Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gov. Espino’s 2010 SOPA affirms No. 1 status of Pangasinan

Lingayen- - -Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. has affirmed that the province of Pangasinan deserves nothing less than number one with all the accomplishments it has achieved to regain the lost glory of Pangasinan in just two and a half years of his administration.

In his third State of the Province Address, which also served as his first term report, Gov. Espino focused on how the present administration transformed the sad state of the province before he assumed office in 2007 into a world-class, functioning, efficient and achievement-laden delivery of public services, during the 98th regular session of the Provincial Board, last January 25 at the Capitol Plaza here.

The governor’s speech which lasted for over 45 minutes and interrupted by over 40 applause, dealt on the gains and improvement of the provincial government in hospital services, human resource management, tourism, public health delivery, PhilHealth registration, disaster management, peace and order, infrastructure and various recognitions given to the province.
Effective tourism promotion came as a result of the renovation of the Capitol buildings and its environs. The province is now being noticed, not just in Region I, but across the entire country eventually gaining number one status as a best province with the best looking Capitol building.
The province also recorded the highest tourist arrivals in the region, posting 205,093 tourists and visitors in 2008 and 316,850 in 2009.
Likewise, Pangasinan has become the number one province in the country in terms of sponsored PhilHealth card registration posting a record high of 228,552 indigent family enrolments, besting Cebu and Bukidnon, the former topnotcher.
Aside from these accomplishments, the province is also a perennial recipient of awards in various fields of endeavors.
In 2008, the province was adjudged Best Provincial LGU supporting the Millennium Development Goals, Region I Best PESO Manager, Region I Top PESO Performer, Region I Best Province and Best Activity for the National Statistics Month and Region I Most Outstanding Coastal Resources Management Project Implementer.
Last year, the province was also adjudged Region I Best Province and Best Activity for the National Statistics Month, First Runner–up Region I Best LGU Poverty Reduction Program Implementer, Region I Top Grosser in Real Property Tax Collection and the National Most Outstanding Provincial Accounting Office.
The recognition from various institutions and the appreciation of the local populace has inspired the provincial leadership to further intensify its development thrusts and visions for the province.
On health care services, the governor said that the poor and the needy, have been enjoying the upgraded services and facilities of all 14 government-controlled hospitals in the province which have undergone physical rehabilitation and are now equipped with air-conditioning wards, stand-by generating sets, better diagnostic capabilities and new ambulance units.
The improved reputation of the provincial hospitals, he added, has led to steady increases of individual occupancies ranging from 57% to 123% in 2007 to 127% to 168% as of December last year.
The Dialysis Center in San Carlos City is a big relief to the less fortunate sectors which provides specialized renal care at an average of 20 patients a day.
On human resource management, Gov. Espino reported that the province thru its Human Resource Management Office has designed in-house programs to upgrade the capability and qualifications of every employee thus led to the improvement of work attitude and and skills.
Streamlining of management systems and procedures were also done for the rebirth of the “New Team Pangasinan” that has survived hard and trying times like the recent typhoons and calamities that devastated the province.
In spite of the strong typhoons and floods that devastated the province, Pangasinan still managed to become the food basket of the region producing 51% of the region’s rice, 80% corn, 80% fish, 84% mangoes and 86% eggplants, which is an indication that the province’s agricultural extension program is working.
As an affirmation of Pangasinan’s leading position in agriculture, Espino also bared that the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) with the Department of Agriculture, has selected the province, along with few chosen provinces, to receive a grant worth P196.36 Million for the establishment of a modern rice processing center at the Provincial Nursery in Sta. Barbara, now being constructed.
The province will also continue to give priority to the effective maintenance of peace and order as a continuing measure to protect its people from lawless elements and to safeguard its visitors and investments coming in.
The successful campaign of the provincial PNP, thru relentless police operations and effective intelligence work, led to the arrests of various crime groups and elements operating in the province and resulted to a lower monthly crime rate and higher average crime solution efficiency.
In over two years, the provincial government had spent P1.027 Billion for the construction, repair, rehabilitation and upgrading of various local roadlines, provincial government buildings and facilities, hospitals, agriculture extension facilities and schoolbuildings.
About 10% of the fund came from the national government thru various agencies such as PAGCOR, the DOH, the DOE and foreign funds such as the European Commission.
Aside from the headways made by the Espino administration in previously mentioned areas, the governor bared that industrialization and globalization is in the offing with the construction of the Sual Commercial Seaport as well as the development of the 300-hectare eco tourism zone in Lingayen.
He confirmed the series of meetings between three groups of Korean investors who are willing to establish a retirement village and invest in mining, agri-business, electric car manufacturing and other ventures in the province.

The governor ended his speech by rallying all Pangasinenses to continue to dream big and grab opportunities still in store for the province and its people even as he said that there is much work left to do.
The traditional courtesy call followed immediately after the governor’s address. (PIO/Rafael Manuel III, Ruby Bernardino and Angie Villanueva)

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