|Posted by lgualimodian on July 23, 2014 at 4:05 AM|
“STEPPING BACK INTO REALITY”
A STATE OF THE TOWN ADDRESS
By: HON. MAYOR GEEFRE “CALAY” ALONSABE
MAY 14, 2014, 9:00 AM
ALIMODIAN PUBLIC MARKET
M E S S A G E
Dreams are mere fantasies until they are made realities.
One year from being elected as municipal mayor and eleven months into my term as local chief executive, I am standing before you to show a picture of our town, as I see it from within. This message is filtered with my official bias.
Honorable Nicanor A. Allones, Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer, Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Bayan, our Punong Barangays headed by our ABC President Hon. Joel S. Cuadra, members of the academe, the merchants and the business community, the transport sector, fellow civil servants, youth and children, beloved “kasimanwas”, mayad gid nga aga.
Una sa tanan, pahanugoti ninyo ako nga magpasalamat sa aton Sangguniang Bayan for allowing me the privilege to join in their regular session to deliver my state of the town address. Nagapasalamat man ako sa tanan nga nagsabat sa akon panawagan/pang-agda nga magtambong sa sining maragtason nga hitabo sa akon pagdumalahan bilang mayor sang aton banwa. Ang State of the Town Address isa kag importante nga kahigayunan para sa akon nga mapama an sa tanan ang kahimtangan kang aton banwa, agud man nga mapukaw sa tagsa-tagsa sa aton ang nagakadapat nga pag-ulikid sa kaayohan kag kauswagan kang aton banwa.
It is really an honor and a privilege to serve as your Municipal Mayor and father of this town for the last 11 months. But more than an honor, it was a challenge. And so today, your humble servant is standing in front of you to deliver my First State of the Town Address.
What is our town Alimodian?
Based on data from our Municipal Planning and Development Office, Alimodian has an:
a. Area of:
14,482 hectares of which 40% or 5,910 hectares have slopes less than 15% and 60% or 8,752 hectares have slopes more than 15% - This makes Alimodian an upland community.
b. With a Population of:
39,490 spread over 7,666 households or a density of 2.72/hectare. Alimodian is a sparsely populated community. Population Growth rate is 16.20% and a combined Mortality and Infant Mortality rate of 1.03%. This means that our town is increasingly its population every year.
c. In terms of Land Use:
Agricultural – 4,902.75 has
Forest Reserve – 3,661 has
Built up – 2,044.50 has
Open Grassland – 1,982.27 has
Residential – 1,729.98 has
Commercial – 296.39 has
River – 52.18 has
Agro-industrial – 26.88 has
Institutional – 22,134 has
Alimodian is an agriculture-based community.
d. Education and Health Facilities, we have:
49 Day Care Centers
3 Private Preparatory and Kinder Schools
9 Primary Schools
22 Elementary Schools
6 Secondary High Schools
Alimodian has a healthy attitude towards education
1 District Hospital
1 Community-based Rehabilitation Station
1 Rural Health Center
8 Barangay Health Centers
Alimodian has adequate primary health care services, although there is an on-going construction of a new health center that would cater for maternal health care and laboratory
e. For Local Economy:
A 3rd class municipality
With 64.45% Labor force and an un-employment rate of 10.30%. A double digit un-employment rate means a big number of our townmates are not earners.
All barangays have electric power supplied by ILECO I Industries are mostly agriculture based
Most of our land area, either irrigated, un-irrigated or upland is dedicated to rice production or its alternates like mungo, 802 hectares are dedicated to corn, 700 hectares to fruit trees, 58.50 hectares to high value vegetables, 5 has to coffee and 1 hectare to cacao.
This means that we have a rice-based agriculture and have little investment in high-value beans like coffee and cacao.
f. And for Transportation and Communication, we have:
80 Jeepneys ply the Alimodian-Iloilo City route
115 Tricycles ply different routes
290 Single motorcycle
2 Gasoline stations
3 cell sites for Smart, Globe and Sun Communictions
Our Local government units use ICOM or handheld radio PLDT serves Poblacion and 5 other barangays
There is a local post office
Alimodian has adequate transportation and communication facilities
g. And in terms of Infrastructure:
There is a total of 117.793 kms of roads classified as national, provincial, municipal or barangay road, of which 25.86 kilometers are concrete and 91.933 are gravel roads
There is still a lot to be desired to make our road network an all weather facility
h. For Institutions, organizations and other development partners:
There are 6 financial institutions
There are 10 cooperatives
There are 15 non-governmental organizations
There are 8 Manila and Foreign-based organizations of Alimodiananons
Participation and involvement of people’s organizations and non-governmental organizations may still be increased.
