2005 STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS
Hon. Rolando “Lando” Enriquez Yebes
Provincial Governor, Zamboanga del Norte
I come to you on this historic
occasion – my first State of the Province Address mandated by the
Local Government Code – brimming with hopes and prayers that
united we can build a greater Zamboanga del Norte. For it is in
unity, forged in the anvil of a common desire that we can serve
the highest interest of our beloved Norte Zamboangueño people, in
particular, and the Filipino nation, in general.
In my inaugural address, I laid down
my 8-Point Development Agenda for the next 3 years – not utopia
but one that is practical we can achieve and accomplish on time.
A hundred days after, I faced the
people to report the modest inroads my administration has started
in the areas of health development, agriculture, environment
protection, infrastructure, and local governance, and electronic
Today, eight (8) months after, I
would like to say that we have worked in solidarity and
cooperation to rise above the challenges of the times: the
economic difficulties and the residual effects of the last
election, through confidence-building and consultations.
The harmonious and collaborative
relationship, especially between the Executive and the
Legislative Branches of the Provincial Government, has given me
the impetus to clearly set our vision and goals for our beloved
Zamboanga del Norte. For this I am thankful for the Honorable
Vice Governor and the Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. I
am deeply grateful that as a sign of people’s overwhelming
support, they gave me a huge majority in the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, among the local governments, and the three (3)
congressional districts, thus allowing the Executive and
Legislative Branches to work for measures calculated to bring
into reality the dream and aspirations to improve our quality of
I am also deeply pleased that we have
come to terms with the fact that a province deeply divided will
not stand. And it certainly will not move forward.
Consequently, our administration
succeeded to achieve modest accomplishments, that all combined
manifest my strong resolve to serve the people above all else –
As aptly stated, – UNA SA TANAN ANG KATAWHAN!
“I come to you on this historic occasion –
my first State of the Province Address brimming with hopes
and prayers that united we can build a greater Zamboanga
del Norte,” says Gov. Rolando Yebes after acknowledging
some of his guests and supporters.
Allow me to walk you through to some
of my humble achievements in the first few months of my
ascendancy to the Office of the Governor.
LOOMING POWER CRISIS
Upon assumption to office, the threat
of a powerless province was looming over us. ZANECO was finding
difficulty accessing loans from government banks to immediately
pay the principal amount of the Fuel Compensating Charge or
Incremental Cost (FCC/ICC) charged by the National Power
Corporation or NPC to ZANECO.
Please recall that ZANECO was
prohibited to collect the pass-on FCC/ICC component of the NPC
power bills within the period July 1991 to December 1993 due to
the preliminary injunction issued by the Trial Court in the civil
case filed by the Province of Zamboanga del Norte against ZANECO,
which preliminary injunction subsisted until the dismissal and
reversal thereof by the Court of Appeals was finally affirmed by
the Supreme Court in October 2000. For a period of nine (9)
years, ZANECO was not able to pay NPC the principal FCC/ICC
account in the amount of P30.557 million.
To delay the payment to NAPOCOR meant
further increase in the imposed interest and penalties that would
eventually be passed on to the consuming public.
Thus, in two (2) separate
resolutions, the ZANECO Board of Directors sought the assistance
and intercession of the provincial leadership to solve the
problem by any legitimate means.
A panoramic scene of the SOPA fully attended
by supporters of the Yebes Administration.
Acceding to the request of the ZANECO
Board of Directors, we initiated negotiations with the Land Bank
of the Philippines by making representation with the bank’s
President, Former Congressman Gary Teves, for loan assistance to
ZANECO. To cut the story short, ZANECO was granted the loan, paid
NAPOCOR, thwarted imminent black out or power disconnection, and
kept the province lighted enabling us to meet the power demand of
a growing economy.
I am happy to report that I
rekindled patriotism and love of country and province among
government officials and employees throughout the province by
singing the National Anthem and the Provincial Hymn with passion
and burning fervor. The Provincial Hymn gives us a sense of
identity as a people of this beautiful land we call Zamboanga del
Norte. For so long a time, we are a province divided by our own
parochial interest and crab mentality. As President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo said in her inaugural address:
“it is not free markets but patriotism that makes
Consultative leadership being the
main feature of this administration and we believe no one has a
monopoly on right ideas, the Executive and Legislative Branches
jointly conducted monthly municipal and barangay consultation
dialogues to reach out to all parties at all levels, regardless
of political affiliations or loyalties, to join me in those
things that should be everyone’s concern because they rise above
politics to the level of patriotism.
Undertaken every last Monday of the
month in different towns, such as Polanco, Katipunan, Liloy,
Siocon, and Godod, these consultative dialogues provide the
avenue for the local leadership to present to the provincial
leadership their most pressing needs, discuss and share views and
ideas to resolve them with dispatch.
Gov. Yebes was all smiles as he announced
the presence of the three (3) Congressional Representatives
of the province of Zamboanga del Norte, namely; Congr. Cely
Jalosjos of the 1st District, Congr. Roseller
Barinaga of the 2nd District, and Cong. Cesar
Jalosjos of the 3rd District.
