Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AKLAN IN 2015*

    *AKLAN IN 2015 is the State of the Province Address of Aklan Provincial Governor Florencio T. Miraflores during the Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan held on February 3, 2016 at the SP Session Hall, Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan. (First of 5 parts)

    I stood before you almost a year ago and began the State of the Province Address emphasizing the statement that what we have achieved as a province was a result of a PARTICIPATORY, UNITED AND SHARED LEADERSHIP.
Today, I will report again the obvious, that Aklan has, and is geared to achieve so much more because Aklanons stood firm in embracing this concept and formula for governance.
     2015 was not a walk in the park.
    Just like any other day in a public servant’s office, challenges abound.
    From the delivery of frontline services to the enormous task of coping with the rapid appreciation of Aklan’s natural bounties, “good problems” tend to manifest every now and then.
     But we: did not stop caring.
  Never at any given time, even during those times when we felt that it was very convenient.
   We all know very well that there will always be that difficult crossroad.
    We acknowledged it, faced it, and overcame it, together.
     Let me give my first pat in the back to our distinguished members of the august body led by the very dynamic presiding officer Vice Governor Quimpo.
  The people of Aklan know how you have made the administration of this province a lot easier by consistently extending your hands of cooperation without sacrificing your independence.
     You did not cease to join me in caring for the best interest of Aklan no matter how colorful your individual personalities are.
       How can Aklanons fail to take notice of the admirable work of our Sangguniang Panlalawigan when every session is much anticipated by media and is covered live in cable television?
    At the end of the day, as a team we have maintained public trust in public service through good governance.
  Thank you for being an outstanding collegial body by passing: 1) 351 Resolutions, 2) 4 General Ordinances, 3) 9 Special Ordinances, and 4) 5 Appropriation Ordinances. 
 Worthy to note is that your legislative accomplishments for the past year especially the timely passage and unanimous approval of the 2016 annual budget of almost 1.6 billion last December 16, 2015 displays that your resolve as the law makers of our local government did not wave even some of you are on their last term or is seeking other posts.
      Barely three (3) months ago, the province of Aklan won the 2015 Seal of Good Local Governance awarded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. 
    This award affords us access to the performance challenge fund in the amount of seven (7) million pesos.
    The seal also allows us to secure the Certification for Good Financial Housekeeping, which is an essential document for loan purposes, and provides opportunities to avail of other national programs.
     I consider it a mortal sin if we in the provincial government deprive our constituency the enjoyment of these national development programs just because we have slackened from our sworn duties. 
   Our 2014 SGLG incentive was used to fund the improvement of the Banga -Libacao road (Polo-Badiagan section).
     The 2015 incentive will be used for the improvement of the Tangalan Tourism Highway covering Poblacion, Afga, Dumatad, and Jawili.
       This recognition which we have consistently received under my administration for our excellence in the fields of good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness, social protection, business friendliness and competitiveness and peace and order refutes all the negativity spread by some in social media, the malicious whispers they try to propagate in every nook or cranny.
        It’s pitiful and unhealthy for those concerned but facts will always be facts.
     Allow me to discuss our factual SGLG story further.
     It’s a fact that our finance team displayed excellent performance in handling our financial transactions.
    The Provincial Accounting Office reported that we received an unqualified opinion in our 2014 Financial Reports from the Commission on Audit as indicated in their annual audit report.
       Technically, this means that financial records and statements are fairly and appropriately presented in all material respects, and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
    In simple words, this means a “clean opinion” and “the best opinion any agency can get” from COA.
     This only echoes that we in the provincial government care enough to see to it that taxpayer’s money is properly used.
     We have also maintained our compliance with the full disclosure policy.
     It’s also a fact that we brought our disaster preparedness efforts to a higher level.
     On top of an intensified, year-round and province wide conduct of disaster risk reduction, earthquake, first aid, basic search and rescue and flood trainings by our Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, we inaugurated last July 2015 the new PDRRM office.
     Already in place is our 24/7 Emergency Operation Centre with trained personnel complement and strategically housed in the Mezzanine of our new Aklan Trade Hall Building.
     In recognition of the need to keep improving and refining techniques to adapt to worst-case disaster scenarios, we have sustained the conduct of the provincial rescuelympics.
    Add to this the procurement of two brand new emergency response vehicles.
    Another fact is that our social protection system is in place.
    To complement the existing Comprehensive Centre for Women and the Persons With Disability Centre, our 9.7 million Aklan Youth Centre in Brgy. Nalook, Kalibo was inaugurated last April 24, 2015 complete with round-the-clock social workers.
    Worthy to mention is the fact that our Aklan Youth Center is the first in Western Visayas to be operated and fully funded by a local government unit.
    Sentibo kita sa mga krisis nga gina-agyan eabi git it atong mga kababayen-an, PWDs, ag mga inunga.
    Ngani bagay eamang nga magtuhaw sa andang isip, nga kita sa probinsiya paagi sa atong mga social workers hay haum nga mag-protektar kanda.
    We value the importance of our business industry.
    It is a fact that in Aklan, we have made good governance reforms that promote trade and investments.
    The province of Aklan was adjudged by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCC) as one of the national finalists of the 2015 most business-friendly local government unit award provincial level.
    It is not surprising if we receive plaudits like this because true enough, in Aklan, investors need not worry of a chaotic political climate, and the more important peace and order climate. 
   Again, another fact is that our full support to our anti-criminality activities paid off.
    Since the 2011 declaration that Aklan is an insurgency free province, we have maintained such status.
    There have been no reports of any incident as our Provincial Peace and Order Council and the Aklan Police Provincial Office who is now tasked with internal peace and security efforts never falter to stay vigilant.
    The Aklan Police Provincial Office reported that for 2015, all the 17 municipalities registered a decrease in crime volume. 
    Imaw ngani nga kung may una nga investor nga mag-bisita sa atong opisina, oewas sa natural nga bugna nga maga-tao kanda it oportunidad sa negosyo, akon pirme ginapaabot rong kahilway ag katawhay it atong probinsya. (To be continued next issue) /MP

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