Inaugural Session of the 15th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque held at the SP Session Hall, Provincial Capitol
Honorable Vice-Governor and Presiding Officer, Hon. Romulo A. Bacorro, Jr., and Honorable Members of the Centennial Sangguniang Panlalawigan: Senior BM Adeline M. Angeles, BM John R. Pelaez, BM Theresa P. Caballes, BM Gilbert L. Daquioag, BM Melgabal R. Encabo, BM Mercedes R. Rejano, BM Ishmael DP. Lim, BM Juan R. Fernandez, Jr. LnB Provl Pres./BM James Marty Lim, PCL Provl Pres/BM Primo Pamintuan, PPSK Pres/BM Lauren Rosales.
Partners from the different departments and offices of the Provincial Government; Our partners from the various National Government Agencies (NGA’s); our counterparts from the municipal government and the barangays; partners from the private and business sector; from different Civil Society Organizations/NGOs and POs; Marinduquenos from varied sectors, Friends and Guests, a pleasant good morning to one and all.
I am privileged to make this inaugural address in this Inaugural Session of the 15th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Marinduque – The Centennial Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Centennial because we will be celebrating our Centennial Anniversary next year – on February 21, 2020 to be exact.
First off – I would like to thank God for this wonderful and blessed day that brought us together to serve God and country.
II. WE HAVE TAKEN OUR OATH…now is the start of the real work.
Yesterday, we took our Oath as elected leaders of Marinduque, our beloved province. We thanked God and our people for giving us this chance to lead and serve them. Now the time for real work has begun.
When we ran for positions and engaged in the last May 2019 election, I know that we have the same intention – that is, when given the chance we will be instrument of real development for our province… instrumento ng pagpapaunlad ng lalawigan at pagpapataas sa antas ng buhay ng mamamayan. As I said yesterday, A golden and rare change for us – the servant leaders to work for the golden age of Marinduque.
The past leaders and administrations of this province have done their part…and now, “the ball is in our hands and in the hands of the present generation of Marinduqueno leaders. I know we are a rare breed – matino, mahusay, maaasahan, makabago at maka-Diyos.
Sa pag-ikot ko noong nakaraang election sa ating lalawigan, higit kong nakita ang likas na ganda at potensyal nito sa maraming aspeto. Sa kabila ng kagandahan ang nakita konrin ang sitwasyong pangkabuhayan at pangkalusugan n gating mamamayan lalo na sa mga liblib na bahagi ng ating lalawigan na nagbibigay-hamon sa ating mga bagong namumuno upang higit na maisaayos ang kanilang kalagayan.
Nakakalungkot at nakakahabag ang Ibang kabababayan natin, walang tubig, walang hanap-buhay, walang medical services, walang maayos na tirahan, kulang sa pagkain, baka walang pag-asa na rin.
Nakita ko sa Sabong ang mga bata 3 to 4 taon kasama ang mga magulang na naglalakad ng limang kilometro para makapunta sa lugar na pagpupulungan.
This is a serious challenge to our leadership and administration.
And when I say serious “Challenge to our administration and leadership”, I don’t mean MY leadership or Velasco’s leadership alone. Leadership nating lahat ito. Nakatingin ito sa ating lahat sa SP – Vice-Gov. Bacorro and Honorable Members of the Provincial Board, sa mga Mayors, Vice-Mayors, at SB, sa mga Barangay Captains at mga Kagawad at pati sa lahat ng mamamayan.
Alam po nating hindi ito madaling mga problema sapagkat karamihan ng mga suliraning ating bibigyang-tugon ay hinulma ng mahabang panahon. We don’t expect to solve them all in “a wink of an eye” or in or limited 3-year term.
However, we must give the best that we can and do the most that we can accomplish in our limited time. At least, at the end of the 3-year term, we will leave a province much better than when we found it on June 30, 2019.
III. WHERE AND HOW SHALL WE START
We are guided by the already identified shared VISION and MISSION of the province which I know were crafted through rigid process and which, based on documents were aligned with the 8-Point Agenda of the Duterte Administration, the Philippine Development Plan and the MIMAROPA Development Plan. Naiintindihan ko na naka molde at constricted na tayo sa mga plano na ito. Ang gusto ko ay magkaroon ng pagbabago sa ilang aspeto ng mga naturan pero hindi naman talaga lumalabas dito. Dapat tayong maging creative and innovative.
The Vision: “A God-centered, empowered, healthy citizenry, proud of their heritage and identity as globally competitive Marinduquenos, living peacefully in a safe environment and habitation, a self-sustaining tourism-oriented community with a vibrant local economy under a responsive, transparent and accountable government”.
The Mission: “To develop competent, accountable, culturally sensitive and pro-active civil servants committed to establishing climate change resiliency of communities involved in pursuing sustainable development and harness the natural, human and physical resources and ensuring effective and efficient delivery of basic social services and facilities”.
