Gov Lacson bares major plans

Gov Lacson bares major plans

BACOLOD CITY: Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson bared his priority programs and projects in his inaugural address during the oath-taking rites of provincial officials on Saturday, June 25, at the provincial capitol grounds.

Lacson took his oath of office before San Carlos Regional Trial Court Judge Amy Alabado Avellano while Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer will take his oath before Bago City Judge Aireen Bonghanoy. There are 10 returning board members and two newly-elected board members.

Board Members Rommel Debulgado, Araceli Somosa, Samson Mirhan, Sixto Pal Guanzon Jr., Manuel Frederick Ko, and Andrew Montelibano will take their oaths before Sagay City RTC Judge Reginald Fuentebella.

Board Members Jose Maria Alonso, Andrew Martin Torres, Rita Gatuslao, Anton Occeño, Jeffrey Tubola and Valentino Miguel Alonso will take their oaths before Bago City RTC Judge Mary Jennifer Protacio-Artes.

Universal Health Care program

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Lacson said that in his second term, the provincial government will fully implement the Universal Health Care Program and expand and strengthen the existing Provincial Health Board through six Inter-local Health Zones.

He added that the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital will be converted from Level 2 to Level 3 to accommodate up to 300 in-patients.

“It will be our premier hospital, fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities while the Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City and Cadiz District Hospital will also be upgraded from Level 1 to Level 2, to serve up to 100 inpatients,” he said.

“We shall continue to modernize the equipment and infra facilities of our eight other district hospitals. The Province will actively engage the partnership of non-government organizations and civil societies to implement disease-prevention medical interventions such as the zero open defecation, nutrition, immunization, and other preventive health services,” Lacson said.

He said that the Provincial Health Office and Hospital Operations Department “will work to synchronize the delivery of both preventive and curative medical health care services to be more effective and cost-efficient.”

“We will also urge all local government units to adopt the One Hospital Command program to further simplify the process of providing our constituents with rescue and medical interventions in times of emergency,” he said.

Half-way home for rebel-returnees

For social services, the provincial government will establish the Center for Children in Situation of Armed Conflict, Children in Conflict with the Law, or the Bahay Pag-Asa and Half-way House for rebel returnees.

It will operationalize the sectoral offices for the Solo Parents, Local Youth Development, Senior Citizens, Persons with Disabilities, and Women. We will support Early Childhood Care and Development law, by leading the accreditation of pre-school private learning centers to ensure that quality education services are extended to early grade learners, the governor said.

He also committed to improving the services of our Provincial government-owned and managed Negros Occidental Development Center for Women and Children, a residential home for abused women and children by letting house parents focus on the welfare and rehabilitation of clients.

“We will expand the scope of services of our Provincial Disaster and Management Office by managing resources, including manpower, to effectively match the emergency needs of our constituents through the One Hospital Command, Emergency Rescue 911, and Command and Response Center,” Lacson said.

Disaster response program and expanded scholarship programs

We will further improve the set-up of our Automated Early Warning System with the installation of repeaters in critical areas of our local government units to improve the response of the concerned villages in times of emergency, Lacson said.

He said that in July a summit will be organized to issue a unified disaster response protocol to be adopted and followed uniformly during emergency and disaster situations.

Lacson said that for the next three years, the Capitol will offer scholarships for the dependents of non-returning and displaced OFWs, village leaders, village health workers, persons with disabilities, and children of former rebel returnees.

The Negros Occidental Language, Information and Technology Center Global Campus in Talisay will be fully operational by next year, he said, adding that the facility is expected to train more young college undergraduates and out-of-school youths to equip them for work in the business process outsourcing or call center industry.

The said complex, the first of its kind in the province, will be offering special courses to cater to the demands of highly trained and competitive individuals of various specializations for work placements here and abroad, the governor said.

“We will fully support the return to school program that will enable the students to cope with learning gaps caused by the pandemic,” he said.

Rehabilitate Panaad Park and Stadium

Lacson said that they will continue to rehabilitate Panaad Park and Stadium, the premier sports facility of Negros Occidental located in Bacolod City.

“We will be conducting more training programs, including weightlifting, through sports clinics, to train more aspiring homegrown athletes, ” Lacson, a former varsity athlete himself, said.

For peace and order, Lacson said that the provincial government will continue to work closely with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, military and police forces, civil-society groups, and multi-stakeholders to implement peace-building activities, particularly in the rural communities.

“We will continue to provide socioeconomic interventions to our former rebels, including subsidies for the education and health cards of dependents. We shall endeavor to capacitate them in handling and managing their own socio-entrepreneurial projects to make them sustainable and active partners in community development,” he added.

“I often say that the walk of peace is a long one and that for peace to be real, we must address, preserve, and respect the core of humanity and human dignity, and it must be the kind that leaves no one behind. To our Negrense brothers and sisters who are still active in the rebel movement, please know that we are eager to welcome you back as we vow to build a stronger and progressive Negros Occidental. Choosing peace is always the better choice,” he pointed out.