How does the local government operate?
As we all know, every local government operates on the basis of an approved budget. It also implements projects which are funded by different national government agencies.
Our budget in 2013 when I assumed office was P69,732,329.50 for the General Fund and an additional of P6,470,550.00 for the Municipal Economic Enterprise Office, for a total of P76,202,879.50. In 2014, our local budget is P78,977.929.25 and an additional of P6,308.604.00 for the Municipal Economic Enterprise Office, for a total of P85,286,533.25.
It is pointed out that the increase in the budget was due to the increase in the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) that our town receives from the National Government. Our budgets have been more or less 93% IRA-dependent with our locally-generated revenue providing for the 7%.
The budget is principally used to run the affairs of the town. Not more than 40% of the budget is used for personnel services, to pay the salaries and other benefits of the employees including members and staff of the Sangguniang Bayan. Five (5)% is mandated to be budgeted for Risk Reduction Management or Calamity. The remainder is allocated for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses, including capital outlay and the mandated 20% Development Fund.
It is basically the projects covered by the 20% Development Fund and the other hard infrastructure projects in the MOOE and Calamity Fund allocation that are implemented by the local government through the employees.
But more than that, the town also receives in trust funds from the national and provincial governments for specific projects to be implemented in the municipality. These funds mostly come by way of monetary reward for the town’s good performance in terms of financial management and good house-keeping as well as for garnering government-issued awards like Seal of Good-House-Keeping and Galing Pook. Additionally, it entitles the municipality for other national government grants like the Salintubig, the Performance Challenge Fund and the Bottoms-up Budgeting or BUB.
Our town was a recipient of the 2012 Seal of Good Housekeeping. It was again a recipient in 2013 The Seal is awarded to LGUs that successfully meet the requirements of the full disclosure policy, have exemplary standards of frontline services and procurement and proven to have no adverse or disclaimer audit findings by the Commission on Audit. In 2013 our municipality was awarded:
- 2nd Runner Up, Category A, Best Performing LGU
- 2nd Runner Up, Category A, Excellence in Social Governance
- 2nd Runner Up, Category A, Excellence in Environmental Governance
The award in 2012 entitled the town for a One Million Pesos Performance Challenge Fund (PCF), and opened its availment of a 3 Million Pesos Salintubig Fund from the DILG, and another 15 Million BUB Fund from various national government agencies. These funds were to be used for projects to be implemented in the 2013.
The award in 2013 entitled the town again for 1 Million Pesos PCF, 8 Million Salintubig Fund and another 15 Million BUB Fund. These funds are to be used for projects to be implemented this year, 2014.
Furthermore, there are funds also downloaded to the town for specific projects that are facilitated by lawmakers, either on their own initiative or as solicited by the town officials.
Finally, there are projects funded by the 51 component barangays that have also to be implemented with the supervision of the local government.
How did my administration fare in implementing the projects?
When my administration assumed office, we adapted the word “ABANSE” to be the roadmap of the thrusts, plans and programs of our local government. ABANSE stands for:
a. Adequate and Prompt Delivery of Health Services and Social Services
b. Building Socio-Economic Empowerment and Infrastructure Development
c. Agriculture, Tourism, and Environment Resource Development
d. Network of Public Information and Transparency and Public Order and Safety
e. Sectoral Partnership Development With Non-Governmental Organizations, People’s Organizations, Governmental Organizations and Cooperatives and
f. Education, Youth, Family and Human Resource Development
And now let me start by informing you of how far we have gone based on these parameters.
On Health and other Social Services, I congratulate our Municipal Health Office, headed by our Municipal Health Officer Dr. Manuel Ledesma II, and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, headed by Ms. Mary Jane Onalee Amaguin, for a job well-done. You are my worthy partners in public service.
Our primary health service center is our Municipal Health Office, We have eight barangay health stations: Binalud, Taban-Manguining, Cagay, Dalid, Quinaspan, Gines, Cabacanan Proper, and Manduyog. Handled by fifteen personnel comprising of a Municipal Health Officer, a nurse, and 10 midwives, our health care provider has this performance:
In the field of Maternal and Child Care, postpartum, check-ups, pap smear activity, pre natal check-ups, and pre-marriage counseling were conducted.
