiarization tours for travel agencies and Bicol media, and the 3rd staging of the Abaca Festival that coincided with the Exciting Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown.

In pursuing sustainable tourism, the governor also launched the JCC Environment Award intended to recognize tourism establishments that showcase best practices in solid waste management. A draft ordinance is also being crafted to institutionalize the Save Our Sea Turtles (SOS) Project.

Gov. Cua reminded the public that he has not forgotten the agriculture industry, with the capitol distributing 18 hand tractors, eight palay threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to several towns. He tagged as the highlight of the year the implementation of the P50 million abaca rehabilitation program, with 7.375 farmers given Cash for Work Incentives to date. Five million pesos have been allocated to the hiring of abaca technicians to assist PhilFIDA in the implementation.

On the other hand, P5 million has been set aside for the scholarship program that seeks to grant deserving students a chance to become doctors or lawyers or to finish postgraduate studies.

“Matatabangan tana ang mga aki na hari sa mga pobreng pamilya na gustong maging doctor asin abogado, masosolusyonan ta pa ang problema sa kakulangan nin mga doktor sa satuyang mga ospital asin mga abogado na pwedeng makatabang sa mga pobreng nangangaipo nin legal assistance,” Cua declared, with courses related to environment and others to be added later.

The strengthening and improvement of the “No Balance Billing Policy” of PhilHealth led to the accommodation of 2.176 patients for which the government spent nearly P11 million from January to September, he reported.

Medicines and laboratory examinations are now being provided by Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) through an Outsourced Pharmacy and Assistance program, he said, while 536 patients have been enrolled in PhilHealth from January to August under the Point of Service program.

a tracking system of PhilHealth reimbursements established at EBMC resulted in the inclusion of the hospital as among the top ten health facilities being paid by PhilHealth in the region.

Gov. Cua disclosed that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), through its Ambulance Donation Program, has approved his request for an ambulance for EBMC, while several projects under the DOH’s Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) will be bid out before the end of the the year, including the construction of a Dialysis Center and Drug Testing Center, and the renovation and improvement of three district hospitals.

To date, the DOH has granted the province more than P287 million for different health programs, aside from the Newborn Hearing Screening machine, hospital beds and side  tables.

Cua also proudly reported that EBMC has been cited by DOH as a Model Hospital of Integrated Hospital Operations and Management Information System (I-HOMIS), with Catanduanes receiving its highest health service award yet, the Salud Bicolnon Magayagaya award, for the very first time.

All the efforts of provincial officials and employees have led to Catanduanes’ winning its third consecutive

Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), the only one in Bicol that is a Hall of Famer awardee, and the eighth province in the entire country to be declared as rabies-free, along with all 11 municipalities which were also declared as rabies-free zones.

In closing, he described himself as lucky for having as partners hardworking department heads, division chiefs and capitol employees, partner national agencies, as well as dedicated members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Shirley Abundo, which under her term has already passed and approved over 750 resolutions and 31 ordinances.

“You have trusted me to be your captain. Trust me again and onward we go,” he said, as he credited the people for bringing him to the capitol.

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