Message from the Governor

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you here as I take this an opportune time to present a brief report on how our province fares after a five-year development journey.

Let me bring you back quickly to where we took off with our development agenda when I started my stint as Governor in 2007. At that period in time, we were faced with a social and economic scenario wrought with challenges that need to be addressed – poverty incidence of the province was high; unemployment was on the rise; the province recorded the highest malnutrition prevalence in the whole region; health facilities were in a sorry state; our agriculture registered low productivity and low production; government services hardly reached far-flung communities; and, we have the lowest revenue collection and poorest collection efficiency in the region. On top of these, the threat of insurgency was at a heightened level that each time I was asked by prospecting investors and tourists, I couldn’t look at them straight in the eye to answer them with confidence that it is safe to come to this province. All these were indicators of a poor and ailing province.

And yet, for all its worth, this province has more wealth, has more potentials, than one can imagine.

• It is the biggest in terms of land area in the whole region at 5,164 square kms
• It has the longest coastline at 448 kms
• It boasts of rich mineral resources
• It is blessed with several natural attractions from pristine lakes and rivers to white-sand beaches, exotic caves, amazing waterfalls and a pygmy forest, currently a UNESCO nominee as world site heritage
• It has rich cultural and historical heritage

But the richest resource that we have, are ourselves, the leaders, stakeholders, partners and the people of this province as a whole.

In the face of all these challenges and opportunities, together we came up with a comprehensive development agenda -bonded by a shared vision, common beliefs and convictions toward a more progressive and dynamic Davao Oriental … where leaders and legislators are committed… where peace and security prevails… and, where our people enjoy the quality of life that they rightfully deserve.

Guided by this vision, together we journeyed to our development path, for the last 5 years. We encountered birth pains. We learned to be creative and innovative. We tried to “think out of the box” and “got out of our comfort zones”. We went through a process of Change in governance and mindsets. We actively sought and engendered the commitment and support of our stakeholders and development partners. We collaborated. We converged to expand our reach.
So after 5 years, what have we to show for all that we gave of ourselves. It is with pride that I report these modest gains.
On hospital, health facilities and health services.

No less than PhilHealth President Eduardo Banzon, after his recent visit to our province wrote in his column dated June 19, 2012 in the Business Mirror, a national newspaper and I quote: “The white and pink hospital was built to promote patient comfort, with its optimal lighting and ventilation and spacious corridors. As we walked inside the emergency room, we were delighted to see one that is a complete antithesis of the reputation of government hospitals – adequately supplied, clean and well-maintained, staffed appropriately and odor-free (amoy downy as they say). Most important of all, the patients looked safe and dignified in their stretcher beds”. President Banzon said it all. With that testimony, the Davao Oriental Provincial Hospital is truly a facility at par with that for the rich but caters to all especially the poor. It has become the showcase of a model facility for other local government units to benchmark thus, we have been receiving visits from many LGUs and their technical teams. Thanks to DOH Secretary Ona for his endorsement.
Soon we will open our Blood Bank and Multi Diagnostic Center including the Water Testing Center, which building is now under construction and also we hope to ground break the third building this year to house our semi-private and private rooms. This time we expect the DOH to support us, as a reward for all our initiatives in the 1st structures.
We are continually upgrading and expanding our services. We have hired regular surgeons to do surgical operations on weekdays and consultants on weekends.

We are also upgrading other health facilities such as barangay health stations. Recently, we have completed five barangay health stations in five different areas from the meager funds provided by the DOH and counterpart labor services from the Philippine Army. We are going to construct more and renovate more.

Our locally-funded Madayaw PhilHealth Program has made health services more accessible to about 35,000 indigent families. This is on top of the national government’s identified 4 Ps beneficiaries of 47,000.