In the field of Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), BCG and first dose Hepa B Immunization, measles immunization, ROTA VITRUS immunization, Pentavalent immunizations, first and second dose ROTAvirus , Vitamin A supplementation, and deworming tablets were administered or given.
Decrease in diarrheal infections was achieved due to continuous campaign, bacteriological water examination in sources and chlorine dispensation.
Our Social Welfare and Development Office, headed by Ms. Mary Jane Onalee Amaguin, with two (2) subordinates, succeeded to sustain its Livelihood Programs, conducted pre-marriage conference, managed the various Day Care Services and Programs, handled and managed special cases, and prepared manifold referral services for medical and other assistance. It also caters to the needs of Senior Citizens by conducting the Celebration of the Elderly Week in October 2013 and the Adlaw sang mga Tigulang and Christmas Party in December 2013, fund raising activities, facilitation of social pensions to senior citizens, distribution of free medicines, check-ups and immunization. It also supervises the orderly implementation of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps).
510 beneficiaries were enrolled to receive PhilHealth Insurance.
We have a total of 1,520 active recipients for our Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and we are projecting a substantial increase of beneficiaries this year.
I also wish to make special mention of the BULIG Program which I initiated immediately after I assumed office. This program helped 477 patient referrals to the Western Visayas Medical Center, West Visayas State University Hospital and Aleosan District Hospital involving the amount of P1,876,651.50. These do not include referrals made to the Office of the Governor Arthur Defensor, Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta who likewise dispensed with millions of pesos to defray hospital bills of referred patients. That all these were accomplished with the painstaking efforts and patience of only two (2) job hire personnel means that not all public service emanate from an oath of office of a public servant. All it takes is a heart that truly cares.
Our program and project implementation on socio-economic empowerment and infrastructure development get failing marks.
Our Economic Enterprise covers a wide field which includes Market Stall Collection, Cash Ticket Collection, Cemetery Collections, Slaughterhouse Collection, Large Cattle Collection, Market Terminal Collection which are directly managed by the Municipal Economic Enterprise Officer, Fe Almendral. Other income generating activities of the municipality are the operation of two (2) tractors under the office of the Municipal Agriculturist and the operation of the municipal laboratory.
I will make particular mention of programs and activities directly managed by our Municipal and Economic Office involving the operation of the Public Market.
Our local government is 98% IRA dependent. This means that only 3% of our income comes from local sources. Foremost of this local source is the operation of the Public Market. We all know that the construction of our new public market was realized through a loan which we continue to pay from our internal revenue allotment. We were made to believe that once operational, this public market will not only be self-sustaining, but also a source of additional income for the town. It did not evolve that way. The operation of the public market continues to be subsidized by the general fund in terms of personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses. And it appears that the public market has physically deteriorated faster than it can fully achieve its potential.
We have to consider that the local government is presently occupying a large part of the market, and there are other provincial and national government offices which also occupy office spaces. And although we have allocated money for the extension shed at the vegetable section to protect the goods of our market vendors and at the same time beautify our public market, this does not prevent us from seeing that a thorough review and meticulous examination of practices, procedures and records is called for. Organizational changes will be done if warranted.
On a brighter side, we see an increasing interest among entrepreneurs, local or otherwise, to invest in our town. Innovation in processes made easy doing business. Aside from the automated collection, our local treasury was also made into a one-stop-shop in so far as processing permits and licenses are concerned. As a result thereof, transacting with our local treasury has become easier, faster, more efficient and transparent. Further, improved tax mapping and other technology innovations contributed to greater efficiencies in tax collection and reduction in delinquencies. This resulted to a substantial increase of almost 10% compared to last year’s revenue collection. In fact our Municipal Treasurer’s Office ranks No. 8 in the whole province of Iloilo in the 9 Million plus and below RPT target with a collection efficiency of 87%.
In the spirit of fairness and level playing field, we have uniformly used all applicable regulations affection business permits issuance, including zoning compliance and health inspection. Earnest efforts will continue to be exerted so that all who do business in Alimodian are permitted to do so under existing laws, rules and regulations.
Likewise, our local civil registrar’s office has been computerized, thus, encoding of civil registry documents has become faster and retrieval of the same has become significantly easier.
Our Municipal Engineer’s Office handles the implementation of all of our infrastructure projects, be it locally funded under the 20% Development Fund, or by trust funds coming from the national and provincial government. It also handles all infrastructure projects of the barangays.
