FULL TRANSCRIPT: Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes' State of the Province Address 2014

South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes delivered her first State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday, August 11, 2014 at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center in the City of Koronadal.

Read the full transcript below.

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes' State of the Province Address 2014

"The Honorable Presiding Officer, Vice Governor Cecile E. Diel; the Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan;

Our distinguished guests this morning: Congressman Ferdinand Hernandez and Congressman Pedro Acharon, Jr.;

Department Heads and the entire Personnel of the Provincial Government;

Our City and Municipal Mayors, Vice Mayors, Councilors, Barangay Captains and their Council Members, and all other Public Officials;

The Heads of National Line Agencies: our Regional Directors and Provincial Directors; Members of the Judiciary;

His grace - Bishop Dinualdo Guttierez, D.D. of the Diocese of Marbel and other Members of the Clergy, and Other Religious Leaders;

Friends from the Academe, and our Young Leaders and enthusiastic Students at the gallery;

Our active partners from the Civil Society and the Private Sector: the NGOs, People’s Organizations, Cooperatives, and the Business Sector;

Our Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police; our Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Brothers and Sisters, Friends from the Media, and to all the People of South Cotabato – Maayong Adlaw! A pleasant morning to you all!"


"On May 10, 2013, by merely a popular vote in a very tight race, our people had given me a mandate to serve my fourth term as the Governor of South Cotabato. When I assumed office, only P62 Million cash saving was left for appropriation for the remaining year. Almost 95% of infrastructure projects had been bid out, fully implemented, and almost 90% paid out. On the other hand, soft- programmed funds and budget for maintenance, operation and personnel salaries and benefits were still intact. But such is the way of administrators. You prioritize projects and lumpsum appropriations in your desire to show to your people your performance before election day.

The incoming administration must be able to deal with these realities and overcome them because these cannot be made as an excuse for non-performance and paralysis.

The Inventory and Audit Committee report revealed systemic and institutional problems of such magnitude that necessitated immediate reforms while we endeavor to deliver basic services for our people. Unfortunately, we wasted a lot of funds for projects that cannot be accounted for, or too substandard that a major rain flushed them to the sea. We salvaged others, sayang naman. Kaya sa gusto man natin at sa hindi, may mga kaso talaga na unti-unting umaakyat. We spent the first six (6) months trying to correct institutional weaknesses, unfortunately, kapag tao na ang problema mas mahirap ang pagbabago.

This administration’s vision must be clear. The ways well defined. The priorities well set. For these, we need a workforce that’s efficient and skilled. Our partners fully engaged and inspired. At higit sa lahat, alam at naiintindihan ng ating taumbayan ang ating pananaw at direksyon at naniniwala sila na ang lahat ng ating ginagawa ay para sa kabutihan ng nakararami lalo ng mga mahihirap, mahihina, at mga walang boses sa lipunan."


"Let us begin with our efforts on accountable governance and effective administration.

If your house is in disarray, you cannot put the province in order. If your fellow public servants do not know your intentions nor share them, they cannot help and support you. If your workforce are unskilled, unfocused, and unsystematic, papaano ka susulong? Sa katatapos na eleksyon, walang pulitiko na hindi nagreklamo. Kaya intentional na nagfocus tayo sa governance. First, to understand the lessons of the political exercise, and second, to situate ourselves with the new realities.

We have completed the formulation of the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan that would be our roadmap until 2019. We have the Annual Investment Plan to guide us every year. The Provincial Land Use Committee has completed the review of the Comprehensive Land Use Plans and Zoning Ordinances of Koronadal City and Polomolok, while review is on-going for Tantangan. Tupi has already submitted their plans for review. All eleven (11) LGUs must complete theirs within 2014. We have finished our hazard maps, our contingency plans, and drafted our Executive-Legislative Agenda. We are organizing our tourism circuits and submissions. At dahil lahat ng probinsya sa Region 12 ay kumuha ng mga professional na tourism consultants, pumayag tayo na kumuha rin para sa anim (6) pang mga munisipyo. The Roadmap for the Protection of our Women and Children has been drafted. We only need to pass the new Children’s Code. Halos lahat ng gabay para makamit natin ang ating adhikain ay tapos na. Walang dahilan na mawawala pa tayo sa tamang direksyon.

We have institutionalized our Kabugwason-Scholarship Committee by starting with the creation of the Office of the Executive Director and slowly doing away with “details only” practice. 

We fully staffed our Inspectorate Division because it is important to ensure that there is a unit answerable only to the Office of the Governor that ensures that before payment is made, standards, volumes and quality are properly validated. The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat was institutionalized and extra care in the selection of its personnel was made. So far, they have performed to the standards expected of them. The challenge for a faster process of bidding and implementation must be addressed taking into account the bureaucratic roadblocks (na parang kada-buwan dinadagdagan).

