STATE OF THE MUNICIPAL ADDRESS
Delivered on November 26, 2010
At the Municipal Gymnasium, during the Mass Oath-taking of the newly elected barangay and SK Officials
The supportive members of the 7th Municipal Council, under the effective leadership of the Municipal Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer, Honorable Vice Mayor, Atty. Noel G. Ngolob. May I please have the honor to acknowledge and introduce them:
1.) The Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Hon Alexander Fianza;
2.) The Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Hon. Adriano Carantes, Jr.
3.) The Chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Hon. Norberto Pacio;
4.) The Chairman of the Committee on Health and the President of the Provincial Philippine Councilors’ League, Hon Bernard Waclin;
5.) The Chairman of the Committee on Social Services, Hon. Annie Galiega;
6.) The Chairman of the Committee on Infrastructure, Hon. Johnny Galutan;
7.) The Chairman of the Committee on Education, Hon. Arnel Bahingawan;
8.) The Chairman of the Committee on ways and means and personnel, Hon. Gerard Cornel;
9) The Chairman of the Committee on Barangay Affairs and the President of the Association of Barangay Captains, Hon. Ramon L. Carino.
The Secretary to the Municipal Council, Sir. James Sergio
My advisers and sources of wisdom, the Department Heads:
1.) The Municipal Budget Officer, Sir Romeo Carantes; 2.) The Municipal Administrator, Sir Peter Guibac; 3.) The Municipal Treasurer, Madam Angela Carino; 4.) The Municipal Accountant, Madam Brigilda Gayao; 5.) The Municipal Assessor, Sir Julito Luspian; 6.) The Municipal Engineer, Engr. Charlie Gayasco; 7.) The Local Civil Registrar Officer, Madam Nora Sanil 8.) The Municipal Planning and Development Officer, Engr, Imelda Fianza Nuguid; 9.) The Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Oliver Guadana; 10) The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer, Madam Jane Mercado; 11) The Municipal Agriculture Officer, Sir Whigas Cilo
The assistant department heads, my Executive Assistants: Atty. Arnuld Chalus and Bro. Andres Calwag. My private Secretary, Bro. James Kidange and all the members of the rank and file.
The representatives of the national line agencies detailed in our Municipality: the DILG, PNP, BFP, BJMP, BIR, DAR, COMELEC, COA and the like;
The newly elected barangay officials and Sangguniang Kabataan officials of the nine (9) barangays of the municipality
Our local investors; the Benguet Mining Corporation, Philex Mining Corporation, SN Aboitiz, HEDCOR, San Roque Power Corporation,
the Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc-Indo-Phil, The Atok Bigwedge Mining Company, the National Power Corporation and others
The representatives of the different sectoral groups, the religious groups, Senior Citizens, the womens Group and others,
Our educators and mentors from the elementary and high school levels of DepEd Itogon and the education private sector;
Our friends from the media, the ABS-CBN, Bombo Radio, DZWT and others.
To each and every one of us who walked the extra mile of coming here to witness the mass oath-taking of our newly elected barangay and SK officials and to listen and eventually be informed of the direction of our local governance as embodied in this first ever State of Municipal Address (SOMA). A momentous and memorable day to every one!
The current state of our Municipality presents challenges and opportunities for all of us. It strongly mandates us to closely work together for better governance which shall bring about genuine CHANGE in the lives of our constituents and our municipality.
This change we are talking about not only refers to the transformation of the self – from self-interest-centeredness to genuine and dedicated giving of ourselves in local governance and public service.
It likewise embraces the strengthening of our organizational set-up or staffing requirements, including our operations and management systems; the changes on the physical structure of our municipal hall and the arrangement of our offices which we shall be introducing in the coming months to come. It includes the decisive re-focusing of our development priorities and thrusts as well as the re-alignment of our administrative strategies and approaches along the tenets of good and Christian governance.