This Office is headed by our Municipal Engineer Leoreysaldie Salanatin, and 3 employees under him, with one being assigned as a utility worker in the plaza. He has a horde of job hires engaged in projects here and there which are all implemented by way of administration, i.e. the materials are purchased and the labor provided by the implementing agency. On the side, the Municipal Engineer caters to all types of needs referred by the Office of the Mayor coming from all sides, from to schools, to barangays, to associations. The system having been existence since I joined the local government, it was a volcano waiting to erupt.
Undeniably, the accomplishments of our engineering office are many since I assumed office.
From various funds, either local, provincial, or national, the following project were implemented and are now benefitting our people in the barangay.
To mention the major ones:
a) 2013 MDRRM funded
- Rehabilitation of Agsing-Baong Brgy. Road
- Rehabilitation of Abang-Abang-Ugbo Brgy. Road
- Rehabilitation of Ginomoy-Cuyad Brgy. Road, and
- Rehabilitation of Sitio Galing-Old Magtanong Road
- Repair of Agsing-Baong Boundary Road
I have to state here that the implementation of these projects was somehow delayed since the 2013 MDRRM Plan was not approved by the Sangguniang Bayan until January 2014.
b) 2013 DILG Salintubig and LGU Counter-part
- Spring Development, Bgy. Tugaslon
- Spring Development, Bgy. Luan-luan
- Spring Development, Bgy. Malamboy-Bondolan
- Spring Development, Bgy. Ulay-Bugang
- Spring Development, Bgy. Ulay-Hinablan
- Spring Development, Bgy. Ba-ong
- Spring Development, Bgy. Cunsad
- Spring Development, Bgy. Ingwan
- Spring Development, Bgy. Malamhay
- Spring Development, Bgy. Manduyog
c) 2013 20% Development Fund, RND IRA, RND General Fund:
- Concreting of Sitio Aklaw Phases 1 & 2 (Ingwan) Road
- Rehab of Various Bgy. Roads (Taban, Bulod, Mambawi, Dalid, Laylayan & Punong)
- Rehab of Various Bgy. Roads (Bungol, Cuyad, Ulay-Bugang, Ulay-Hinablan, Quinaspan, Agsing, Baong & Sito Aklaw)
- Conc. of Gines Bgy. Road
- Conc. of Ulay-Bugang Road
- Conc. of Cagay Bgy. Road
- Conc. of Dalid Bgy. Road
- Conc. of Cabacanan-Rizal Road
- Conc. of Malamhay Bgy. Road
- Conc. of Sitio Talab-an (Buhay) Road
d) 2013 Other Infra
- Improvement of Multi-purpose Hall, Mambawi
- Const. of Community Stage, Cunsad
- Improvement of Learning Center, Taban-Manguining
- Const. of 1 unit 2-CL DAPS, Baguingin-Lanot
- Improvement of Bgy. Hall, Malamhay
e) Supplemental Budget No. 1and 2, 2012
- Const. of Bongol Road (1st and 2nd Slopes), Poblacion
- Const. of Brgy. Road, Sinamay
- Rehab of Bgy. Road, Tabug
- Conc. of Road to National Road, Baguingin-Lanot
- Conc. of Bgy Road, Ubodan
My admiration for the efforts, notwithstanding, I have to express my dismay in the intolerable delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects in the municipality, depriving our constituents of their service. After thorough evaluation, it has become clear to me that the delay in these projects is due to the persistent practice of implementing the projects by way of administration. Our engineering office simply lacks personnel and equipment resources to implement all the projects by administration. To address this problem, I had already re-organized our Bid and Award Committee with instructions to explore the possibility of having selected projects bid out as straight contracts. I have also given instruction to look into the possibility of adopting the pakyaw system for labor contracting. That way, we will not only save by avoiding the administrative cost and the obligation of having to pay idling job hires, but also localize employment to residents where the projects are implemented. I have also assigned project supervision to other engineers in the local government unit.
In passing I have to mention that because our LGU believes that rural electrification has substantial benefits in promoting production, better health and education, we energized all of our 51 barangays including sitios. This is made possible also through our partnership with ILECO-I. We will continue to allocate funds until all our households will have the light of day even in the darkness of nights, to enliven the kitchens as well as cool the bedrooms.
