Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo said he considers 2016 as the most challenging year, with some of the trials staying longer and hounding his administration even after the elections.
He issued the statement yesterday during a yearend briefing with the media. He said working on a reenacted budget for 2016 is not that easy especially with a Sangguniang Panlalawigan that is dominated by the other camp of the political fence until the May 2016 elections and then the legal battle for the governorship, up to the creation of the Negros Island Region.
But he said he was able to weather those and accomplish many things due to the overwhelming support of the people and the stakeholders.
He said foremost of his accomplishments was the understanding reached by the leaderships of both the executive and legislative departments of the province of Negros Oriental, to work as one to the best interest of the people.
This resulted in the immediate approval of the 2017 budget of P2.331 billion, and he especially thanked Vice Gov. Edward Mark Macias and the members of the SP.
As a result, they have crafted the executive and legislative agenda for 2016-2019, which was a product of the critical collaboration attained by the leaders of the province.
Other accomplishments include the completion of the 4-storey Negros Oriental Hospital Central Block building, recognition received as the best implementing province in the anti-drug campaign dubbed as IWAG award, recognition as the best implementing local government unit in the anti-rabies campaign by the Department of Agriculture, a COA declaration for being the 5 th richest province nationwide in terms of assets at P4.955 billion, the completion of the construction of the P36 million oxygen generating plant which is now fully operational, and the acquisition of modern diagnostic and laboratory equipment through donations from the Department of Health, such as the new MRI and xray machines.
The Magdegamo medical, dental, surgical and animal welfare missions continued to bring government closer to the people, with 61 medical missions this year benefitting 65,000 indigents all over the province, he added.
On education, Degamo said the scholarship programs have been extended to 781 beneficiaries, on top of the 442, who are high school valedictorians and salutatorians presently enrolled in colleges and universities in the province.
There is also an ongoing scholarship program in the School of Medicine at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, with about 30 scholars.
Degamo also reported that this year, the provincial government has allocated P7.8 million for the 6,500 public elementary and high school teachers who will receive P1,200 each, charged to the Special Education Fund, the first two years was at P400 and P800 only.
On skills training, the Provincial Integrated Skills Training Center has recorded 340 graduates from the regular training modules and has graduated 150 others from various training for work scholarship programs, funded by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development also sponsored 25 scholarship slots for shielded metal arc welding NC1 which the city agriculture office also initiated a two–day special training module for engine repair and troubleshooting to 29 employees of the city government of Dumaguete.
Ninety percent of the graduates have landed jobs here and abroad while the remaining 10 percent have started their own businesses.
On the other hand, 297 Negrenses have benefitted from the 14 livelihood training programs conducted by the Technology and Livelihood Development Center of the province, which include dressmaking, fish, meat and poultry processing, commercial baking, cosmetology among others, aside from extending P528,000 as micro financing assistance to 117 individuals.
For self-sufficiency in food production, the provincial tilapia satellite hatcheries in 139 barangay agricultural development centers have produced 326,583 tilapia fingerlings which were dispersed all over the province with a marketable estimated sales of P2.75 million.
The Panambalon development project itself in Bais has harvested 2.7 metric tons of tilapia with an estimated sales of P216,000 while the Bais Oyster Farm was able to produce 80,000 pieces of oysters this year.
Some 1,117 heads of cattle, carabao, goat, swine, poultry and even sheep were distributed to farmer recipients in the province with artificial insemination services to 2,932 heads of cattle, carabao, goat and swine which produced a combined 3,739 offspring.
On the environment, the province has sustained 26 integrated social forestry/agro-forestry and 16 special reforestation sites, with 1,810 project adaptors in reforestation efforts through the establishment of nurseries and plantations, producing 48,000 forest tree seedlings and almost 20,000 fruit tree seedlings.
On disaster risk reduction management, the provincial government has recently formed eight Rapid Emergency Telecommunications teams all over the province, in line with Degamo’s directive to make sure that no deaths are reported during calamities in the province.
Degamo said a huge challenge is being faced by the people of Negros Oriental, especially with the creation of the Negros Island Region. The governor said the status may be unsure but this will not stop the two provinces from pursuing the objectives of trying to achieve peace and development in the island.*JG/RG