Dinagat Islands gain cited in Gov Jade's 3rd SOPA
by Fryan E. Abkilan
San Jose, Province of Dinagat Islands (October 9) -- Gov. Jade Ecleo cited the gains of her administration in her 3rd state-of-the-province address (SOPA) delivered Wednesday, October 7 at Brgy. Aurelio Multipurpose gym, San Jose town this province.
In her 1 hour and 30 minutes SOPA, Gov. Ecleo enumerated her remarkable developmental programs that her administration had been implementing since her term as governor which started 2 years ago and vowed to continue what she had started until her term ends in 2010 in an effort to uplift the living conditions of the Dinagatnons from being one of the poorest in the country to a self-sufficient one.
"It had been the policy of my administration to bring the government closer to the people. In my frequent visit to our barangays in the province, I felt and I saw the great challenge ahead, that is, moving the province from being one of the poorest in the country to a self-sufficient one."
Permanent capitol building soon to rise
Ecleo said that she really wanted to see the province having a permanent provincial capitol building erected in the next years to come.
"The construction of the Governor's Office as part of the permanent capitol building, in Cuarenta, with an initial budget of P10M, is now on-going. The establishment of the capitol building in Cuarenta is expected to spur the economy of this once depressed rural barangay," Ecleo said.
Increase in tax collection
Ecleo reported that an increased of tax collection has bought the province to the number one post in revenue collection performance in the entire Caraga Region in 2008. "We even surpassed the rest of the provinces and cities in Caraga Region. Last year, we were able to collect 6.8 Million Pesos in local income."
Ecleo attributed the increase in tax collection to an ever increasing awareness of taxpayers through advocacy campaigns in the barangays, including resolution of tax issues through dialogues.
"As of August 2009, we already collected a total income of 12.3 Million Pesos from local sources. We also received 1.32 Million Pesos from our IRA as of August, 2009."
She then thanked her aggressive and industrious Tax Revenue Collectors for their efforts and also acknowledged the individual and corporate tax payers, especially the mining companies, who are religious and consistent in paying their taxes.
Ecleo also revealed the new tax ordinance enacted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), which now gained lots of controversy - the "Soil Depletion Tax" which imposes 1% tax from gross receipts of all mineral ores extracted and/or shipped from Dinagat Islands.
Disaster preparedness and response
"Our Dinagat Islands Search and Rescue, as of September 2009, has responded to 325 emergencies on health, vehicular, sea and some crime-related incidents," said Gov. Ecleo.
She proudly boasted the formulation of Disaster Risk Management Medium Term Plan of the seven (7) Municipalities in the province which earned them the BEST Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council for 2009 in Caraga Region in the recently held National Gawad Kalasag Search in Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance and ranked 5th in the national level.
As to prevention and mitigation, she revealed that they have collaborated with the Office of Civil Defense in prioritizing the province on the establishments of early warning signages on landslides and tsunami in cost-sharing scheme.
To rehabilitate the damaged structures brought by the storm surge and heavy rains last January of this year, the province according to Gov. Ecleo allocated financial assistance as counterpart in accessing the National Calamity Fund in the amount of P 4,927,570.00 that completed the total rehabilitation costs.
24-hour electricity generation
Gov. Ecleo revealed her most important achievement under her leadership which something the people have been dreaming of - the 24-hour power supply in the island.
"Thank you so much NAPOCOR, dahil pinagbigyan ninyo ang aking kakulitan at maraming-maraming salamat po sa Diyos at dininig po niya ang atong gihangyo nga ma24-hours na ang probinsya sa Dinagat."
Lastly, Gov. Ecleo also reported some achievements on Agriculture, Tourism, Environmental Protection, Good Governance and other notable accomplishments of her administration.
She then expressed her profound gratitude to the people of the Provincial Government and local government units for their support and cooperation, and urged them to continue to build their province into a place with great opportunities for all, where everyone is encouraged to put a stake in their own community, where everyone is happy and contented. (PIA-Surigao del Norte) [top]