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PIA Press Release

Agriculture, trade, tourism top Siquijor thrusts; province to get P200-M next year

By Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (19 September) -- Agriculture, trade and tourism development for Siquijor province will soon get a boost with the national government allocating some P200 million for Siquijor province next year, Congressman Orlando B. Fua said.

The representative of the lone district of Siquijor who is also the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Appropriation and the Committee on Foreign Affairs made the announcement during the celebration of the 36th Siquijor Day last September 17 following the speech of Lt. General Alexander B. Yano which stressed the Siquijodnons' determination "to put the island prominently on local economic map by promoting agriculture and trade and on the international maps by promoting tourism."

Fua said that a P200-million allocation has been included in the next year's budget for the completion, concretization and maintenance of roads, water work system and the airport in Cang-alwang, Siquijor, Siquijor, among others, which he said are all important in pursuing the government's thrust.

"Tourism cannot develop without tourist," hence the need develop to the airport in the provinces to accommodate more tourists, Fua said.

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that the national government will spend P116 billion for infrastructure projects and P8 billion to bring water to 111,000 hectares of farmland.

In line with this, the President has instructed government agencies to comply with Republic Act No. 6685 giving priority to residents of areas where government projects are being undertaken.

The President said it is imperative to simultaneously address the issues of generating employment from public works projects and making them transparent.

R.A. 6685, according to the President, requires contractors to hire workers from among the residents of the province, town or barangay where the project is to be undertaken.

She said the twin objectives of generating jobs and instilling transparency in infrastructure projects can be met if beneficiaries themselves are the ones given the jobs.

"For the citizens and their government, this is a mutually beneficial partnership," the President said.

She pointed out that the people can get paid and thereby directly partake of the infrastructure spending while the government benefits not only from quality workmanship of stakeholders but also ensure that work meets specifications and timetable.

The President noted that the people will then have sweat and equity on government investment even as they earn from the public works construction "which are essentially a reimbursement for the taxes they pay."

She added that it would tap the bayanihan spirit of the people which has been "the animating force behind civic enterprises in the communities."

"Most important, honorable work by ordinary people will make contractors honor their commitments. This is the kind of people power we need, one that marshals grassroots industry to bring integrity to government projects," she stressed. (PIA) [top]

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