Over the years,
under the stewardship of various administrations, the provincial
government has acquired a number of parcels of land which to date
have not been titled. Adding insult to injury, unauthorized
persons have occupied these properties.
As a remedial
measure, I have caused the process of issuing titles for our
properties, which are being utilized as hospitals, jails,
schools, medical centers and other public structures.
Conciliatory moves have been introduced to ensure that
unauthorized persons vacate government lands. To give way to the
construction of the modern hospital, we are transferring the
provincial jail in Sicayab to Misok, Sindangan and Don Jose
I cannot end this discussion on
government land without expressing the gratitude of the
Provincial Government to our provincemates who – all these years
- have been donating valuable parcels of land for public
purpose. In the same vein, under my leadership, the provincial
government is committed to fairly compensate our provincemates
whose properties are being used - for public purpose – by the
government, without paying therefor.
POVERTY MAPPING PROGRAM
The poverty mapping program was
conceived to lay the strong fundamentals in the identification
and implementation of poverty -reduction projects and activities,
which scheme is intended to answer to the ignominy of the
declaration that our province is one of the poorest provinces of
The objectives of the program are
One, it provides answers to the
questions: WHO ARE THE POOREST OF THE POOR, WHY ARE THEY POOR,
WHERE ARE THEY, and WHAT DO THEY NEED;
Second, the program is a tool to
continuously touch base with the rural communities; and
Third, it facilitates the updating of
the Minimum Basic Needs data bank of barangays, an effective
instrument in assessing the essential needs of a family.
In essence, the program is a prelude
of the indigency and poverty reduction initiatives of my
administration. Undertaken jointly by the Provincial Social
Welfare and Development Office, and the Community Development
Assistance Unit or CDAU of the Office of the Provincial Governor,
the program is concretized through the conduct of surveys at the
CDAU has completed the survey in the
barangays of the municipalities of Polanco, Piñan, La Libertad,
Sibutad, Manukan, Labason, Katipunan, Jose Dalman and Siayan.
Nearing completion are the surveys in the municipalities of Godod,
Gutalac, Kalawit, and other thirteen municipalities. The surveys
conducted as of today, covered a total of 91,511 households or a
total of 457,555 individuals.
The end result of the surveys
facilitates the identification of indigent families who would
qualify to benefit under the Indigency Program as well as the
livelihood projects of the provincial government. The provision
of livelihood is facilitated under the program Tulong ni Lando sa
Communidad or TLC.
Just last February 3, 2005, the
first batch of beneficiaries of my Indigency program in
partnership with the PhilHealth was issued their respective
PhilHealth cards, and some of them are here to join us this
afternoon. Can I request you to please
stand up to be recognized? Ladies and gentlemen, our
beneficiaries . . . . .
Under the livelihood program,
recipients are organized into cooperatives, and empowered them
economically thru skills trainings and provision of agricultural
inputs for livelihood undertakings. This is being undertaken in
close collaboration with the Office of the Provincial
Agriculturist, and Technical Education and Skills Development
Authority or TESDA.
Among the cooperatives organized and
assisted are the Zamboanga del Norte Handicap Cooperative,
Zamboanga del Norte Coconut Farmers Cooperative, San Jose
Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Datu Tangkilan Women’s
Even the outside area of the convention was
jam-packed with people hailing from the different towns of
HEALTH AND SANITATION
Health is wealth, and a healthy
populace brings about a productive economic human resource. This
is why, under my administration, I am extending equal importance
to preventive and curative health programs.
These preventive health programs
implemented in the province in partnership with the Department of
Health include Maternal and Child Health Services, National
Tuberculosis Program, Expanded Program on Immunization,
Cardiovascular Prevention and Control, Rabies Control, Leprosy
Control Program, Acute Respiratory Infection Control, Dental
Health, and Environmental Sanitation.
Implementation of the micronutrient
supplementation program in the province is undertaken by the
provincial government in collaboration with the Helen Keller
International and the, Micronutrients Operational Strategies and
Technologies or MOST, two (2) organizations that are funded by
USAid. MOST organization advocates for food fortification, in
particular, with Vitamin A. In the province, coconut oil produced
by Private Oil Mills, formerly known as SIOM, has already been
certified by MOST as fortified with Vitamin A.
Under the Environmental Sanitation
Program, a total of 2,256 household toilet facilities were either
constructed or improved. Water quality surveillance thru
inspection and or disinfection of water supply sources, and
household containers, is regularly undertaken by the Provincial
Health Office to ensure safe potable water supply in households,
schools and establishments.
