Siquijor mayor bullish about development
Siquijor (19 February) -- As if sharing the same optimism of the government, Siquijor town Mayor Richard C. Quezon is bullish about his town's development as he unveiled his nine-point agenda that spells out the Siquijor's road map for development.
In his fifth mayoral "State of the Town Address" at Siquijor Capital recently, Mayor Quezon unveiled his over-all development approach dubbed "SOARS HIGH", an acronym that represents the different priority interventions of the local government unit that within a period of three years is expected to be in place and implemented.
S - Start. The start of the full promotion of the town's tourism potentials and enhanced cultural attractions in order for it to be identified as one of the major tourist destinations in the country.
O - Overseas link to open job opportunities among the Siquijodnons and establishment of economic ties to attract/invite investor to come to Siquijor. A new website for the town shall be opened in the first quarter of the year that will serve as the avenue of information of what is going on in Siquijor and will put the municipality in the world market through promoting its tourism potentials;
A - Agricultural enhancement program for the livelihood support to both farmers and fishermen;
R - Rehabilitation of malnourished children through provision of supplements and vitamins and reduction of poverty level;
S - Solid waste management effective implementation. The reduce, re-cycle and e - use concept of solid waste management will be implemented to minimize waste, he said;
H - Health program that will equip the town's health center with modern facilities for birth deliveries and sentrong sigla accreditation;
I - Infrastructure support to tourism. This component got bigger slice of the LGU's budget this year. A P2.8 M budget is allocated for the construction of permanent bleachers and.5 M for the completion of the roofing of the Siquijor Capital Square. The local government is also endorsing proposals to the Governor and the Congressman to give additional support for the project that will include the demolition of the old social center building;
G - Good governance and gender sensitive policies; and
H - Human security through sustained peace and order.
"These are just a few of the lined-up programs that my administration has envisioned to undertake. But all of these could not be made possible without your full cooperation and support", Quezon said.
The mayor's address also highlighted an upbeat summary of his accomplishments for the past three years. Among the town's completed projects are wood tiling of the new Siquijor Capital Square, costing P3 M; side roofing of the capital square worth 1.2 M; provision of polyethylene pipes to several barangays worth P250T, improvement of the health center which amounted to P600T and the successful staging of the Araw ng Bayan ng Siquijor and the Dilaab Festival that involved all sectors in the community.
Likewise, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also bullish about the continued growth of the country's economy.
In her message at the Philippine Economic Briefing at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel earlier, the President stressed that in spite of successfully keeping the nation on the path of progress, she recognized that there is much more that needs to be accomplished to finally uplift the lives of the poor.
"2007 was the best year for the Philippine economy in over 30 years. Economic growth was 7.3 percent; a million new jobs were created; unemployment is down, poverty is down, the stock market is up; the peso is at its highest level in eight years," the President said.
She added that investments come pouring in and as a result of renewed confidence of the international business community, the country's deficit in 2007 was only P9.4 billion, the lowest in 10 years, as against the target of P63 billion and revenues are up.
"This new maturity in our economy has brought new confidence that forms the foundation of sustained economic growth moving forward. We are at a tipping point. I am confident the Philippines will tip forward in pursuit of reaching the status of a First World nation within a generation," the President said.
But despite the strong economic and fiscal fundamentals, the President, aware of the adverse effects the slowdown of the US economy would have on developing nations like the Philippines, said is "top of mind in our calculations to protect our economy."
Stressing that 2008 "holds real promise for a different reason, not only do we expect strong growth in the seven percent zone," the President said a program has been developed to shield the economy from external threats.
These measures include continued investments in physical and human infrastructure, stamping out corruption and cutting red tape, and providing "targeted relief" to cushion the effects of oil price spikes in the world market, especially among the poor.
The President said she has ordered a surge in infrastructure projects through the frontloading of some P200 billion to provide the stimulus to the economy and overcome the fallout of the US recession.
She also said that there is a need to bring long-lasting peace in Mindanao for the island to finally achieve economic progress.
"The work of governance is difficult. We battle to liberate every Filipino from poverty and invest in their health, education and welfare," the President said even as she vowed "we will not rest until I leave office in 2010 from keeping this nation on the path of progress."
"I am confident and bullish on our economy, our people and our ability to join hands to move this nation forward," the President added. (PIA Siquijor) [top]