We have increased the personnel, equipment, and facility complement of the Integrated Provincial Health Office and the Norala District Hospital in response to their growing clients and have provided funds for the activation of the Upper Valley Community Hospital (UVCH). We now completed the accounting for their total income and we are confident all are properly entered in the books. The opening of the UVCH was delayed due to the non-completion of its electrical and water cabling connections and the need to infuse additional funding of more or less P25 Million.

The Rehabilitation and Detention Center received additional funding for food allowances, personnel, facilities and vehicles. We hope this will stop the entry of illegal drugs and other prohibited materials, ensure human rights standard in the treatment of detainees, and secure the safety of our employees.

The Provincial Engineering Office, the most measurable and tangible arm of the government, unfortunately, is also the most challenged unit. Mula Morales time hanggang ngayon, we failed to unite the factions that hinder the efficient delivery of infrastructure and maintenance services. Sana sa administrasyon na ito, hindi man natin “type” ang isa’t isa, sa trabaho pwede tayong magsama. We need to update skills due to technological advances. The non-availability of electronic-savvy repairmen causes intolerable delays in our Motorpool Division, despite our grant of authority to maintain additional petty cash for emergency purchases.

We hired young engineers and architects, funded additional maintenance complement, and bought heavy equipment, service vehicles, and other equipment. We have trained and exposed them to new technologies. We micro-managed them in what we hope a transition phase towards a more efficient and unified department. This office has about 200 big and small projects annually. The workforce needs to ensure that these are implemented on-time and that quality standards are fully complied. In recognition of the complexity of their work, they are the only office allowed to claim overtime pay regularly. As I speak, around ten (10) projects na lang ang ginagawa pa ang plano. Importante na matapos ang mga ito, dahil magsisimula na naman tayo ng para sa susunod na taon.

We are filling up vacancies to give others a chance for promotion as we once again revitalized the Hiring and Promotion Board. We institutionalized the Barangay Affairs Unit by elevating their Chief of Office into a co-terminus division level, and through a series of organizational clinicquing, we defined the unit's mission and vision, its functions, programs and activities. The personnel are men and women who were used to serving our people unhindered by bureaucratic red tape. They have to learn to overcome them or fail in their mission. 

I am glad that after a rough start, today, they have penetrated far-flung sitios, slept with the poorest and forgotten communities, linked and dialogued with our sitio and barangay leaders. Their report showed that they have been faithful to our pact to ensure that our barangay interventions are documented clearly, that projects and programs are verifiable, and that beneficiaries are identifiable. Pinatotohanan nila na paunti-unti, walang pinakamataas na bundok, malayong komunidad, tagong mga lawa na di maaabot ng serbisyo ng gobyerno.

The quest for excellence in public service never stops. Marami pang dapat ayusin. We have to create or review policies and systems so that the effectiveness of an office does not only depend on one person or a handful of persons, and that transactions are transparent, and knowledge and skills are shared. May mga instances na naging personal ang patakbo ng ating mga opisina. Kalaban yan ng matinong pamamalakad. Our newly developed Strategic Performance and Management System (SPMS) hopefully will help address these gaps in personnel evaluation; while the revised PRAISE will encourage them through awards and recognition. Iniuutos natin ngayon na mailakip ang confidential evaluation ng direct supervisor ng empleyado sa Promotion Board para kumpleto ang assessment ng mga ito. Hindi naman sa Master’s Degree o Doctoral Degree lang nasusukat ang kalidad ng performance.

We reorganized the Fact Finding Committee (FFC) and the Administrative Investigation Committee (AIC). They are now chaired by lawyers. Their loads are heavy which may necessitate additional personnel complement to be included in the 2015 budget proposal.

To ensure that the personnel are healthy, we strengthened our campaign for a healthier lifestyle by sponsoring group physical activities, holding lectures on proper nutrition and launching the Capitol Biggest Loser Program. We will recommend to revive the exposure trips to our various programs to give the lower rank employees a wider perspective of their role in the inter-dynamics of governance.

Let us now proceed to our Sectoral Programs."

On Crisis Intervention Program, PhilHealth Program and Barangay Outreach and Assistance Program

"In all my 24 years in public service, ngayon pa lang ako naka-experience na walang pumipila sa bahay o sa opisina para humingi ng tulong. Noon, alas singko pa lang ng umaga, nagluluto na kami hanggang alas diyes (10p.m.) ng gabi.