Simultaneous with the conduct of
surveys relative to the poverty mapping program, is the holding
of medical outreach missions bringing medical, dental,
agriculture and milk feeding services, and relief operations
right at the doorstep of barangay households. Between July last
year and March this year, these outreach missions served a total
of 23,433 individuals and dispensed with medicines amounting to P
On the curative aspect of our health
program, immediately after taking the reins of the provincial
government, I launched the ADOPT-A-WARD PROGRAM UNDER THE SAVE
OUR HOSPITAL MOVEMENT, intended to improve hospital services and
facilities to better serve our people. I am deeply grateful for
the kind-hearted members of the business community and the
private sector, who readily lend their support to our
Adopt-A-Ward Program, thus paving the way for the renovation,
refurbishing, and repainting of the following wards in the
Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Hospital with very minimal or no
cost at all on the part of the provincial government:
Male and Female Medical Charity Wards
and Orthopedic Charity Ward by the Isaias Uy family;
Pediatric Charity Ward jointly by the
Development Bank of the Philippines and the Catholic Women’s
The Medical Charity Extension Ward by
Mr. Edwin Capili.
Renovation of Piñan District Hospital
is adopted by Trans and Kika Daarol.
The preparation of the program of
work for the renovation of Sindangan Hospital is underway. This
will be presented to prospective benefactors for adoption.
Equally important to acknowledge are
the other improvements in the Provincial Hospital, including the
asphalting of the access road embracing the hospital and the
rotonda, repainting of the exterior and interior walls of the
hospital, repainting and repair of the operating room, manpower
augmentation, and 24-hour pharmacy service.
Our provincial hospital and nine (9)
other government hospitals served a total of 126,124 patients,
95,790 patients of whom were outpatients and 30,334 were admitted
patients either as charity, Medicare or paying patients.
Three of our hospitals overflow with
patients, namely, the Zamboanga del Norte Hospital with an
occupancy rate 137 percent; Manukan Medicare Hospital with 186
percent; and Liloy Integrated Health District Hospital with an
occupancy rate of 313 percent.
Allow me to avail of this forum in
expressing the gratitude of the Provincial Government to our
province mates who are residing abroad for their kind assistance
to our health programs. May I single out the medical services of
the provincial hospital as enhanced with the arrival of new
equipment and supplies donated by the Zamboanga del Norte
Association of Illinois, thru its Vice-President, Engr. Remchile
Sienes. These included a portable defibrillator machine,
electrocardiogram with cardiac monitor, 3 suction machines,
otoscope, and various medicines and medical supplies.
I also manifest our thanks for the
donation of the Zamboanga del Norte Association of California
thru its President, Ms. Erika Austin, of some 22,616 tablets of
anti-pyretic medicine, together with books and other materials
for our Provincial Library.
The province was also fortunate to
benefit from the medical and surgical mission conducted by the
BISAYA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION of US-based Cebuano-speaking doctors
and nurses. In partnership with the provincial government, city
governments of Dipolog and Dapitan and the Rotary Club of Dipolog
City, the group attended to a number of obstetrics surgical
cases, and performed ophthalmology surgeries at Dipolog Medical
Center. Consultation services were also extended to out-patients
of Dapitan Hospital.
Signifying their support towards the present
Yebes administration as well as indicating the unity that
is envied by the other local government units, the Mayors
of the province came up the stage and sang the Zamboanga
del Norte Hym.
Interplast Germany 2005 should
likewise be thanked for conducting a surgical mission in the
province early this year. Dubbed as “OPLAN PAHIYUM”, the mission
performed surgeries to 98 patients with cleft lip or cleft
palate, goiter, hernia, and cysts or abnormal growth. The German
mission was facilitated by Mrs. Norma Eguia Brozska, a native of
the municipality of Katipunan, who now resides and works in
Interplast Germany 2005, thru the
team leader, Dr. Siegfried Jaenicke, donated to the Zamboanga del
Norte Provincial Hospital, one unit of pulse oximeter and
medicines and medical supplies.
Other medical equipment donated to
the hospital are 2 units of defibrillator and 1 unit of
therapeutic ultrasound, courtesy of Mr. William Raymond Farace of
I have also sustained the
implementation of programs and projects for the welfare and
protection of children, youth and women, such as:
Free health services on maternal and
child care, immunization and micro-nutrient supplement, and
socialized medical services to the needy and disadvantaged
families. A total of P 1.259 million was utilized as financial
assistance for medical and hospitalization of 2,059 individuals
who sought assistance from us, while some P195,391.00 was
extended to indigent in-patients for medicines and laboratory
Nutrition program through fresh milk
feeding and food supplementation to identified underweight
pre-school and in-school children.
Under the One-Shot Milk Feeding
Program, a total of 2,797 children were served in 21 barangays in
the municipalities of Sindangan, Leon Postigo, Jose Dalman, and
Mutia, and in the city of Dipolog. Meanwhile, the regular milk
feeding program served a total of 947 malnourished children
between the ages 2 and 6 years old. Supplemental milk feeding
under this program is undertaken within a period of 120 days. To
date, implementation of the program has been completed in the
municipalities of Pres. Roxas, Leon Postigo and Labason; and
on-going in the municipalities of La Libertad, Rizal and Mutia.
Protective services for the children
and youth by way of food supplemental feeding and mental
development thru the provision of workbooks in all day care
centers in the province.
