On the Occasion of the 46th Founding Anniversary of Davao Oriental
Provincial Capitol, Mati City, Davao Oriental
July 01, 2013
As the song goes “Climb every mountain … Search high and low … follow every bi-ways … every path you know … ford every stream … follow every rainbow … till you find your dream…. The dream that we live… all the love you can give … everyday of your life … for as long as you live”
For me the message that this song conveys is so meaningful and so moving … because it captures the essence of the journey that we’ve been through together, in my service as Governor of this province for the past six (6) years. And it humbles me to be entrusted another three years to continue and fulfil our dreams.
Six years ago, we set our dreams and vision for Davao Oriental … a dream for a prosperous province buoyed by a strong and sustainable economic foundation coupled with ecological balance … damgo sa usa ka mauswagong probinsiya pinasikad sa malig-on nga ekonomiya nga may pagpakabana sa kinaiyahan… … a dream for a cohesive community of local economies where governance and citizenry work together for progress … damgo sa usa ka nagkahiusang komunidad sa mga gagmayng ekonomiya diin nagkahiusa ang panggamhanan ug katilingban sa pagtrabaho paingon sa kalambuan …. a dream for peace and development where communities build their capacities and live in harmony … damgo alang sa kalinaw ug kasaganaan diin ang katawhan andam nga pausbawon ang ilang mga kapasidad ug magpuyo nga nagka-angay … a dream for a unified and dedicated political leaders … damgo diin ang atong mga panggamhanang liderato lig-ong nagkausa ug magmatuoron sa ilang gipanompaang panerbisyo … and, a dream for an empowered citizenry propelled by entrepreneurial mindsets free from the bondage of poverty…ug damgo sa usa ka makusganong lumulupyo nga may panghunahuna sa negosyo ug pag-asenso aron mapukan ang kawad-on..
In pursuing these big dreams, we have faced and scaled so many challenges and set new benchmarks …. we have encountered and dared trying problems and triumphed over it …. we have been offered new opportunities which we thought were beyond our capacities but we pushed ourselves to the limits…. and, we have celebrated our moments of wins and triumphs … while commiserating some losses but always with that undaunted and indomitable spirit to move on and to move up.
Move on … Move Up! Padayon sa Paglihok …. Padayon sa Paguswag … An apt theme on the occasion of this 46th Founding anniversary of Davao Oriental and the beginning of a new mandate for me as Governor of this province.
The devastation brought by Super typhoon Pablo on December 4 of 2012 severely affecting 3 municipalities in the eastern part of the province is still fresh in our minds. The damage was unimaginable and came at a time when we were at the height of several development initiatives and promotional efforts …. amidst awards and recognition garnered by the province. The extent of destruction somehow shattered part of our dreams. Lives were lost. Properties were destroyed. Thousands of families were traumatized and rendered homeless. Rich resources, lush and productive lands, agricultural crops, forestry, tourism sites, and, means of living were laid to waste.
Dili matukib ang kadautan ug kasakit nga atong gi-agihan tungod sa Bagyong Pablo. Libo-libo nga pamilya ang na-apektohan… daghang kinabuhi ang nakalas … daghan ang nawad-an ug pinuy-anan ug panginabuhian. Daghan ang pananom, propriedad ug mga istraktura ang nasayang.
As mother of this province, I was equally devastated and pained by this setback. I was pained by the suffering of our affected brothers and sisters. I mourned for the loss of lives. I commiserated the loss of homes and means of livelihood…I was saddened by the destruction to government projects, properties and facilities…
Isip inahan sa probinsiya … mibati usab ako ug dakong kasubo. Nasakitan ako sa alang sa mga igsoon nato sa tulo ka munisipyo sa Boston, Cateel ug Baganga.
But I cannot prolong the moment of grieving. I cannot afford a long period of commiserating. So many people and so much depends on our next moves … on how fast we can respond to the crisis … and as to how appropriate will our responses be! We have to Move on… we have to Move up!
While the tasks ahead seemed difficult, I was appeased by the overwhelming outpour of support from local, national and international agencies, institutions, foundations – both government and private. I was infused with hope – the proverbial “light at the end of the dark tunnel” – the bright prospect of Building Back Better. I can see, that new windows of opportunities will be opened not only for our affected families and communities but the rest of the province .