The province has adopted Development Framework of Self-Reliance, Private Enterprise and Social Justice towards a Vibrant and Productive Entities that are able to utilize properly the Human and Natural Resources.
These are all good but using the process “SEE-JUDGE-ACT”, I believe the best way for us to proceed now is for us to SEE and have our common appreciation first of where we are now as a province, given our long identified Vision, Mission and Framework. Ito ang ninanais marating ng lalawigan… Nasaan naman tayo ngayon? Ano na ang totoong sitwasyon ng lalawigan ngayon? – Its strength and weaknesses; the threats and opportunities at hand; and with the development directions, framework and strategies adopted, what are the status of the many interventions and programs implemented through the years? Let us recognize good practices that are worth enhancing and replicating.
As a province, let us celebrate our humble achievements and gains.
But at the same time, let us be humble enough to recognize where we failed or are failing… We must learn from our mistakes… relearn and unlearn if needed. We must “think out of the box”. And with new perspectives, revise plans and strategies or try new paradigm if necessary.
Then, we can start moving forward – Decide on our common goal and objectives… What do we want to accomplish within our term and how shall we get there? Then act on it.
IV. WHERE WE ARE NOW?
So much has been done to bring our province to our desired development, and we recognized it. But the situation of the province now remains a big challenge – the only remaining 4th class province in the region with 47% of our people still living below poverty.
Marinduque is fragile island ecosystem gifted with lots of natural resources but it has suffered from serious environmental destruction and we need to regain a balanced ecosystem and provide mechanisms for its sustainable use.
Marinduque is the third most denuded province with remaining forest cover is still declining; It is suffering from continuous watershed degradation. No wonder water is a serious problem in the province; degraded coastal and marine resources.
There is presence of serious Geo hazards. (Marinduque is no. 1 in terms of landslides susceptibility). It has many vulnerabilities to disasters amidst the challenges of Climate Change.
We have critical ecosystem with overlapping land uses and land conflicts including illegal occupancy in timberland and illegal extraction of natural resources.
We are confronted with problems and risks brought about by previous mining operations in the province – pollution and toxic waste in our ecosystem; dangerous mine structures; agricultural lands covered by mine wastes; and other health-related concerns and the province’s search for social and environmental justice is still a big challenge.
Ang laki ng problema ng ating mamamayan 47% living below the poverty threshold; walang tubig, walang irigasyon, walang magandang medical services, at walang trabaho. Marami ang walang trabaho, yung iba ay underemployed; may malnutrition sa mga bata, walang medical check-up.
EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK & DIRECTION
Vice Governor Bacorro and Honorable Members of the Provincial Board, my proposed Development Framework is simple…actually not new:
To achieve the kind of development that the province envisions, we must consider 5-pronged approach:
- Environmental Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management & Use of Natural Resources
- People Empowerment & Self-Reliance
- Strong Public-Private Partnership
- Social Justice & Protection
- Revenue generation through economic enterprise
We cannot talk about development with a degraded environment.
We cannot achieve economic progress as a province without strong Public and Private Partnerships.
And any “economic growth” is not development without Social Justice, Empowerment and Protection for our people.
Our Development Principles and Goals are also not really new.
Other local government units (LGUs) have similar goals. (Many are similarly identified in documents of the Provincial Government).
1. Sustainable Managed Environment and Use of Ecosystem Services
We must work for the Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems.
There must be Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Various Ecosystem Services. Development plans and programs must always consider the islands’s fragile ecosystems and its carrying capacity.
Dear Partners in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, enactment of a Provincial Environmental Code is very necessary. Effective and efficient Disaster Risk Reduction & Management/Climate Change Adaptation Measures is also a must.
2. People Empowerment and Self-Reliance
Marinduque is an agricultural province. We must work for and implement a Strategic Agricultural Development Plans and Programs that not only result to immediate Agricultural Productivity and Food Sufficiency but will give impact of really improving the lives of those in the agriculture sector and steer the economic development of the province. Let us provide the needed support mechanisms and infrastructure, like irrigation facilities and FMR’s for real agricultural development. Let us not be activity oriented in our interventions but impact-driven.
Let us seriously consider Cooperative Development and Strengthening as important vehicle in empowering our people to steer development on the ground; continue to Provide Livelihood Opportunities to our people and have effective Employment Generation within the province and outside the province/country through effective Networking and Linkaging strategies. These, taking into consideration also the many opportunities in our globalized economy and the various multi-lateral and bilateral agreements entered into by the Philippines.
I request this Honorable Body for Complementary Legislative Measures on these.
3. Strong Public and Private Partnership
Let us make Marinduque a Desirable Investment Destination, Business-Friendly and Competitive in this age of globalization. We must prepare our province for the development of an ECONOMIC ZONE that will provide lots of opportunities to improve the lives of our people. Given the chance to be House Speaker, Cong. Lord Allan Q. Velasco could help us a lot in this undertaking as it will require a lot of help and support from the national government. But on the part of the province, let us already start the needed preparations.