The implementation of the Early
Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is strengthened through the
issuance of the following Executive Orders and memorandum:
EO No. 04-11: Organization of the
Provincial Council for the Protection of Children;
EO No. 04-12: Organization of the
Provincial Early Childhood Care and Development Coordinating
Council tasked to oversee the effective implementation of the
ECCD program in the entire province; and
Memorandum No. 04-543: Creation of
the Provincial Technical Working Group tasked to oversee,
monitor, and evaluate programs and services for children.
I have committed to provide
counterpart fund in the implementation of the Early Childhood
Care Development program in the pilot municipalities of La
Libertad, Leon Postigo, Salug, Manukan, Polanco, Rizal, Liloy,
Labason, Pres. Roxas, and Sibutad.
In the same vein, I have declared my
commitment to promote the Rights of the Child, and make the
Province of Zamboanga del Norte a Child Friendly Province with
the support of the local government units, national government,
non-governmental organizations and the civil society.
compliance with the Local Government Code, I have adopted
adequate measures to safeguard, conserve and protect our
land, mineral, marine, forest and other resources.
When I assumed the reins of the
provincial government, I was told by radio commentators,
columnists, and other media personalities that the wanton
destruction of our forest reserves and natural resources cannot
be stopped – not by the joint efforts of the religious sector,
our own NGOs, not even by the Provincial Governor. We have
crossed the Rubicon and we have stopped the destruction of our
natural resources thru sheer political will. Today, I say to
those unbelievers and other persons who doubted my
sincerity that I have stop the degradation of our natural
resources. On this crusade let me ask you, my
provicemates to rally behind me as one people and one
I have created
the multi sectoral TASK FORCE KALASANGAN, by way of
implementing the TOTAL LOG BAN being introduced by the
national government. The Task Force fought to prevent the
occurrence of landslides resulting from denuded forests, as
experienced in the Province of Aurora. Taking the cudgels for
the environment, our Sangguniang Panlalawigan has even declared
persona non grata some officers of the Department of
Natural Resources and Environment (DENR) for their acts inimical
to the interest and welfare of the people of Zamboanga del Norte.
Lately, through the concerted
action of the Task Force Kalasangan as well as
congressional, provincial and local officials, we have
expressed our disappointment and dismay to the higher
officials of this Republic on the proposed action of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources to lift the
Total Log Ban and allow logging operations anew in our
province. Sensitive to the pulse of our people, the President
did hear our plea. For such act, I am grateful to the President
for sparing our province from destructive logging operations. It
is my fervent hope and prayer that the position of the National
Government will stay on, and eventually our forestlands be
declared as national reserves.
Even as we fight against wanton
logging operations, I have initiated the Tree-Planting Programs
in some strategic parts in our Province and I have caused the
study of mining operations of big corporations - within our
province - with the sole purpose of preserving our natural and
God given resources.
When I assumed
office, I declared a moratorium against the extraction and
transport of pebbles from our province. The moratorium is
not without reason. For theft and smuggling of our pebbles and
minerals have been rampant, to the damage and prejudice of our
environment. If only to stress the magnitude of this
illegal activity, recently, I caused the filing of the
formal Intervention of the provincial government in a case
before the Court in Manila, involving some thirty two (32) vans
containing pebbles which were transported to Manila from the
town of GUTALAC, worth an estimated sum of P1.9M.
On a happy note, allow me to report
that for its operation covering the period from July 2004 thru
January 2005, the Provincial Environment and Development Office (PEDO),
has contributed substantial amount to the provincial coffers, by
way of fines and penalties being imposed against illegal
For the purpose of rationalizing our
action on minerals and other natural resources, I deemed it best
to propose some urgent measures before the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, which, it is hoped, in due time, will conduct
public hearing on the matter.
To sustain our efforts in the
protection of our forests and bountiful natural resources, I
established a workable partnership with our brother indigenous
peoples in the uplands to help us safeguard the integrity of our
environment from the onslaught of kaingineros and other forms of
destruction. It is yours and my responsibility to bequeath the
province to future generations in an ecologically sound and
Agriculture: The Provincial Leader
I have always believed that
agriculture should be in the forefront in bringing about the kind
of development that will take our people across the great divide
between poverty and prosperity. Industrialization is a dream that
cannot be pursued at this time for the reason that the
appropriate infrastructures and other supporting utilities are
not yet in placed in our province. Consequently, it takes some
refocusing of priorities to be able to tap to the optimum the
potential of the agriculture sector to do this.
In consonance to this thrust, I have
strengthened the provision of agricultural extension services to
the people in the farming and fishing communities thru the Yield
Enhancement through Better Extension Services, YIELD in short,
directly linked with the local government units. Its primary
objective is to deliver economical, effective, and efficient
In a span of eight (8) months, we
have undertaken activities that promote the production of
non-traditional crops, such as, sweet potato, cassava,
vegetables, peanuts, and high value crops, including organic farm
On sweet potato production, we have
dispersed a total of fifteen thousand (15,000) sweet potato
cuttings. Each of the farmers is allotted 0.25 hectares for the
propagation of sweet potato cuttings for future distribution to
the rest of the barangays;
On cassava production, a total of
1,690 hectares have been devoted to its production, benefiting
1,824 farmers. This is expected to yield 21,131 tons of dried
Barangay-based vegetable production
is also promoted and its implementation is facilitated during the
conduct of integrated outreach missions and TLC activities. To
date, a total of 11,853 packs of assorted vegetable seeds have
been dispersed to some 2,117 farmers;
Promotion in the use of organic farm
inputs like trichogramma and bio-fertilizers is also given
priority under the YIELD program;
On fishery, fish seeding of rivers
and fish dispersal activities resulted in the dispersal of
214,000 tilapia and 12,000 hito fingerlings to farmers, and
twelve (12) rivers in the province were seeded with fish
We have continued the provision of
veterinary services to livestock and poultry raisers, and
increased farmers’ access to technology livelihood trainings.