Henceforth, from this day forward until the second quarter of the year 2013, we shall be gradually introducing self-transforming Christian work-values and ethics formation; performance-enhancement trainings among all elected and appointed municipal and barangay officials, including our barangay functionaries as part of our municipality’s Comprehensive Capacity Development Program (CCDP) to ensure that all concerned shall fully and clearly understand and efficiently respond and discharge their respective duties and responsibilities as well as the mission why they are called by God to serve Him in public service.
To do this, we shall closely work with the religious sector, other caused-oriented Non-Government Organizations as well as with the Personnel Development and Training institutions which are duly accredited by the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
We shall also be introducing physical changes in our municipal hall as well as the set-up of our departmental offices, to include the construction of a separate legislative building; the establishment and renovation of the structural offices of the national government line agencies detailed in our municipality, the provision of offices of the sectoral groups and special bodies to ensure systematic and prompt business transactions and delivery of basic services to our clientele.
We shall also be refurbishing and enhancing our sub-offices in the different barangays to bring municipal governance and services nearer to our constituents.
These physical or structural innovations shall be re-enforced with the changes in the organizational or staffing pattern and manpower requirement of our local government unit to make sure that we meet and respond to the challenges and demands of the current environment of public service. This shall be done through the creation of additional offices such as:
The office of the Municipal legal counsel;
The Office of the Municipal Environment Natural Resources and Small-scale Mining;
The Office of the Municipal Employment Service;
The Office of the Municipal Architect;
The Municipal Tourism Office;
and others offices that shall be discerned worthy of creation as maybe dictated by need.
To boost the morale of our workforce, we shall be institutionalizing a performance-reward system to recognize and commend our performing municipal and barangay officials and employees.
In view of the fact that we are in today’s computer age, we shall be embarking on the computerization of our operational and management systems to include the computerization of our Real Property Tax Assessment and Appraisal system; including our Business Licensing and Permitting System.
We shall also be establishing our municipal official website to feature our municipal services, projects, programs and activities and so that we may be able to interlink with the outside world; with the national government and its line agencies; with our local investors; with our kakailians overseas, including all the nine barangays as well as the different schools in the municipality to ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed of the developments that are taking place in our municipality.
In addition, in close coordination with the National Computer Center and with the other private telecommunication firm, we shall endeavor to establish a Community e-Center (CeC) for the access of our constituents, especially our students who shall be making use of the facility for their academic researches and needs.
We shall also be RE-FOCUSING our development priorities, principles of local governance and strategies:
To re-focus our development priorities, we shall be balancing our infrastructural development projects with the establishment and institutionalization of various social and economic development programs. To easily call to mind the specific components of these social and economic priorities, we shall be making use of the word HELP as an acronym.
HEALTH, NUTRITION AND WATER SUPPLY ENHANCEMENT;
EDUCATION, CULTURE AND TRADITION PRESERVATION,
EMPLOYMENT GENERATION AND DEPLOYMENT
LIVELIHOOD and LAND TENURE SECURITY PROGRAM
PROMOTION OF LOCAL INVESTMENTS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP
PEACE AND ORDER
As regards our Health and Nutrition Program, we shall be enhancing the delivery of our health services through the provision and upgrading of our health facilities and equipments to include the procurement of additional ambulances; the renovation of all our barangay health stations and work out for the PhilHealth accreditation of some, especially those highly populated barangays such as barangay Ucab. This shall be dovetailed with the additional enrollment of our needy constituents under the PhilHealth Indegency Sponsorhip Program so that they could access and avail low cost but quality health services.
With the high incidence of malnourished children in our municipality, we shall repackage our Municipal Nutrition Program and infuse ample funding thereof to make sure that we eradicate malnourishment by the end of 2011.
Ample water supply is a necessary component and vital ingredient of a healthy community. To address the provision of this necessity, the current administration shall embark on the installation of waterwork systems and shall continue to restore and enhance existing waterwork facilities.
With the legislative enlightenment of the 7th municipal council, we shall explore the possibility of revitalizing the Itogon Water District that shall spearhead the waterworks development program in the municipality of Itogon.