In the area of malnutrition – from the highest malnutrition prevalence rate of 17.7% in 2007, which was the highest malnutrition rate in the region, Davao Oriental is now the lowest in malnutrition prevalence in the entire region at 4%. We garnered the Pag-Asa Award from the National Nutrition Council XI for 3 consecutive years – 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Another milestone is the attainment of high agricultural productivity from the low in 2007. Our rice production increased by 55% between 2007 and 2011 while rice sufficiency level rose to 63% in 2011 from 42% in 2007. Davao Oriental has been Regional Gawad Saka Champion for 2 consecutive years. Just a while ago, we gave citations to 10 regional grand champions. These are results of our extensive effort to increase productivity, intensify food sufficiency and increase income of farming and fishing households under the Pagkain at Kita Program.

Other agricultural and fishery programs are still on-going. Some are on the pipeline. Fully aware that we are a coconut province and that close to 200,000 hectares of our lands are planted to coconuts, we are promoting intercropping of cash crops like corn and permanent crops like cacao to increase productivity of our coconut farms. We have bright prospects for our cacao after opening technical and marketing tie-ups with domestic and international buyers like Mars Chocolate International. Other projects on the pipeline include establishment of rubber production areas, expansion of coco-based and abaca-based value-adding industries, other village enterprises, and fish ports and small fish landing projects, among others.

In infrastructure, we have facilitated construction, improvement of vital structures such as barangay halls, multi-purpose buildings, day care centers, school buildings and some post-harvest facilities. We also do year-round rehab and improvement of provincial roads and barangay roads.

On tourism, we have also gained grounds in the area of ecotourism development. We completed the documentation of all our tourism sites – cultural, historical and natural. Our very own Caraga Church has been declared a historical landmark by the National Historical Institute. We initiated some ground works for our view decks, beach parks and targeted eco parks while undertaking community preparation. Soon we will inaugurate our Provincial Museum. Soon we will officially open Davao Oriental to the world!

Our final dossier for the nomination of Mt. Hamiguitan as UNESCO’s World Site Heritage is already considered complete by UNESCO. In July to September 2012, the UNESCO Team will proceed with the next phase which is the validation process. Garnering the declaration of Mt. Hamiguitan as a World Site Heritage will place Davao Oriental in the map and will open a lot of development possibilities for this province. Hence, I would like to enjoin the full support of the stakeholders especially the three local government units concerned –San Isidro, Governor Generoso and the City of Mati – in the validation mission that will be undertaken by the UNESCO team. Meanwhile, Presidential Proclamation No. 139 series of 2011 was issued declaring Aliwagwag Falls and its environ as a Protected Landscape. Consequently, the Aliwagwag Management Development Council was constituted to facilitate the formulation of Aliwagwag Development Plan.

In the area of Disaster Risk Reduction Management, the Province has been No. 1 in the Region and No. 3 in the entire country for past 2 consecutive years and conferred the Gawad Kalasag Best Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (Province Category) in Davao Region and the Gawad Kalasag 3rd Placer nationwide (Best PDCC Category).

In the area of peace and security, this leadership shares the belief that there can be no genuine development without peace and therefore efforts toward peace and development should go hand in hand. For these twin goals to be attained I believe collaboration and convergence among several players and stakeholders should be in place and effectively mobilized. Military presence is an essential component in this regard. At this point, I would like to personally thank Lt. General Jorge V. Segovia, then Division Commander of the 10th IB, now Commander of East MinCom for providing this province a brigade, the 701st, with 2 batallion commands, the 67th IB covering the 1st district and the 28th IB covering the second, and for giving us the finest and the brightest commanders to head the different units. This, after a long wait, with Davao Oriental considered then as 2nd priority to Compostela Valley, in the deployment of military forces. He also brought the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP), an innovative strategy of winning peace by winning the hearts and minds of the people through developmental means. We are glad that the incumbent Commander Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo is continuing and strengthening the same strategy.

I was just told that they are about to clear the 186 barangays in the province from threats of insurgency. The relative peace that we are now enjoying is something we never imagined to happen and we have a lot to thank God for.