The development of agriculture sector
in the province is further enhanced with the support that we are
getting from the Department of Agriculture thru the
implementation of the GMA Rice and Corn programs, and the ZAMBAS
Integrated Agricultural Development Program.
Under the ZAMBAS Program, a total of
P 2.425 million was released to the province for the
implementation of agriculture-infrastructure support projects
like stilt dryers, bagsakan center, and farm-to-market roads in
the municipalities of Sibuco, Sirawai, Baliguian and Siayan.
The province is also in partnership
with the Department of Agrarian Reform thru the Western Mindanao
Community Initiative Project or WMCIP, a project that is funded
by the International Food and Agriculture Development or IFAD. A
total of P8.725 million is earmarked for the province for the
following projects intended for implementation in 24 barangays in
the municipalities of Katipunan, Pres. Roxas, Sindangan, Siayan,
Godod, and Leon Postigo:
Integrated Upland Farming Systems
Upgrading of Zamboanga del Norte
Ruminants, Poultry Center and Accelerated Animal Dispersal
Marketing Center in Katipunan
Under the agricultural support
services program, the incumbent leadership is strengthening the
province’s tractor pool by acquiring additional units of tractors
aimed at helping more farmers who are financially incapable to
procure farm equipment and implements, particularly farm
This would also result to job
opportunities to our operators, and further capacitate our
agriculture people to serve the farming communities and cover a
wider area of agricultural lands.
In line with my vision to mechanize
the farming system in the province, I plan to create under the
Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, a Farm Mechanization Unit
to oversee the modernization in farming approaches.
The provincial government’s present
fleet of six (6) units had served a total of 799 farmers
throughout the province in the last eight (8) months. This
generated for the provincial coffers a total income of P1.765
million, the highest revenue-generating cost-recovery service of
the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
Pointing at the guest of children, the
Governor then said, “We lighted homes at night for children
to study better.”
For the first time, the provincial
government recognizes the critical role of tourism in the
development of the province. The first step that I did was
re-organized the Provincial Tourism Council pursuant to the
Tourism Code of 2002. This stance stems from our pride in the
natural beauty of our Province and the hospitality of our people.
It is tasked primarily to galvanize
the key players in the tourism industry in the province into a
solid group. The Council has so far formulated the Provincial
Development Tourism Plan, advocated among local government units
tourism as a potent vehicle of development.
Thus, the Council initiated the
conduct of inventory of eco-tourist destinations, historical and
cultural sites, as well as cultural and religious festivals for
inclusion in the printing of a world class tourism brochure,
video presentation, website advertisement and formulation of tour
Validation tours to different
potential tourism sites have been conducted in the municipalities
of Sibutad, Rizal, Manukan and Tampilisan. The rest of the
municipalities will be visited in the next 2 months.
Only last Christmas, my
administration launched the Light-a-Tree Program, which was the
first of its kind in the province. Conceived by the Tourism
Council, the implementation of the Program did not cost the
provincial government a single centavo. Rather, it was
successfully undertaken through the participation and support of
the private sector, business leaders, non-governmental
organizations, government officials, and private individuals.
The beautifully lighted capitol
complex drew an average of 500 people a night from the time it
was switched on, which was attended by no less than the Belgian
Ambassador and some dignitaries.
Two recent developments further boost
the development of the tourism industry in the province. One is
the election of ZDN Provincial Tourism Council Chairman Atty.
Michael Alan Ranillo, Chairman of the Regional Tourism Council,
and, second, is the imminent transfer of the regional office of
the Department of Tourism from Zamboanga City in Dapitan City.
These developments open the door for more opportunities of growth
for the tourism industry in the province.
The holding of Hudyaka ZANORTE 2005
during the 53rd founding anniversary of the province
is hoped to yield positive notes for the tourism industry.
It is our vision to develop Zamboanga
del Norte into one of the premier nature-based tourism and
convention destinations, and the center of history, culture and
arts in the country. Our battlecry is ABANTE ZANORTE!
The key to the development of any
locality is infrastructure development. Notably, investments in
infrastructure including power and water provide the greatest
multiplier effect for growth and job creation.
Kung maayo ang imprastruktura sama sa
kalsada, tulay, airport, pantalan, telepono, koryente, daghan ang
mamuhunan sa atong probinsya. Mudaghan pod ang makatrabaho.
