AKLAN TRULY HAS LEVELLED UP*
(1st of four parts)
*State of the Province Address of Hon. Florencio T. Miraflores, Governor of Aklan delivered during the Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, held on Wednesday morning, February 4, 2015 at the SP Session Hall, Capitol, Estancia, Kalibo.
Hon. Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo, Honorable members of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan, Aklan Representative Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr., distinguished guests, fellow workers in government, ladies and gentlemen:
Abu gid nga saeamat sa inyo nga presensya makaron nga adlaw. Dahil makaron nga adlaw, mabahoe ro aton nga inugpasaeamat ag inugpabugae bilang mga Akeanon.
Let me preface this state of the province address with a very relevant qoute: “there is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for the future, widely shared.”
I presumed that it holds true for all successful organizations and governments, but i am most certain that it is also true in our case. A participatory, united and shared leadership has done wonders for Aklan.
The beginning of our term last July 2013 was supported with the mind-set of shared leadership with the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan. We have done right by having executive-legislative unity. This, we sustained and capitalized in our endeavors and it has reaped so much for Aklan in such a short time.
My sincere gratitude to the honorable presiding officer and members of the august body for 284 resolutions, 10 general ordinances, 14 special ordinances, 2 tax ordinances, and 7 appropriation ordinances.
Without fear of contradiction, we have gone a long way as province because of our shared vision and our united leadership.
Our Aklan is now known and recognized as a major contributor to the country’s economy. Our “smallness” in terms of political value compared with vote-rich provinces, did not hinder our climb to the big-league.
This administration is a consistent top performer in local governance in the region and has very well maintained our status as a top favorite tourist destination of all generations, social economics standing, and nationality.
Yes, we are one among the big boys in making sure that our country stays vibrant, and our government, responsive to the needs of its people.
In the lingo of our young Akeanons, Aklan truly has “leveled-up”.
The status of our beloved Aklan as the province with the highest contribution of locally-sourced income among the country’s 81 provinces in the amount of Php 491.75 million to the total regular income of Php 1.09 billion, was not achieved overnight. Neither did it happen through providential twist of fate.
For a small province with a locally-sourced income comprising up to 45 percent of its total earnings, clearly it can be attributed to nothing but a phenomenal concerted effort by our people and our government workers. Compare this with the average local earnings of other provinces which is 10 to 15 percent.
As a province, we embarked on an ambitious journey together, and braved the rough roads together.
Dungan kitang nagtibyog sa paghandum ag sa pagtinguha nga maabot naton ro presente nga estado it atong Akean. Dungan kitang nagplano, dungan kitang nag-implementar, dungan kitang nag-agi sa kalisud it kakueangan it pundo ag suporta, ag dungan man kita nga nakabangon ag naging madinaeag-on.
Indeed, the provincial government’s desire to stay true to its mandate in broadening its own sources of revenue did not go unnoticed by the department of finance and has earned national respect.
We started 2014 with good news, one million three hundred sixty three thousnad six hundred eleven tourist arrival for 2013.
That 13.33 percent increase was achieved despite super typhoon Yolanda. Such positive indicator was enough reason for all of us in government and our tourism stakeholders to no longer dwell on our sad state but focus on our goals for the future.
Ngani kita tanan, nagdiretso sa pagtrabaho agud madali naton maabot rong kumpleto nga pagbangon.
We targeted 1.5 million tourist arrivals for 2014 and reached one million four hundred seventy two thousand, three hundred fifty two.
Our take on this statistic is not that we fell short of target but instead, that we triumphed despite man-made or natural adversities. An increase of over a hundred thousand, despite the september 2014 Chinese travel ban and numerous typhoon-related cancellations is enough reason for our province to be happy.
Sa gihapon, rong atong bugna nga isla, hay ha-enganyo rong mga bag-o, ag hapabalik rong mga dati nga turista halin sa ibang nasyon nga ginapangunahan it mga Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, Americans ag Malaysians.
Translated into tourism receipts, visitor arrivals in 2014 as per Department of Tourism Region 6, was anle to generate a total of forty billion seven hundred five million thirteen thousand five hundred forty seven pesos.
We generated from the Caticlan port of the Philippine Ports Authority, environmental fee share, Cagban and Caticlan Jetty Ports, and Roro Terminal fee a total of two hundred ninety three million six hundred eighty seven thousand eighty four pesos and sixty six centavos. Not bad Akeanons, not bad at all. This significant tourism feat, we owe to all our tourism stakeholders from both government and private sector.
May I commend our provincial and municipal tourism operations officers and staff for a coordinated effort in year-round tourism promotions; our Caticlan and Cagban Jetty Ports and passenger terminal officials and staff for taking the extra steps in giving our valued tourists their much deserved travel convinience; our local government units chief executives, for initiating tourism-related activities and for investing towards its advancement in their respective municipalities; and our private tourism stakeholders, our resort and hotel owners, tour operators, transport operators, and other tourism business groups for ensuring that our clients have the best experience despite the past year’s natural circumstances.
Thank you everyone, for handling this delicate industry with care.
But with this shared achievement, it brings about again another shared challenge, the challenge of maintaining our lead as the country’s premier tourism destination.
Our Boracay island is now Asia’s new cruise haven as we received nine cruise ship visits last year. Of the figure, four are maiden visits from the world’s most luxurious cruise ship companies, Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica of Costa Crociere, MS Europa 2 of Hapag Lloyd and MS the world. For 2014, the cruise visits brought a total nine thousand nine hundred seventy tourists and five thousand nine hundred fifty crew members to shores of Boracay. (to be continued next issue) /MP