Food security program

In line with the thrust on food security, Lacson said the Provincial Veterinary Office and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will complement and integrate services to provide people with sufficient food sources — livestock, poultry, swine, crops, vegetables and marine products.

“We need to protect our swine industry and livestock Industry. Negros Occidental has become one of the top livestock-producing provinces in the country. The province will remain as the top backyard producer of hogs nationwide and will continue to improve the genetics of local breeds for all animal species,” he said.

Lacson said that the Veterinary Office will preserve reproductive spermatozoa of Great Grand Parent from livestock, poultry, and swine to have a continuous supply of affordable meat even during calamities and disasters.

The OPA, on the other hand, will strengthen the potential of farm centers in the cities of Bago, Himamaylan, and Victorias, and the municipality of Moises Padilla, and increase the number of seed banks all over the province to develop certified quality rice and vegetable seeds for massive planting.

Infrastructure program

“To ensure the availability of safe, clean, and potable water, we will undertake the establishment of bulk water projects that will tap surface water that mostly reaches the sea unutilized. Our local water districts, either run by LGUs or LUWA, should have adequate water sources from such facilities and stop their dependency on groundwater.

“Together with the Public-Private Partner Partnership Center, USAID, and a private partner, we will start the construction of at least one bulk water facility in the next three years,” he said.

Lacson said that the Alcantaras of Alson's Energy will bring 32MW clean hydroelectric power to the province, particularly in the fourth district.

“With these developments, reliable and locally generated energy will be made available to every household, every MSME, and every large-scale industry, at a reasonable cost. Not only will we be self-sufficient in food and water, but Negros Occidental will also be self-sufficient in power,” he also said.

For the next three years, the implementation of the Integrated Provincial Safe Water Program will serve as the banner project for our Environment sector as it aims to

address the issue of health and sanitation in the communities and will push for the adoption of the Zero Open Defecation status or ZOD, he also said.

He added that the provincial government will develop and protect three major rivers —Malogo, Bago, and Ilog Hilabangan to maximize the use of surface waters; preserve the use of groundwater for environmental protection to prevent salt intrusion, siltation and soil erosion.

“We shall be forging collaborations, making use of Special Agreements in Protected Areas and other laws to maximize investments and livelihood opportunities for communities while preserving the environment, ” Lacson said.

For infrastructure, our budget will cover the concreting of Provincial Roads, farm-to-market roads, maintenance of nine Bailey bridges and overflow bridges that will be converted into permanent structures, the governor said.

Lacson also said that the province will also purchase heavy and light types of equipment, and nine Pontoon Barges for dredging to clear waterways to address flooding in some areas.

“We shall also construct six slaughterhouses in the towns of Hinoba-an, Cauayan, Murcia, Toboso, Binalbagan, and San Carlos City under the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP). We shall also commence the construction of the 90 lineal meter bridge in Barangay Puey Sagay under PRDP,” he added.

We shall be formulating a development plan for Mambukal Wildlife Sanctuary to develop its spatial and aesthetic advantages while preserving the natural wildlife environment, Lacson said.

Agriculture, Environment, and Tourism wellness camps

The development of 62-hectare provincial government property at Tambara, San Fernando, Talisay City, is currently in full swing. The property is ideal for Agriculture, Environment, and Tourism wellness camps.

The site will also be showcased for the bamboo treatment facility and its large-scale production and promotion of treated bamboo materials for structural and architectural applications.

Focus on the bamboo industry will dramatically reduce our reliance on timber products. It will also substantially aid in the rehabilitation and protection of watershed areas as well as increase water supply, improve air quality and prevent further degradation of our forest-protected areas.

“It will also facilitate economic growth in rural areas as we organize communities in Tambara and many others into CDA-registered cooperatives and train them in skills and values to be our development and environmental partners,” the governor said.

Lacson also said that the revenues of Negros for the past two years have been greatly affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus for the next 3 years, this administration will double its efforts to reverse the trend and to increase revenues to finance priority development initiatives and projects.

“We will upgrade our administrative and fiscal management and we will pursue our plans to digitize our systems — from planning, budgeting, accounting, procurement, and taxation, to property valuation, including the system of payments and collection of revenues to make it more efficient and transparent,” Lacson said.

“Today, I accept in all humility the task the people of Negros Occidental have conferred upon me as their reelected governor. And in the discharge of this responsibility, I pledge my utmost dedication and commitment to do not just according to my best but according to what is called for and what is necessary,” Lacson said.

The governor also thanked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan under the leadership of Ferrer, and the entire provincial government of Negros Occidental.

“We are not only capable but are ready to share, in full measure, the hard work, dedication and probity that government service demands,” Lacson said.

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