Thus, it is in the area of
infrastructure development where we have made huge investments.
Under the amended 20 Percent Development Fund for the year 2004,
a total of P64.70 million was allocated for various
infrastructure projects. This represented about 52.0 percent of
total EDF appropriation of P 125.00 million.
In the last 8 months, starting July
2004 until to date, the provincial government has invested P
32.127 million to accomplish a total of 147 infrastructure
projects to include the following:
Asphalting/paving of 2.7 kms. of
Maintenance of 802.94 kms. of provincial roads;
Rehabilitation of 7.32 kms. of provincial roads;
Construction of 5 day care centers;
Construction of 2-classroom and one
(1) 1-classroom school buildings in the Barangays Nabilid,
Tanayan, and Minang in Pre. Roxas; San Miguel in Liloy; Kalaguan,
Sibuco; Linay, Manukan; Titik, Leon Postigo; and Lower Lux,
Energized the Jamboree site in Brgy.
Intramuros in Sergio Osmeña, along with Sitio Tubalan, Brgy.
Josefa in Sindangan; Lapero in Jose Dalman town; Brgys.
Lupasang-Lingatongan-Meses, Sitios Maripad and Bob in Brgy.
Depane all in Manukan; and Brgy. Dionum in Piñan. An initial
total of 50 households benefit from the project.
Installed 30 units of Level I and II
water supply in thirty (30) barangays in the cities of Dipolog
and Dapitan, and in ten (10) municipalities to address the need
for safe water and promote sanitation.
Moreover, under my administration a
total of P1.0 million has been allocated to each of the 27 local
government units of the province as funding assistance of the
provincial government for their respective priority projects.
Implementation is entrusted to them with supervision from the men
and women of the Provincial Engineering Office. This is a way of
empowering LGUs in the area of project implementation.
Twenty-three (23) LGUs have received
their share of the assistance for projects ranging from
farm-to-market roads, gymnasium, public market to agriculture and
fishery related projects that are at various stages of
development, as I am speaking now.
The municipalities of Rizal, Piñan,
Salug, Godod, Liloy, Baliguian and Siocon have reported 100
percent completion of their projects. The rest of the projects
are at various stages of implementation. On process as of today
is the financial assistance intended for the municipality of
The provincial government provided a
total counterpart of P15.92 million for 2 bridge projects under
the President’s Bridge Program: Calican Bridge over Dipolog River
in the Municipality of Piñan, and Palomok Bridge over Palomok
River in Barangay Gatas, Kalawit.
More bridge projects await to be
implemented in the province. Early last year, the Regional
Development Council endorsed to the President for funding
assistance under the President’s Bridge Program 46 bridge
Under my administration, I have
recommended additional construction of bridges in some vital
areas of our province.
On top of these projects, we have
completed and continue the implementation of projects started by
the past administration. I have taken this stand, by way of
recognition of the projects’ beneficial impacts to the
recipient-rural communities. More importantly, I do not want to
put to waste the initial investment poured to these projects.
Notable among the on-going
initiatives are the 4 projects in the Triple S-B municipalities
funded under US PL480 Section 146 (B) Grant Fund of the
Department of Finance, namely:
The construction/improvement of
Sibuco-Sirawai Road consisting of 28 kilometers;
The construction of water supply
system in Sirawai;
The improvement of
Siay-Pisawak-Kilalaban Road consisting of 19 kilometers in Siocon.
Completion of this project is now being undertaken by the
municipal government of Siocon under a memorandum of agreement
between the provincial government and Siocon leadership; and
The improvement and/or construction
of Mamad-Alegria-Tamao-Milidan-Dicolom Coastal Road consisting of
17 kilometers in the municipality of Baliguian.
Completions of these projects mean so
much to our people in the Triple S-B municipalities. Physically
isolated from the rest of the province for years, the snail’s
pace of development fuelled the feeling of neglect and discontent
among our brother Muslims and Subanens.
It is hoped that with the sincerity
of my administration to effectively mainstream the Triple S-B
municipalities in the economic development processes of the
provincial government, depressing images of burning public
markets, bullet-holed municipal hall and houses, somber faces of
grieving families, and frightened women and children in
evacuation centers deeply etched in our memory will be completely
With the approval of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, the provincial government will now enter a new
phase in its rural infrastructure development with the
acquisition of additional equipment totalling about P 54.200
A photo of Governor Rolando Yebes as he
enters the plenary hall and is welcomed by the people
Our support to education goes beyond the provision
of school buildings and classrooms
As earlier mentioned, mental development of
pre-schoolers is made possible thru the provision of workbooks in
all day care centers of the province.
Also pursued with deep interest is the
establishment of libraries in municipalities and barangays
pursuant to Republic Act 7743. With the assistance from the
Office of the Provincial Librarian, a total 17 municipal
libraries, 19 barangay libraries and one city library have either
been reactivated or newly established. Books and other reading
materials solicited from the National Library are shared to them.
The Dipolog Chamber of Commerce has donated some business books
and materials to the Provincial library.