Our projects and programs in the field of agriculture are many. After all, Alimodian is an agriculture-based community with and agriculture-based economy. From travels, to trainings, to seminars, to seed distribution, to water impounding, to high value crop production, to farm to market roads, to vaccination, to field plowing, our municipal agriculture office is not lacking in activities. And it has always funds for it. It is indeed admirable that our municipal agriculturist is so systematic as to manage all these activities, with so little personnel help. But our interest is to know how these manifold and projects programs impact the community especially in terms of poverty alleviation, and not merely dispensed as favors to selected individuals and recipients. How to timely spend the project funds and liquidate the same from its sources has also become an evident problem of this office. It appears that very much like our engineering office, our agriculture office has eaten up much more than it can chew, as the song goes. Changes are called for in the operation of this office. To give time for our agriculture office to finish implementing all their long over-due projects, as a start I have given instructions that the implementation of hard infrastructure projects funded by agriculture funds shall be assigned to Eng’r. Reno Alquisada, our Environmental Management Specialist whom I have decided to involve in the infrastructure program of our town.
We have an effectively working environmental management program. Immediately when I assumed office, I restarted the garbage collection program in Bgy. Poblacion which somehow restored our sense of cleanliness and environmental awareness. A closer coordination with the officials of Brgy. Poblacion will be initiated to make this project more comprehensive and easy to implement. While this program costs the local government in terms of expenses for operation and wages, we have looked into our legislative tools and have found a solution. While our Local Tax Ordinance of 2011 omitted to provide for household garbage collection fee, there is a provision in our Environment Code that allows the local government to levy a tax for that purpose. Instructions have already been given to our Municipal Treasurer to come out with a procedure for an effective collection of this tax at the earliest possible time.
Alimodian is a recipient of continuing funding support for the maintenance and operation of our municipal nursery and the various reforestation projects in our upland barangays. The area hit by landslide in Bgy. Cunsad has been planted with 3,500 pieces of assorted forest and fruit trees by Municipal officials and employees. This activity was made easily achievable when I adopted the policy of requiring every job hire to plant at least 20 trees before being considered for a short-term employment in the local government. There are more than 200 hectares in our upland barangays that are covered by the National Greening Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. As of December 2013, a total of 380 hectares have been reforested which means we have more or less 80% of forest cover.
Our efficient implementation of key environmental programs was given recognition when the Provincial Government of Iloilo awarded our town as Second Place in the whole Province of Iloilo in the Search for Outstanding LGUs on Ecological Solid Waste Management Program. Our bio-reactor machine continues to successfully operate at Bgy. Taban-Manguining which converts bio-degradable waste into organic fertilizer. 4,500 bags of organic fertilizer have already been produced. In every barangay is found a Material Recovery Facility. The Residual containment park established at Bgy. Ubodan continues to operate as we are expanding its area.
In these times of heightened environment consciousness, we are doing our best to strike a balance between implementing development projects and caring for the environment to create a better place for our next generation to grow up. As such, we have crafted and implemented local climate change and environmental conservation and protection plans and programs.
With the legislative support of our local sanggunian, we have enacted key legislations relating to our environmental conservation and protection such as the solid waste management through our Alimodian Waste Resource Enterprise (AWaRE), the Municipal Ordinance regulating the use of plastic bag/cellophane as bagging materials, Anti-Smoking Ordinance, Municipal Sanitation Code and Environmental Code.
Our adherence to the principles of transparency, accountability and participation in local governance has the local government resorting to social media for dissemination of information of its programs, plans, proposals and reports of completed activities. We continue to abide with the requirements of the Anti-Red Tape Act, or ARTA, as indubitably established by our garnering the Seal of Good Housekeeping Award.
Our public order and safety concerns are mostly handled by the members of our police force and the fire department. Acknowledging their lack of equipment and other material resources, we have generously given them support and are now in the process of finding and acquiring places where their offices will be permanently situated.
I would applaud our Police Department for working hard in fulfilling their mandate: to protect and to serve which resulted to a decrease in crime rate. This department also intensified their campaign against illegal gambling, illegal drugs, against wanted persons and loose firearms. Recently they were awarded by the Regional Police Office 6 for the Most Number of Arrested Wanted Person for January 2014.
To augment our police force, we have also engaged the services of an auxiliary police unit who will likewise be trained in the rescue operations in times of disasters and calamities. Traffic and transportation being one of the major concerns of the local government, we have already communicated our request to the Sangguniang Bayan for the passage of an ordinance to regulate the operations of single motorcycles that have become a common mode of transportation to the barangays, and also the passage of a comprehensive traffic ordinance to regulate the flow of traffic in the municipality. We are still waiting for their output.
