Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III made his colleagues “proud” and “satisfied” of what he has accomplished for Cebu so far.
The governor delivered his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) after a calamity-stricken opening year for him in office during the regular Provincial Board (PB) session last July 7.
Davide’s report was delivered in front of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, PB members, mayors, partners, and businessmen. First district Representative Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas and Second district Representative Wilfredo Caminero were also present.
Despite the triad of disasters that rocked his administration, his effectiveness did not fail to capture the minds of both allies and non-allies at the PB.
“We are really proud sa atong gobernador sa iyang agi (of our governor with his accomplishments) despite the calamity. Dili lalim sa usa ka gobernador nga bag-ohay pa lang og naagian niadtong dako kaayong katalagman (It is not easy for a new governor to experience such huge disaster,” PB Member Sun Shimura said.
Shimura was referring to the super typhoon Yolanda that seriously damaged northern Cebu, including his fourth district, last Nov. 8.
Aside from the typhoon, Cebu severely felt the 7.2 magnitude quake in Bohol last October. The calamity resulted to the massive damage to Capitol buildings, including the Palace of Justice and the Legislative building.
Cebu was also affected by the ship collision at Lawis Ledge, Talisay City that buried more than a hundred of bodies under the sea last Aug. 16. The collision also caused oil spill that wasted the mangroves and marine products of the town of Cordova.
“Judging on the recovery our towns ug sa kinatibuk-ang probinsya natagbaw pud ko (and the entire province, I was satisfied),” Shimura added.
Gullas was also impressed with the roadmap that the governor established for the province.
He lauded the governor’s lobby on an ordinance creating Provincial Youth Council and the pursuit of the Trans-axial Highway.
He said any initiative that would benefit the first district he will support.
In its Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness program, the governor was pleased to say that Cebu was mentioned as one of the model local government units by UN Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström in her talk in the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Thailand.
“With humility, this is a Grand Slam statement – a shining testament to the resiliency of the Cebuanos and effective performance of a rookie administration providing the enabling environment,” Davide said.
The Php 12.2 billion rehabilitation plan was already approved by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery.
Despite the calamities, the province was still able to release massive amounts for health services, assistance to farmers, and others.
The province still enjoys fiscal stability with cash balance of Php 751 million. Davide credited its “more efficient tax collection, better fiscal management and significant increase in private-public partnerships” for the accomplishment.
In Health and Social Services, the Department of Health “has upgraded the status of ten of our sixteen province-owned hospitals to Level One.”
These are the hospitals in Bogo City, Danao City, Carcar City, Bantayan, Tuburan, San Francisco, Argao, Barili, Badian, and Sogod.
These hospitals are now ready to perform surgical procedures. Laboratory and medical services, such as ultra-sound and ECG, are also now available.
Under its Philhealth program, the Capitol has insured a total of Php 168,573 members to date. The barangay workers such as barangay health workers, day care center workers, barangay nutrition scholars, barangay animal health aides and barangay tanods are also insured “as a gesture of appreciation and in recognition of their volunteerism.”
The Capitol was also able to provide new ambulances to six provincial and district hospitals: Balamban, Bogo City, Danao City, Carcar City, Badian and Oslob. The ambulances were worth Php 1.2 million each.
Gov. Davide was also thankful for their partnership with various Rotary Clubs in Cebu for helping its anti-dengue campaign.
“We are happy to report that dengue cases recorded between January and May this year dropped by over 70 percent compared to the same period last year,” he said.
The governor also hired more medical personnel from 309 medical personnel to 542 including four medical consultants. He also said that “there shall be no more outsourcing of medical personnel,” saying that the policy destroyed succession and mentoring.
The barangays and towns also received Php 231 million in financial assistance to fund their various priority projects. These include the installation or repair of water systems; the repair or rehabilitation of barangay halls, barangay health centers, day care centers; and concreting of roads.
In Countryside Development, the province also revived and expanded the Farmer-Scientist Training Program. This resulted to the training of 26,000 farmers under the program and increased the yield of farm lands of up to 400 percent in corn per hectare.
“This means from the average 800 kilos per hectare per harvest, farmers can now acquire as much as 2.5 tons per hectare per harvest,” he said.
The governor believed that the farmers hold the key towards the progress and development of the towns and cities.
He said, “Until the subsistence farmers and fishermen can properly feed their families and send their children to school, we cannot rest.”
In infrastructure, Davide informed that a “third Mactan-Cebu link is currently being studied spanning Barangay Pilipog in Cordova to Shell Island.”
He said, “This Php 15-billion project is expected to start next year and should be operational by 2018. This will allow more convenience for travellers from the southern towns of the province to access the airport.”
Like the would-be expanded Mactan International Airport, the third bridge will be funded by the private sector.
The governor further stated that he already formally requested the Department of Transportation and Communications through the PB of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority to conduct feasibility studies on the Sta. Fe and San Francisco airports.
San Fe Mayor Jose Esgana Jr. said the SOPA was a “factual and sincere” report of what was happening on the ground.
The mayor was also happy with the report on the Santa Fe airport, which was first established in 1990.
Knowing the importance of the airport for Bantayan Island’s tourism industry, he hoped it sees completion after two decades.