Recently, the provincial library and some of the
local libraries received books donation from Ms. Irika Austin,
President of the ZAMNAC. She also donated one computer unit to
the Provincial Library to enhance its computerization program.
The province’s Bookmobile or “Library on Wheels”
regularly visits public elementary and secondary schools
promoting library awareness, and affording out-of-school youths
and out-of-work barangay folks the opportunity to get acquainted
with the many uses of a library.
More importantly, the provincial government has
sustained its long standing assistance program to the Department
of Education address the concern on the lack of teachers. Out of
our modest funds, we funded the hiring of 150 secondary school
teachers, 106 of whom are drawing their salaries from the
Provincial School Board Fund, and the remaining 44 teachers from
the General Fund.
PEACE AND ORDER
The advancements that we have made in development
which I have detailed today, is largely because of the sustained
peace and order condition in the province.
I believe that with the resumption of the peace
negotiations and the implementation of the ceasefire agreement,
hopes are high that by this time lawless elements have come to
realize that our people are tired of war and that there are other
ways of achieving change and economic progress.
The New People’s Army, on the other hand, has seen
its strength greatly diminished not because of armed encounters
but because of the development efforts penetrating their former
The Zamboanga del Norte PNP Provincial Office
recorded a total crime volume of 314 cases, of which 174 were
index crimes and 140 were non-index crimes. Of these cases, 301
were solved placing the crime solution efficiency rate at 96.50
The campaign against illegal drugs and illegal
gambling in the province continues. While drug use is not as
rampant as it is in other provinces, the police arrested 101
persons caught either pushing or in possession of the prohibited
shabu. Total volume of shabu seized was 123.99 grams.
Operations conducted against all forms of illegal
gambling resulted in the arrest of 152 persons and confiscated a
total of P 108,216.00 bet money.
The drive against illegal logging and fishing has
my administration’s unwavering support. The campaign in these two
fronts resulted in the arrest 44 illegal fishers and confiscated
P14,000.00 worth of fish, 2 fishnets and 16 pump boats; and the
arrest of 12 illegal loggers and the confiscation of 14,968 board
feet of lumber.
The fight against illegal quarrying
yielded the arrest of 2 people and the seizure of 330 bags of
pebbles worth P99,000.00, and one truckload of boulders.
Lending support to police work is the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which continues to provide
technical services to our courts, prosecutors, military, and the
national, provincial and local governments. I would also like to
commend the NBI in actively participating the efforts of the
provincial government in the conservation and preservation of our
forests and mineral resources. Likewise, to the church, led by
Bishop Jose R. Manguiran, and the private sector.
I, therefore, call upon all the people of
Zamboanga del Norte, the Indigenous Peoples, Subanens,
Muslims, and Christians, to close ranks and help me
preserve our modest gains. We must hold on each other’s
hand and bravely face the challenges.
ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE OR E-GOVERNANCE
In the field of Information and Communication
Technology, I am pleased to report that soon, we shall be able to
start with the computerization of the province’s real property
tax system thru the facilities and services of the Management and
Information System Office or MISO, whose establishment I fully
supported. To date, MISO has recorded a 70.0 percent completion
in the building of data base of real property units (RPU) for the
Municipality of Katipunan. The estimated 170,827 RPUs from the
twenty-five (25) municipalities of the province is targeted to be
fully automated and functional, including that of the Provincial
Treasurer’s Office, by the 3rd quarter of year 2006.
AGENDA FOR YEAR 2005 AND BEYOND
In the next 2 and half years, we commit to achieve
the following pro-people agenda:
By June 6, 2005,
we will be celebrating the 53rd founding anniversary
of our province.
Even as we prepare
for such joyous and momentous event, there are still unresolved
problems - conveniently linked to birth pains - which emanated
out of the creation of the two (2) provinces of Zamboanga del
Norte and Zamboanga del Sur from the mother Province of
Zamboanga. However, after 53 years the pain still continues and
We refer to our valuable patrimonial
properties, representing our share from the partition between the
two (2) Zamboanga provinces, as adjudged, by final judgment
rendered by the Supreme Court. These valuable parcels of land
are located within heart of Zamboanga City. Ironically, they are
being used, utilized and enjoyed by Zamboanga City, without
paying any compensation to our province.
Under my leadership, our province is committed to
resolve the issue involving the patrimonial properties.
involves the boundary conflicts between some towns of Zamboanga
del Sur and some of our towns, notably, the towns of SIAYAN,
KALAWIT, SERGIO OSMEÑA, LABASON and SALUG.
Again, I am committed to put a definitive
resolution to these boundary conflicts thereby preserving the
territorial integrity of our affected towns. It is worthy to note
that now in the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Province of Zamboanga
del Norte holds the distinction of having the largest land area.
THE NEW ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL
I have earlier mentioned that three of our
government hospitals are overflowing with patients. So much so,
that in the early months from assumption to office, I started the
leg working for the construction of a new provincial hospital.