Disaster preparedness is also an aspect of public safety.
In the pressing issue of climate change and increasing trends of disaster occurrences, we asked ourselves, “How Prepared Are We?” The devastation of typhoons, landslides and other natural or man-made disasters serves as a wake-up call that our communities will always be vulnerable. That is the very reason why our local disaster risk reduction and management programs is a priority of my administration.
We have one of the most active Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council that is taking charge in formulating our annual LDRRM Plan in a participatory and comprehensive approach.
We have appropriated funds for mitigation projects such as reconstructing our schools to serve as evacuation centers as well as fix our roads enable us better access to barangays for response and relief operations.
Local communities have benefitted from trainings and IEC conducted by our local disaster risk reduction and management officer, increasing community awareness on the subject of climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Let us not forget the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda which tested our resiliency as a community. More than the relief operations, assistance and rehabilitation efforts, we have to underscore that our early warning system that has long been operationalized was very helpful in reducing the possible loss of lives. There was ZERO casualty in our area, and the damages were promptly and accurately recorded. We are now receiving more dividends from our competent risk reduction and management council in terms of grants, aids and employment opportunities from the national government. Kudos to Mr. Sherwin Bering, our MDRRM Officer.
Our linkages with non-governmental organizations, especially composed of Alimodiananons from abroad have yielded positive results. When Typhoon Yolanda hit town, Alimodiananons from Canada and the United States promptly sent their support to our affected town-mates. For the first time in history, we organize the Children’s’ Christmas Day last December 29, 2013. 700 indigent and disabled children from all 51 barangays were made happy during Christmas. Each was given T-Shirt and lootbag with candies and toothbrush sponsored by Alimodiananons abroad.
Other non-governmental organizations continue to take interest in our town, especially in the aspect of agriculture. The Taytay sa Kauswagan Inc., or TSKI, is continuously coordinating with our agriculture office, in relation to its intentions to do business, in coordination with the Jolibee Corporation, in relation with our high value crops. This collaboration is expected to benefit our upland farmers, especially when it comes to processing and marketing their products.
We are taking a serious look at how to organize more cooperatives and associations and to strengthen those that are already in existence. Consistent with the vision statement of our town adhering to cooperativism, there is a felt need to empower this sector in order to achieve a people-based, people-driven initiatives and programs. We also do this aware of the fact that the national government has many financial assistance to organized cooperatives. To institutionalize this program, I have instructed our Municipal Administrator to draft as my executive agenda an ordinance creating a Cooperative Development Office in the Local Government, with the necessary resources for its operations.
I am an educator so the field of education occupies an important space in my programs. A couple of days from now, there will be an Education Summit where I will discuss in length the present and the future of the educational situation in our town. Suffice it to say at this time that I am here to continue to strengthen and improve the education system of our town. Various schools and facilities were repaired, improved and rehabilitated to ensure the safety and comfort of our students and teachers. Moreover, as we consider our schools as potential evacuation areas in times of calamities, allocated funds from our municipal disaster and risk reduction plan for the repair and rehabilitation of more schools. Two New Classrooms were constructed in Desamparados Amita Primary School and another Two Classrooms will be constructed this year to cater to the growing number of students. 28 teachers were hired under the Local School Board Fund, although I have to hasten to add that a new DEPED Order has been issued which now prevents the local governments from using its SEF/Local School Board Fund for the purpose of hiring new teachers. This is a new challenge which will likely be a subject in my next SOTA.
In our desire to help improve the student’s performance especially in the National Achievement Test, we have allocated and continue to allocate reasonable amount for the provision of instructional materials to all schools.
Our “The Iskolar sang Alimodian” Program benefitted 33 poor but deserving students. Each scholar is entitled to receive an educational assistance of P8,000.00 per semester until they finish their college education. Recently, the Commission on Higher Education or CHED has also launched its scholarship program. We expect that no less than 200 of our students will qualify for this. The program gives the student a P2,500.00 per semester allowance.
Our unwavering concern for our youth inspired us to conduct a JOBS Fair in partnership with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) last October 2013. 14 recruitment agencies participated in the fair resulting to 6 applicants being hired on-the-spot, 12 applicants landed jobs abroad while 32 were hired locally. To institutionalize this program, I have already issued an Executive Order creating a local Public Service Employment Office. We envision that in consonance with the program of the Department of Labor and Employment a Registry of Skilled Workers of the town will be created to serve as an easy access to bridge the gap between the employer and the job-seeker.