We have witnessed how these institutions worked hard with us to address urgent needs. The relief operations were dispatched as immediate response to the crisis. Social, debris, shelter and livelihood interventions were also mobilized.
For the Provincial Government, we have crafted and laid our comprehensive rehabilitation and development framework plan –– the Building Back Better Agenda – in less than a month after the disaster occurred. This document now serves as basis for proposals, programs and projects toward Moving on and Moving Up. But most importantly, we have taken a strong stance for spiritual transformation, moral recovery and value formation as a cornerstone of our Rehabilitation and Development agenda.
Even with the obstacle caused by Typhoon Pablo, by the Grace of the Almighty, we have risen up to the huge tasks of rehabilitation and recovery. So much have already been done and offered – services, time, resources, talents, abilities – but more are still expected. After seeing the spirit of cooperation and support that moved everyone to give their share, I believe, that indeed, we can “Climb Every Mountain” with more confidence and that, Yes, we can really move on and move up.
But let’s not lose sight of what we have gained so far in the last six (6) years … Let us continue to draw strength and motivation from the accomplishments and awards we attained which serve as testimonies to how we have worked hard … how we have worked together to fulfill our dreams …
1. The Davao Oriental Provincial Hospital which has become a model among provincial hospital facilities and benchmarked by other local government units. In December 2012, we garnered a Regional Award from the Regional Development Council – XI for Outstanding Project in the implementation of the DOPH reconstruction and rehabilitation. And, most recently the Provincial Government forged a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Health and the Davao Regional Hospital making the DOPH as a Training Hospital – the first LGU-operated hospital in the country with a training program for family medicine.
2. We have also upgraded other health facilities such as barangay health stations. And, we tried to continually upgrade our level of health services.
3. In terms of nutrition, Davao Oriental is still the lowest in malnutrition prevalence in the entire region at 4%.
We garnered the Pag-Asa Award from the National Nutrition Council XI for 2 consecutive years – 2009 and 2010 and the over-all champion nationwide on the Nutrition Program in 2011.
4. Our locally-funded Madayaw PhilHealth Program has made health services more accessible to about 35,000 indigent families.
At this point, let me announce that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will be establishing their Davao Oriental Branch soon upon the initiative of the Provincial Government. This will bring PCSO’s financial assistance service nearer to our people.
5. Davao Oriental has been Regional Gawad Saka Champion for 2 consecutive years (2010 – 2011) and 1st runner-up for 2012. We have farmers, fisherfolks and livestock raisers who were recognized and awarded Outstanding for high production and productivity. These are results of our extensive effort to increase productivity, intensify food sufficiency and increase income of farming and fishing households.
While agriculture is one of the most damaged sectors due to Pablo, we are confident we can overcome the stumbling block with more aggressive efforts.
Our cacao enterprise village with its partnership with CIDAMI and MARS chocolate shows a lot of potential and it is envisioned that within the next year or two, Davao Oriental will become the leading cacao producer in the country.
6. There are other promising investments in agri-business for non-traditional crops that are forthcoming. Right now, we are talking with a big company and is seriously laying the ground works. Once established, this can serve as magnet to other interested investors.
On Tourism Development
7. I am pleased to announce that Davao Oriental has just been accorded a landmark legislation with the issuance of Republic Act No. 10560 – declaring the Province of Davao Oriental as a Tourism Development Area (TDA), the basis of which is our Davao Oriental Tourism Development Plan . This makes us the only province in the entire country declared as a TDA, and we hope we can make the most out of this breakthrough policy and realize an integrated development for the tourism sector.
8. I also take pride in announcing that after the Meeting of the UNESCO Board in Cambodia last June 21, 2013, where I was privileged to attend, our Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, is now due for inscription as a World Heritage Site in 2014. This information was released by the Philippine Embassy (Department of Foreign Affairs) based in France. This would be another avenue for a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for Davao Oriental.
9. Our Provincial Museum is due for completion and inauguration in August 2013. This facility will be the show window and repository of Davao Oriental’s rich cultural and natural heritage.