On education, we shall be strengthening the representations in the Local School Board to ensure that every education level or stakeholder is duly represented in the Board. We shall continue to be in partnership with the academe for the improvement of their schools facilities and equipments. We shall likewise continue to provide scholarship grants to poor but qualified and deserving students and pupils. We will continue to support their extra-curricular activities such as on scouting, sports competition, culture and arts and like education-related programs and activities.
In close coordination with the school heads, we shall also be working for the delineation and titling of all school sites in the municipality, after which we shall enter into Memoranda of Agreements with DepEd Itogon on how we are to manage, administer and maintain said school sites.
To maintain the unity and cultural cohesion of the different tribal affiliations present in the municipality, in close coordination with the barangays and the education sector, we shall continue to foster the celebration and promotion of our various rich culture in the cordilleras; hence, cultural and traditional practices shall continue to be showcased in festivals and other community celebrations. To further preserve the richness of our tradition and culture, we shall seek the technical assistance of experts on the matter. We shall likewise aim to establishment a municipal school of arts and living traditions.
Pending the identification and development of a suitable site for our Engineered Sanitary Landfill, we shall be establishing a temporary solid waste management system to address our worsening problem on garbage disposal. This shall be done in close coordination with our private investors.
We shall likewise further enhance and institutionalize our clean and green program. With the assistance of the 7th municipal council and the different barangays, we shall strongly lobby for the allocation of additional funding for the continuous implementation of the Itogon Integrated Watershed Management Project. This time, in close coordination with the DENR, it shall be spearheaded by the Local Government Unit of Itogon and its barangays.
We shall also see to it that as we promote local investments and entrepreneurship in our locality, our environment is well-protected and the rights of our Indigenous Peoples are recognized and respected.
On the matter of employment generation and deployment, in partnership with the concerned national government line agencies, such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), we shall endeavor to provide stable employment to at least one or two members of each family.
We shall do this by tasking the Municipal Employment Service Office to help and enable our constituents qualify and land on sustainable and stable employment in the country or overseas.
In close coordination with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), we shall track down the whereabouts of our overseas workers to ensure that they are treated well by their foreigner-employers and that their labor rights are respected and protected.
Regarding our livelihood development program, we shall focus our efforts and finances for the furtherance, enhancement and promotion of our agri-aquacultural programs; small and medium enterprises; and other industrial livelihood development programs.
In close coordination with the provincial government of Benguet, the Upper house of Senate and the lower House of Congress, the national government line agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Irrigation Administration, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and other Asian countries their Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), we shall embark on the financing and construction of farm to market roads, irrigation systems and the provision of farm-implements and inputs. Moreover, we shall conduct an inventory and evaluation of all existing agri and aqua-based livelihood projects and other small and medium enterprises to determine the current status thereof so that appropriate administrative, technical and financial interventions shall be urgently made to ensure their profitability and sustainability.
In view of the fact that small-scale mining is the primary source of income and livelihood of the majority of our constituents, we shall provide the necessary assistance to our small-scale miners to ensure that their operations are environment-friendly and are compliant with health and safety standards.
Since GOLD is our One-Town-One Product (OTOP), we shall enhance and promote our OTOP through the establishment and institutionalization of a livelihood project that shall make use of gold as raw material in the production of goods therefrom, such as jewelry making. In close coordination with all concerned national government line agencies such as TESDA, ALS Dep-Ed and our local investors, such as the mining firms and water-based industries, we shall also be establishing a well-furnished and well-equipped Skills Training and Livelihood Center, a sort of a vocational technical school, where interested constituents, especially the out-of-school-youth are to be trained on employable skills that are highly in demand, both in the local and foreign job markets. To work for the sustainability of all our livelihood projects, we shall link up with the local, national and international markets to ensure the profitable disposition and sale of the products that shall be manufactured from and out of our various local entrepreneurial ventures in the municipality.
It is a must that as we work for the employment and livelihood of our constituents, we must have to work hard and have that strong political will and unity to stop the proliferation of social problems in our municipality such as gambling, more particularly jueting and others.
We really must have to do this because I strongly believe and it is my conviction that our sincere and resolved efforts to provide sustainable livelihood and employment to our constituents will be made futile and useless if we will not stop this social menace.