Even with the momentary disenfranchisement of the youth in the legislative chamber of our local government, we continue to encourage youth participation in all our activities. This we do to ensure that their enthusiasm does not wane and their idealism does not fade when it comes to contributing in the task of town building. Our fiesta affairs and community celebrations will always be participated by the youth with their own brand of creativity and self-discovery.
Our town has established a Teen Center at the Alimodian National Comprehensive High School to cater to the growing needs of our children and youth as they undergo the pains and challenges of growing up. This was achieved with a grant of P200,000.00 from the Provincial Population Office, with counterpart from the local government for miscellaneous expenses through the efforts of our newly installed Population Officer, the young and dynamic leader, Mrs. April Kate Kabayao-Amada.
Indeed, we had some major accomplishments this past year and somehow that consoles us knowing that the first half of 2013 was all about election fever, and the second half was all about the winner’s euphoria and the loser’s anguish and sense of recrimination. But we see that as part of the whole cake we have to eat. Local governance includes politics as we know it, and politics is almost always about the majority.
Leading a town however requires a different kind of majority. What I lack in number in terms of political allies, I may have enough in terms of allies in my desire for the common good. And I stand before you today, I can feel that I have that majority.
I have been in the local government for almost two decades, faithfully towing the line in an honest belief that what we dream is the same reality we give back to the people. I now think I was wrong, and I am stepping back into reality. And I urge you who believe in me and in my sincerity to serve, to make that step with me.
When I assumed office, an interim audit was conducted by the Commission on Audit on transactions that transpired and were completed by the period ending June 30, 2013. The results, which were affirmed in the 2013 year-end audit, were not flattering. These in fact appeared inconsistent with the supposed exemplary fiscal management practices of the town which justified its Seal of Good House-keeping award. There were transactions that were suspended and eventually disallowed as unlawful expenditures. Orders of refund by identified accountable officers were already issued by the auditors. More than that, however, the obstinate failure of the local government, through its accountable officers, to submit bank records prevented the audit team from ascertaining its true financial standing. These records were eventually submitted to the auditors on my directive. We are still waiting for a definitive audit finding on our true financial standing. I hope the town is not running on empty.
With the abolition of the pork barrel and the increased vigilance of people in wastage of government resources through scams, there had been a drastic change in the manner of delivery of services to the people. Now, the local government units are the end of the pipeline that will have to absorb the task and challenge to identify what projects they really need and to implement these projects. Our local government is not ready for this change.
In my inaugural speech I recall having said that our local government needs to prepare itself to the changing challenges of the times, to make itself competent to absorb the bounty from the national government in addition to what it already has. Instead, we simply gloated with the awards we garnered and continued to live in a fantasy that was created with paper works and phone calls.
Definitely, there will be more projects coming to Alimodian.
To mention the major ones, 15 Million worth of BUB Projects have been approved for implementation here in 2014. 8 Million from Salintubig are identified for us, 6 Million of which we have already set aside to address the water shortage problem in the Poblacion, through the Alimodian Water District, whose Board of Directors has already been reorganized after I filled up the vacancies by appointing 3 new members. It is with high expectation that I anticipate the successful implementation of this project with Mr. Ramon Anino as the new Alimodian Water District Board Chairman.
6 Million are also facilitated by Cong. Gorriceta from the Department of Agriculture for 3 road sections, in Poblacion, Cuyad and Bulod. Another 4 million will be released by the Department of Public Works and Highways also through the efforts of Cong. Gorriceta to complete the construction of our Municipal Hall. Thank you very much Cong. Arcadio Gorriceta for your continued support extended to the Local Government Unit of Alimodian.
The beloved Gov. Arthur Defensor, is very supportive in our administration and he assured us for the completion of the roofing from Public Market to Covered Gym. Thank you very much Gov. Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. for the full support particularly to the infrastructure projects of the Local Government Unit of Alimodian.
We have already submitted our project proposal to the Department of Social Welfare and Development which will give us millions of funds to pay for the labor cost of Yolanda victims who will be hired to short-term jobs. The Department of Labor and Employment has also been urging us to submit our proposal to avail of its community emergency employment program which will give us million of funds for the labor cost of implementing our MDRRM funded projects.