10. Meanwhile, we are laying the grounds for enhancement of some tourism sites such as Pusan Point, Aliwagwag Falls, Governor Generoso sites, Caraga church, some islands and lakes, among others.
On Disaster Risk Reduction Management
11. The Province has been No. 1 in the Region and No. 3 in the entire country for 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). Their mettle has been tested and proven during the disaster that struck the province.
On Peace and Security
12. I am pleased to report that finally on April 2013, the province was declared insurgency – free by the Philippine Army. The Philippine Army, in particular, the 67th IB and 28th IB under the 701st Brigade and 10th Division, was instrumental in the implementation of the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in the province, an innovative strategy of winning peace by winning the hearts and minds of the people through developmental means. In recognition of our full support to this laudable initiative, the Philippine Army conferred to us the Gawad Sa Kaunlaran Award and the Command Plaque of Merit.
On Local Governance
13. We were awarded by the Department of Interior and Local Government not only with the Seal of Good Housekeeping for compliance on full disclosure and transparency policy but most importantly, we were awarded the Gawad Pamana Ng Lahi as Regional Winner in 2012, considered the mother of all awards and the highest award that can be conferred a local government unit by the DILG.
14. The province has also significantly improved its revenue collection efficiency and even surpassed its revenue targets. We were declared regional champion by the Bureau of Local Government Finance, Department of Finance in 2011 for having attained the highest revenue collection efficiency in the region and exceeding the total revenue targets in all four major revenue categories.
15. In the area of fund mobilization and networking, we have 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), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Bank-MRDP. Meanwhile, the impact of Typhoon Pablo to Davao Oriental also brought in more partners and supporters in its wake … and we really thank them for all the help extended at a time when we thought the future is bleak.
16. And given the tasks and responsibilities we have to dispense, we have continually capacitated not only our provincial departments but also our counterparts at the municipal levels specifically the local planning and development offices of our LGU components.
The people in the organization is our strength, hence, we need to continually upgrade skills and build capacities to enable them level-up the quality of services and respond to the needs of our constituency. To our City and Municipal Chief Executives, let us take to tasks what we have set out to do when we took our oaths and let us follow the same path toward developing the province.
And so, let this day be a day for thanksgiving and renewal of commitments – as we face more challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Kini ang adlaw sa pagpasalamat ug adlaw usab kini sa pagpadayag ug usab sa atong mga saad.
Thanksgiving … for all that we have done and achieved for the past 6 years …. thanksgiving for the strength and resiliency we have shown in the face of adversity and a devastating natural calamity… thanksgiving for old and new friends, allies and supporters we have gained after the harrowing experience we’ve been through…. Thanksgiving for new windows of opportunities we have been presented with to “build back better” … thanksgiving for what we can still do in the next 3 years under God’s Grace … and thanksgiving for another overwhelming mandate you have entrusted with my candidacy unopposed giving me this opportunity to continue our development journey and destiny.
This is also a time for renewal of my commitment … and so, to the best of my talent and ability under the Guidance of the Almighty and with the continued support of my Provincial Capitol Team, the city/municipal Local Chief Executives and barangay leaders, other government agencies, private sector groups, I commit to lead this province with passion and dedication, with sincerity and integrity to fulfil the shared vision we have for Davao Oriental. Let me emphasize that I need everyone’s help and cooperation. Let us stay united and focused. Together let us climb every mountain… Together, let us move on and move up.
Allow me this time to speak as a wife and mother. To my beloved husband Louie and to all members of my family, thank you for being my source of strength and inspiration. I couldn’t have reached this far and climb mountains and fulfil personal dreams without you at my side.
And to all of us gathered here, my provincial government team, department heads and staff, my team of consultants, Representatives of District I and 2, Vice Governor and members of the Provincial Board, Mayors, Vice Mayors and Council members, barangay officials, national government agency heads and staff, men and women in uniform, partners from international agencies, members of media, friends and guests, and to all of you, thank you for celebrating this Momentous day with us.
MABUHAY ANG DAVAO ORIENTAL! MABUHAY KITANG TANAN!
GOD BLESS US ALL!