If we will not prevent the proliferation of these illegal activities, the proceeds or hard-earned money which our constituents will be deriving from their livelihood and employment ventures will just be given away to the unscrupulous and greedy operators and perpetrators of these illegal activities.
We say that we have occupied our lands since time immemorial, but why are we still called informal settlers in our own lands?
We all know the answer:
It is because almost all of the lands where our houses are erected are not under our names but are covered with watershed reservations, special land use proclamations and patented mining tenements. We have therefore a major concern on our land tenure security.
Along this line, we shall be embarking on a land tenure development program which shall be spearheaded by the Municipal Environment Natural Resources Council which is under the local sanggunian.
In close coordination with concerned agencies such as the DENR, DAR, the Lower House of Congress, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the large scale mining corporations, the small-scale mining ventures and other concerned stakeholders, we shall be developing and establishing a Land Tenure Security Development Plan.
The objective and end point of this project would be the delineation and segregation of the areas that we occupy, otherwise known as the built up areas from these special land use and watershed reservation proclamations as well as patented mining claims and let these land parcels be provided with appropriate land tenurial instruments. This time, under our own names.
It is known that our Municipality is heavily dependent from external sources of revenues such as the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to finance the implementation of our various development projects, programs and activities. This financial dependence presents a big challenge for all of us. We must liberate our Municipality from its heavy dependence on external sources of revenues. There is then an urgent need for us to closely work hard together to pump up local investments in our municipality.
It is worth-mentioning, (with the permission of our local investors) that our local investors, such as the Benguet Mining Corporation have plans to further enhance their Balatoc mining operations alongside with the existing Acupan Contract Mining Project and that there Balatoc Mine Tailing reprocessing project is expected to start hopefully next year as there are already prospective investors. We strongly hope that the other large mining corporations shall follow through. On the one hand, the SN Aboitiz is currently renovating the Binga Hydro Electric Plan to increase electric power generation and outputs. Its sister company, HEDCOR is likewise improving its Sal-angan mini hydro project.
Alongside with the mining and water-based industries is the booming local tourism industry of the Municipality. Our records reveal that thousands of local and foreign tourists visit our scenic and panoramic places in the municipality. We will further enhance and sustain our local tourism industry through the provision of infrastructural and capital investment interventions. These local investments would mean additional local revenues to our municipality and employment to our qualified constituents, aside from further boosting and strengthening our local trade and commerce.
It is indeed a challenge for us to formulate strategic measures to assist our local investors and entrepreneurs through the formulation and institutionalization of a local investment establishment and promotion plan which will serve as implementation plan of our Local Investment Code.
I would confidently say that the Municipality of Itogon is privileged to be positioned in a strategic location insofar as the BLISTT Master Development Plan is concerned. This BLISTT development plan would be a conducive local investment forum and environment which we must have to take leverage and advantage of to beef up our local investments and economic development programs.
With the help of the supportive 7th municipal council, we look forward to create a local investment-friendly environment through the enactment of appropriate legislations.
Our sincere efforts to promote and strengthen local investment in our municipality would come to nothing if we are not to preserve and further enhance our peace and order campaigns and security programs.
It is of paramount importance therefore that we likewise further improve our PEACE AND ORDER campaigns in the municipality through the physical improvements of our police compact stations and the enhancement of the mobility and communication facilities of our police force.
We shall likewise continue to appropriate the necessary logistics which our local PNP needs for the efficient discharge of their duties and responsibilities.
We will extend and stretch the same infrastructural and logistic assistance to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as well as the Bureau of Fire Protection! Together with these concerned national line agencies and with the assistance from our local investors, we shall further strengthen our Municipal Risk and Disaster Management Strategies and approaches to prevent damages to properties and loss of lives.
