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PIA Press Release

Siquijor gov's SOPA draws praises

By Rizalie A. Calibo

Province of Siquijor (13 August) -- Whether it was the content of his speech or the way he delivered it, Siquijor Provincial Governor Orlando "Shane" B. Fua elicited praises from no less than heads of the different sectors when he delivered his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) Thursday afternoon (July 31) at the Sunken Garden Session Hall of the Provincial Capitol in Siquijor, Siquijor.

Provincial Prosecutor Jose Imaculado L. Palmitos described it as very satisfactory giving the governor a score of 9 points on a scale of 10 while Monsignor Candelario "Larry" Catubig of the Siquijor Parish called it very informative, it gives the people a guide to monitor. "At least we will be aware of what is going on in our province," he said.

Siquijor State College President Dr. Dominador Q. Cabanganan, on one hand, called it very comprehensive and the message very substantive while Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Ramon A. Taroc who obviously was very pleased for topping agriculture in the governor's list of accomplishments and plans is also giving the governor equal score of 9 points.

"Out of the 32 million pesos that is allotted as our annual development fund, we have earmarked 3 million for agricultural enhancement with the end view of developing and adapting new technologies, techniques and implements to be disseminated among our people, so that they shall spur productivity and growth among our farmers," the governor said in his SOPA not to mention the various agricultural development made and the lines of projects yet to be implemented.

The SOPA's emphasis on agriculture is very timely it addresses the problem that is so pressing," Dr. Redempta E. Cortes of the Provincial Health Office also said.

"It is very impressive and encouraging on our part," another impression from Department of Education Supervisor Pura V. Jumadla who also felt so blessed citing the governor's granting of full autonomy to Division Superintendent Aleli R. Abne to program the Special Education Fund (SEF) " so that the stewards of our educational system could respond to the needs on the ground as they see fit," as the governor cited in his SOPA.

Seeing the need to instill in the minds of students the love of farming once more, the governor said he has forged a pact with the DepEd to revive gardening. "We scraped bottoms in the middle of the fiscal year to fund for P1 million. With this amount, we shall procure and distribute certified seeds, fertilizers and farming tools for high value crops and vegetables among participating schools so their pupils could plant and tend them right in their own school grounds.

Provincial Director Mario E. de la Peña also said the SOPA reflects the accomplishments of different sectors. "It is something to be told to the people – that the province is doing something good at par with other big provinces of the country," he said. The governor is very transparent in his plans and accomplishments, added Provincial Director Dominica K. Lacuesta of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

It mentioned the real status of the province and gives directions on environment and ecotourism development, said Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Oscar M. Magalllones.

Giving emphasis on development based on the potentials and existing natural advantage and natural resources of the province, the governor said: "We believe that for us to survive in the presence of giants in the tourism industry, we need to play according to our strength. All we have to do is to carve as many windows as we can into the tapestry of our land so that the world can set its eyes and feast upon what hitherto had been a hidden paradise."

It is clearly in tandem with the President's SONA, also viewed Provincial Statistics officer Ronald C. Taghap.

The SOPA cited highlights of plans and accomplishments covering all sectors: Health, education, infrastructure, environment, tourism, peace and order, all to topple down poverty, ignorance, diseases and hunger, he said. "There is no other way that these vaunted foes could be fought and vanquished but through a united front along our land," he said.

Meanwhile, in her 8th State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also manifested her concern for the less fortunate Filipinos as she cited three ways to protect them from the current global challenges.

First, the President said, "we must have a targeted strategy with set of precise prescriptions to ease the price challenges we are facing."

"Second, food self-sufficiency; less energy dependence; greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posture as a nation."

"Third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long term reforms. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well."

The President stated the importance of the Value Added Tax in facing the current global challenges, saying that such program is the solution to the problems inherited by her Administration.

First VAT paved the way to lessen RP's debts and shore up the country's fiscal independence. Second, it provided more capital for the people and for infrastructure projects and third, it provided enough funds for the country's programs for the poor.

"Take away VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis," the President underscored, in answer to the clamor from several sectors to recall VAT on fuel and electricity. (PIA) [top]

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