With the tireless effort of Cong. Arcadio Gorriceta, millions more of pesos are being targeted from the Department of Agriculture to finance the development of a road network that will make Bagumbayan-Cagay-Tabug Road an all-weather concrete road. Above that, two bridges will be constructed across Aganan River in Seven Cities, one to link Tabug to Cabacanan, and the other to link Manasa to Cabunga an, Leon. He also took initiative to follow-up for the implementation of the reconstruction or rehabilitation of the Eloisa Bridge. If plans do not miscarry, this project will be implemented in the second half of this year.
These projects, needless to say, are vital for our town and people. And there is only one condition that could prevent these funds from reaching us. Our local government has yet to liquidate the funds it has previously received from these agencies as financial windfall for the awards our town garnered.
It is when this problem surfaced, when a Pandora box was opened. Suddenly, it became clear that vital documents cannot be found to support disbursement of supposedly completed project funds. In this scenario, the truth is harder to find than the missing documents themselves. Were the projects really implemented, were the funds properly disbursed? Officers who are pointing faulting fingers to other are the same officers who were in charge of the project implementation, and probably the same officers who made the awards possible.
Is this an act of sabotage to deprive my administration of the funds from the national government, or is this an unmistakable indication that some irregularities attended the implementation of the involved projects?
On the other hand, if these funds were made available, is the local government competent enough to absorb them? Do we have enough equipment? Do we have enough technical people? Do we have enough competent and dedicated workforce to do the paper work and liquidate the funds?
In the meantime, I can only be sad. Kay tulad, nakita ko nga ang mga imaw ko sa serbisyo, akon mga kilala nga amigo kag amiga, ang mga tawo nga ginsarigan kag ginasweldohan nga magpadalagan kang banwa, kung wa ay galigoy o gapatumbaya, nahadluk mag gwa sa anda comfort zone kag mag himo ti nagakinahanglanon nga himuon.
But this is not a statement of condemnation. Neither is it an act of surrender. I know where I stand and know what tools are in my arsenal to protect not only my interest, but more importantly the interest of the town and the people. I am appealing to reason and sense of responsibility. I am pointing my finger to the oath of office each of us has taken. That simple document that made us all public servants. Public servants who will make the dreams of our true bosses, the people, become reality.
My dear municipal employees, friends all, I know that deep in your heart you feel you have contributed to all our town’s achievements. I want to thank you and at the same time challenge you to join me in enjoying this achievement a little bit more. To the members of our academe, I salute you for your great contributions in the area of education. And lastly, to you my dear kasimanwas, “ang akon nga mga boss”, thank you for being the eyesight and voice of our town. Thank you not only for the trust and confidence but most especially “sa inyo nga gugma, pagsarig kag kumpyansa sa akon” that continues to inspire me to work harder by the day. The opportunity you have given me will be my daily motivation to serve you faithfully and lovingly.
Sa mga katapo sang Sangguniang Bayan nga ginapangunahan sang aton Vice Mayor kag Presiding Officer, Hon. Nicanor A. Allones, gina kabig ko kamo nga mga kaupod ko sa pagpamuno sang aton banwa. Sa sulod sang malawig nga tinion nga kita nagbilog kag naghugpong para sa isa naton nga handum ---- nga mapa-uswag naton ang aton pinalangga nga banwa. Kag gina pasalamatan ko ang inyo mapinadayunon nga supporta sa akon nga administrasyon agud aton pagid mapadayon kag matuman ang aton mga dalamguhanon ---- ang pagpaumwad, pagpatahum kag pagpalinong sang aton banwa.
Gani, akon kamo liwat gina pangabay nga magbilog kita nga may pagsarig sa isa kag isa, kay indi ko ini masarangan nga indi kamo kaupod nakon. So let us join our hands together for I firmly believe that we have the same hopes, dreams and aspiration to serve our beloved kasimanwas. Let us put aside our political identity, our personal interests but always put in our minds that public office is a public trust. The failure and success of my leadership lies in the hands of every Alimodiananons.
Let us be serious to our calling to serve our people wholeheartedly without any mental and political reservations. And I as your Local Chief Executive, I’m counting on all of you.
No goal is too high, no journey is too long, no dreams an unreachable. Kayang kaya kung tayo ay sama-sama.
Let us make Alimodian great again! God Bless Alimodian! God Bless Us All and I Love You All!
GEEFRE A. ALONSABE