The proposed hospital is envisioned to be a
tertiary level hospital with 200 bed capacity, and more
specialized services. It will feature separate outpatient,
emergency and main hospital entrances, complete laboratory,
X-ray, diagnostic units with separate pharmacy unit; and private
With the establishment of the new hospital
equipped with state-of-the art medical and laboratory facilities,
our people need not go to the big cities of Dumaguete, Cebu and
Manila, saving cost and time on travel alone.
I am happy to report that this project has gained
the support of the Provincial Development Council and the
Let me stress that in the field of agriculture, it
is my dream to provide every municipality with one (1) farm
tractor to help farmers mechanize their farming practices and
enhance their production capacity, consistent with the focus of
my administration. At present, we have acquired three (3) new
tractors, in addition to the existing six (6) tractors.
Our target this year is to complete
the implementation of the 149 continuing projects funded by my
administration meant to provide:
Facilitate access to the seat of
local government, markets, production areas, schools, churches,
government facilities, among others.
Moreover, mountain roads should be
constructed to open and interlink barangays and towns, and most
especially our province with our neighboring provinces, namely,
Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Misamis Occidental,
including Zamboanga City. It is only through this network or
linkages of roads that we can connect our barangays to our towns,
cities, and thereafter, to the seat of government;
Facilitate the delivery of government
basic services to rural communities. I am happy to share with you
my efforts to acquire a ship, either from the government or
business sector, for the purpose of assuring economical
transport of our produce, through the seas or the President’s
nautical highway, to Cebu, Manila, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bacolod and
other areas here and abroad. It is my desire to make full use
of such Nautical Highway, where our Pulauan Port serves as one of
the component ports.
Schools to school-less barangays. On
a personal note, I strongly believe that EDUCATION provides great
opportunity to our youth to fulfil their dreams for a better
life. After all, EDUCATION is the great EQUALER in our society.
Open opportunities for livelihood
Connect barangays, municipalities,
cities, and the province;
Improve hospital services. Also, I
intend to make representations with the better universities to
open and establish medical schools in our province. Through this
process we will save time and money for our students who have to
travel to other places to get their medical education.
Access to safe water;
Well lighted homes at night for
children to study better;
Well lighted streets for safety and
AIRPORT AND SEAPORTS
As the Gateway of Mindanao, we give
our full support to the local governments of Dipolog and Dapitan
in the upgrading of the Dipolog airport and Pulauan Port,
respectively, two major ports of entry and exit to and from the
province and of adjoining provinces. My administration will lobby
for the inclusion of Dipolog airport in the restructured Southern
Philippines Airport Development Project of the Department of
Transportation and Communication.
During the October 6, 2004 meeting of
the Provincial Development Council, we passed a resolution
reiterating our request to Her Excellency President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo to upgrade the Dapitan Port Terminal Office into
Port Management Office; and make it better equipped to provide
quality and efficient service to the increasing commuting public
and shipping companies that call on the port. Operational
statistics of Dapitan Port Terminal Office shows, that in year
2004 alone, a total of 559,317 domestic passengers, and 304,283
metric tons of cargo, both inbound and outbound, were served by
Pulauan Port, which part of the Nautical Highway.
The improvement of the port system
involving Pulauan Port and six (6) municipal ports will gain my
full backing as part of the intermodal transport system in the
SPORTS GYMNASIUM AND PROVINCIAL
In support to sports and youth
development, I am seeking financial assistance from the national
leadership for the construction of a Sports Gymnasium and
Multi-Purpose Center. Financial help is also sought from our
elective Representatives to the Halls of Congress for the
construction of a Provincial Museum that will house the mementos
of our rich culture and heritage. Understanding and appreciation
of our culture evoke in us all a sense of identity as a people.
Let me assure you that the Provincial
Government is also committed to lend a helping hand to the
business sector with the end in view of allowing them to grow as
partners of the provincial government.
TRANSFER OF REGIONAL OFFICES IN THE
It is a sad commentary that in
comparison – our Province has been virtually receiving the crumbs
from the Imperial Manila which has been handing out the projects
for the betterment of the countryside. Cognizant of this reality,
I have been inviting the transfer of regional offices to our
province so as to afford as the chance and opportunity to have
direct and immediate access to the national government - through
the regional offices. Happily some offices – like Tourism,
Agriculture – have signified their preference to move to our
We made a headstart in the last 8 months; we must
take bolder steps in the next 2 and half years and beyond. All
the solutions to all our problems require toughness on the part
of the provincial government, cooperation on the part of business
community, private sector and the civil society groups, patience
on the part of our people, and active support on the part of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan and local government units.
I liken the next 2 and half years of my
administration to one span of a long bridge that will bring our
people across a great divide between poverty to prosperity. Must
one span of bridge sag? No, it must not. It must be strong to the
last point so that the next span will have something to hold on
to. Just like a runner in a relay, this administration must run
even beyond the finish line to make sure the baton is received
well by the next runner.
I, therefore, call upon all the people of
Zamboanga del Norte, the Indigenous Peoples, Subanens, Muslims,
and Christians, to close ranks and help me preserve our modest
gains. We must hold on each other’s hand and bravely face the
God bless us all. Daghang Salamat ug Maayong Hapon!