In the area of local governance, we were awarded by the Department of Interior and Local Government with the Seal of Good Housekeeping for compliance on full disclosure and transparency policy. Likewise, we are capacitating our provincial departments including the local planning and development offices of our LGU components, to be able to build up on technical expertise at all levels of government.

The province has also significantly improved its revenue collection efficiency and even surpassed its revenue targets. Lately, we were declared regional champion by the Bureau of Local Government Finance, Department of Finance for having attained the highest revenue collection efficiency in the region and exceeding the total revenue targets in all four major revenue categories.

In the area of fund accessing, we have also strengthened our collaboration and partnerships with international funding agencies. We have projects funded by the European Union (EU), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australian Aid, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Moreover, we were able to influence World Bank – Mindanao Rehabilitation Development Program (MRDP) to include the Provincial Government for technical and financial assistance in the availment of the Community Fund for Agricultural Development or (CFAD) which used to be made available only for city or municipal local government units. We also availed WB-MRDP’s single largest rural infrastructure project in Mindanao – the Cateel Irrigation Project amounting to P255 million. More that 50% of the project is expected to be completed next year and once operationalized we will be assured of a 100% rice sufficiency level.

Indeed, so much has been done. At this juncture let me express my gratitude and appreciation to my team mates in local governance – the Provincial Board under the leadership of Vice Governor Mayo Almario, who consistently provide strong legislative support to worthy development initiatives; to the Honorable representatives of the 1st and 2nd Districts – Honorable Nelson Dayanghirang and Honorable Thelma Almario for bringing in road and other infrastructure projects; to all the City, Municipal and Barangay and all Local Government Officials who have managed to translate our common development programs and projects in their respective areas.

To all the Heads of Offices in the Provincial Government – thank you for keeping up with your respective responsibilities in leading your staff and delivering improved quality of services; to my PGO support team both in the old mansion and new capitol building – headed by Nenette Palmera and Engr. Ging Rodriguez, respectively – thank you for all the hard work and late nights spent working with me; my thanks also to the team of consultants – Dr. Santi Enginco, Danny Sumagit, Bong de Guzman, Dashiel Indelible, Colonel Boquiren, Id Acaylar, Ed Viacrusis, Arch. Cesar Gamalong, Dioscoro Vicentino, Dr. Juanito Gamalong, Norie de Guzman, and Cynthia “Ging” Rodriguez, my tourism czar, responsible for placing Davao Oriental in the tourism world map.

To the men and women in uniform – the PNP led by PD Macion, Brigade Commander General Rey Leonardo Guerrero of the 701st Brigade and Colonel Reuben Basiao of the 67th IB. Special thanks to the men and women of the 28th IB headed by Colonel Boyet Imbang for going beyond his tasks by assisting us in our intelligence and security concerns.

To all our partners and collaborators – the provincial officers/directors of the various national agencies, private sector organizations, international agencies, and our clients and co-operators – let me extend my sincerest appreciation for aligning with us and sharing our vision for this province all these years. I still look forward to your support for the years ahead of us.

To the members of media, our esteemed guests and friends, thank you for celebrating this special event with us.
But most of all, to my husband Louie, my daughter Michelle, to all members of my family, I couldn’t have done all these without your support and inspiration.

Together we have done so much but much more needs to be done. The tasks are numerous and the challenges are great. These are trying times. Let us not lose our sense of common purpose. Let us work together to preserve the gains and build on our strengths. We have proven that positive changes can happen… for as long as we stay committed . . . we stay united . . . and we stay focused on what we want to achieve. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE OUR DREAMS COME TRUE. Our dream for a better Davao Oriental, a better life for our people, for this generation and for generations to come.


Governor Province of Davao Oriental

(*State of the Province Address of Governor Malanyaon during the 45th Founding Anniversary of the Province of Davao Oriental, July 1, 2012)

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