As to our constituents who were adversely affected and displaced by the recent calamities that visited our municipality, we wish to inform that in close coordination with concerned government line agencies such as the National Housing Authority, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the DENR-CAR; the Benguet Corporation and the provincial government of Benguet, we are currently working out a resettlement action plan. We have already identified and surveyed a feasible relocation and resettlement site at sitio Anteg-in, Barangay Loacan. We have already allocated the funds needed for the development of the area. With this, I wish to thank the members of the 7th council for favorably approving the allocation of funds for the purpose.
We are just awaiting the issuance of a Proclamation from the Office of the President to proclaim the area as permanent resettlement area.
Cementing and binding all our various social and economic programs shall be our decisive shift, alignment and adherence to the tenets and principles of good governance, such as:
The principle of Plan and program-based local governance;
Participative and consultative local governance; and,
Transparent and accountable local governance.
We shall always therefore ensure that our comprehensive social and economic development strategies and approaches shall be program-based. This simply means that all of the vital and priority development programs, projects and activities of the municipality, as well as the barangays and the sectoral groups must have to be programmed and incorporated in the Comprehensive Medium-Term Development Plan of the Municipality which shall be broken down into Annual Investment Plans so as to avoid political power play and accommodation in the prioritization, allocation of funds and implementation of projects, programs and activities. We shall likewise enshrine that our development proceedings are consultative and participative in character, wherein, the plan conceptualization, formulation, and institutionalization processes must have to ensure that all concerned stakeholders, especially the grass-root communities are well- consulted and made to actively present their sentiments and development priorities.
To ensure transparency and accountability in the process, all transactions and undertakings, especially on procurement contracts must have to be published and made known to the people through the use of various media tools which are accessible and understandable to them and whatever the outcomes may be, the people involved must be responsible and accountable at all times. To set forth an example, starting calendar 2011, there shall be billboard for every infrastructure project that will indicate the specifications of the project. The names of the politicians shall no longer be written in project billboards as well as on motor vehicles. Instead a phrase shall be written which says: “This project is where your taxes are being wisely spent”
Lastly, with the permission of the members of the 7th municipal council and the department heads as well our rank and file, I wish to inform that through our collaborative efforts and in prior consultations with all the concerned stakeholders, we your public servants have already institutionalized the various development programs, projects and activities which you have mandated us to prioritize and consider through the adoption of the 2010-2013 Executive Legislative Agenda.
We take also this opportunity to thank the leaders and coordinators of the various sectoral groups for having heeded our call to prepare their respective comprehensive development plans for incorporation in the Municipal Medium Term Comprehensive Development Plan.
Through your support and encouragement, re-enforced with your active participation, we were able to formulate and institutionalize your respective sectoral development plans. All are now ready for implementation.
I am also happy to inform that the start up and initial funding requirements of the various development programs that have been previously cited have already been incorporated under our 2011 General Appropriations which is now with the 7th Municipal Council for further scrutiny and authorization.
At this juncture, please allow me to make it clear and emphasize that the clamor of our constituents for CHANGE is very resounding and challenging. We cannot afford therefore to make a room for political bickering, division and indifference.
“Djay kanayon ko nga ibagbagbaga kadakayo kakabsat,
nalpasen ti panagpopolitika, intay lipaten ti politika ket agtititinulongtayo ketdi.
Di bale, no sumangpet manen ti panagpopolitika no umay nga 2013, santayonto manen agsasalisal wenno ag-aay-ayam.”
We cannot afford to be negligent of our duties and responsibilities as public servants. I therefore call and plead to everyone!
Let us work hard together for better governance. This is exactly what our theme speaks about. Is very much appropriate for it asks from us the required collaboration and unity.
There is indeed a vital need for us, we the elected and appointed LGU officials and employees together with our constituents and the various sectors of our society to work closely together to ensure that our common dream for change and better governance shall be achieved.
I believe as I am confident that all of us gathered here are very much receptive of our challenge at hand.
Hence, together as one and united servants of God in his vineyard of public service, let us sincerely discharge our duties and responsibilities, so that in so doing, we shall bring about that sustainable development that each one of us strongly wish for.
Finally, I wish to express my sincerest and heartfelt gratitude to every one for your presence in today’s memorable and momentous events!
Thank you. God bless us all. God bless Itogon!