Honorable SP Members, we need an Updated Provincial Investment Code and a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Ordinance to be enacted as soon as possible.
Sustainable Tourism Development is an important vehicle that could bring progress to our province. This is considering the natural gifts of nature given to this province, its rich culture and roles taken in history not to mention its lands, people that are just awaiting to be fully developed and harnessed towards our end. But we must have a common roadmap for this.
Dear SP Members, we need to have a Strategic Tourism Development Plan and Tourism Master Plan in soonest possible time.
Let us Promote Social Entrepreneurship and support business people and organizations adopting this approach of doing business.
In partnership with other agencies, we also need to help Develop, Support and Strengthen Small & Medium Enterprises in the province.
The Civil Society (includes NGO/PO); Business and Religious Organizations; Academe/Media etc.) are all important partners in development and governance. We will Strengthen this LGU-CSO Partnership in the province.
Infrastructure Development. In partnership with the National Government and all its departments and agencies, Infrastructure Development will always be a key driver for progress of the province. It is a critical enabler for productivity and sustainable economic growth and development. Corollary to this too is the needed Improvement of our Transportation, Power and Communications.
4. Social Justice and Protection
Honorable SP Members, we must work together to have Improved Social Services in the province.
We need to improve the condition and services of our Provincial Hospitals which condition have been cause of people’s discontent and anger of many.
Complementing this is the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles among our people.
We will continue to Support the Provision of Quality Education in the province; support the poor but deserving students while addressing needs for particular profession/expertise in the province through a Provincial Scholarship Program.
We will Sustain if not Improve the Favorable Peace and Order Situation of the province.
Gender Advocacy and Development had long been a commitment of LGUs and government agencies in the country and we need an Impact-driven Plans and Programs (as against the tendency for activity-oriented approach) especially for the utilization of the GAD Fund of the province.
Quality and Timely Support Interventions to Vulnerable Sectors (elderly, youth, differently abled persons, poorest of the poor, especially those in agricultural sector and other marginalized groups), must be provided.
We need an Effective Disaster Risk Reduction & Management and Programmatic Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation Plans and Strategies. Utilization of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund must be responsive to the actual needs.
Pursue Search for Environment & Social Justice through any legal means including but not limited to filing/refiling cases for valid claims for environment-economic damages caused by irresponsible mining operations in the province.
Continuous Support to Volunteers and Partners of the Provincial Government. We recognized the vital role of government volunteers (including BHWs, BNS, etc.) in providing the needed services of the Provincial Government and we need to continuously provide support to them based on the province’s capacity.
5. Good Governance, Public Accountability and Transparency
There can never be development without Good, Accountable and Transparent Governance.
In line with this, we need to work for an Updated and Development-Responsive Organizational Structure in the Provincial Government, manned by committed and capable personnel working in the most accountable and professional manner. To do this, we need an Effective Implementation of the PGM Performance Management System.
We need to put in place and implement the Provincial Internal Audit System and other Necessary Administrative Reforms.
We shall undertake Good Fiscal Management. Every Peso from the taxes paid by our people is important. Thus, Prudent Utilization of Available Financial Resources in the province is important.
We will undertake Improved Revenue Generation (both from Internal/External sources). We shall explore new opportunities to increase our revenue by Developing New Economic Enterprise by the Provincial Government.
We need to Explore and Utilize Funding Opportunities from National Governments, International and Local Funders/Donors and Agencies and other similar sources.
Inter-Local Government Collaborations. Recognizing the resources available to other local government units, Inter-LGU Collaboration to fund common priority development programs and projects in the province must likewise be pursued.
Nang magdesisyon po akong makisangkot sa pamamahala ng ating lalawigan, simple po lamang ang aking pangarap para sa ating lalawigan at mga kababayan (though admittedly not easy to achieve). That is to help provide our people with opportunities to have at least the basic things that we need to live a decent and peaceful life in Marinduque. Maayos na pagkain, tubig, desente at payapang tirahan at kapaligiran. Maayos na kalusugan, kung magkasakit ay may maasahang institusyon tulad ng ospital, makapagbigay ng oportunidad upang mapag-aral ang kanilang mga anak at mabigyan ng maayos na kinabukasan nang sa ganon sila din sa tamang panahon ay makapag-ambag para sa ikabubuti ng lalawigan at sa bansa bilang mga responsableng mamamayan. Simple po ang pangarap na ito pero alam nating hindi madali.
But with good leaders (na atin pare-parehong pagsusumikapang maging) and members of the bureaucracy who will create and implement good systems and programs with the support of good people – the Marinduquenos in general guided and blessed by divine providence, buo po ang aking pananalig at pagtitiwala na sa pagtutulungan nating lahat, Vice Governor Bacorro and Honorable Members of this August Body, unti-unti, makakamtan natin ang ating mga pangarap at minimithi para sa ating lalawigan.
Maraming salamat, mabuhay ang Marinduque !