Ang opisina ng Gobernador bukas araw-araw, ma-Sabado o ma-Linggo o ma-Holiday. Ang mga staff natin on-call sa kanilang mga cellphone lalo na si Yvon. 24/7. Ang tingin ko ito ay dahil sa programa natin sa ating mga hospitals ng “no balance billing” for sponsored PhilHealth members (2,031 individuals or P7 million worth); point-of-care program (emergency PhilHealth) sa pobreng naoospital na binibigyan natin ng PhilHealth coverage at tayo ang nagbabayad ng premium nya na P2,400 annually; o kung di sapat yun, kahit siya ay nasa pribadong ospital, funeral parlor, o pharmacy, may tulong pa rin tayo through Memorandum of Agreements (7,823 beneficiaries), o bigas (260 bereaved families), o financial assistance sa mga sari-saring krisis sa buhay (227 individuals), Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) (1,435 families), transportation assistance (41 individuals), pati na libreng kabaong na ngayon pinapagawa natin sa Provincial Jail para makatipid tayo habang nakakatulong, at iniuutos ko na ihatid sa mga MSWDO ng mga munisipyo na maraming humihingi nito upang mas mapalapit sa mga nangangailangan. Sina Representative Hernandez at Representative Acharon ay nagrekomenda sa Department of Health na maglaan ng pondo para sa dagdag na tulong sa ating mga indigent patients. Kung masasalin ang pondong yon, malaking tulong ito para sa atin.

It is important that we institutionalize the giving of assistance. Mabigat din po sa amin na mga inihalal ninyo na sagutin ang mga pangangailangan ng lahat, gustuhin man namin. Swelduhan lang po kami at tulad ninyo hindi naman mayayaman. Gusto lang talagang maglingkod. While it is an effective tool for politics, ang “patronage” ay kalaban ng malayang pagboto.

In times of calamity, we, too, make ourselves counted. We gave Zamboanga City P1 Million when it was devastated by the MNLF siege. We sent 15 truckloads of goods worth P5 Million in addition to donations from concerned citizens of South Cotabato to Antique, when the rest of the world forgot that they too were devastated even if there was no casualty.

We did not sit and wait in our offices. We went out and served 22 barangays through our medical, dental, and other services through our Outreach Programs and Assistance, where we served: 4,341 for medical services; circumcision-1,048; dental-1,282; baid–650; haircut-1,240; umbrella and shoe repair – 448; reflexology – 117; and dispersed 49 heads of horses, 46 herds of carabaos, 95 heads of cattle, and various planting materials of fruit trees. We assisted 54 barangays in the repair of their barangay and sitio roads (where we provided 39,065 liters for fuel assistance); 17 barangays were installed with 116 jetmatic pumps; 52 barangays and 7 schools were provided with 2,347 bags of cement; 140 barangay schools with 6,075 units of monoblocs and armchairs; 83 schools and barangays with 308 computer sets; 67 barangay schools with 659 computer tables; 39 barangay schools with 400 gallons of enamel and latex paints; 25 barangays with 670 G.I. sheets; and 18 barangays with 430 reinforcing steel bars. We have organized Core Groups in 30 sitios in 8 municipalities and the entry phase was completed. The economic intervention phase has now commenced. These are “pitsi-pitsi” but they directly touched our peoples’ lives and reminded them that they are not forgotten. All our barangays can expect more assistance because many have been awarded or being bid for procurement. All, walang pili. Lahat! Let me acknowledge the active support of dental and “tuli” team of the Philippine Army. Of course, the Barangay Affairs Unit, the IPHO, and the PSWDO family.

We intentionally delayed the release of loans to 97 SEA-K Associations (from 45 associations in 2012) to weed-out non-paying organizations and to account for missing repayments as advised by COA. With the investigation now in the able hands of the Fact Finding Committee, we have given the imprimatur to prioritize re-lending to organizations with track record and to double their initial loan amounts to ensure that their earnings meet the economies of scale."

On Women, Youth and Children

We are very grateful for the active participation and assistance of Save the Children International and World Vision for without them we could not have set up our policies and programs efficiently. To address the Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC), we organized our Male Advocates for Violence-Free Families (MA VFF) under the Denounce Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC)-Advocate in Defense for a Violence-Free Family (DAD-VFF) Movement. PIACAT-VAWC was also reorganized and its programs crafted.

For our Youth, we do not only have “Kid Listo” as a leadership training against the use of illegal drugs, but we launched last April the first provincial government sponsored Summer Youth Camp (500 youth leaders) bringing all sectors which have passion in the nurturing of our youth into a principled human being. It was a cathartic experience and an investment in which the effect will outlive our generation.

Our SYDP unit does not only sponsor sports events or send delegations; the office is now clustering barangays bringing together basketball enthusiasts (50 each cluster) as their entry point not only for skills training but likewise for character development and the formation at an early age of a sense of pride for the South Cotabateños identity. They are targeting 50 barangays in Phase I. Our tribal youth and women, too, are organized to complement our Tribal Chieftains Organizations. Unfortunately, despite the many years in existence, wala pa pong output na maipakita na nadala nila ang boses ng mga katutubo. Ito ang hamon natin sa kanila.

Programs for our children are conducted regularly – from DARE training, to feeding, to vaccination, and to proper nutrition through our “Gulayan Program” in schools, barangays and households. Ito ang lalagyan natin ng pondo next year. Partner natin dito ang DepEd at Bethesda International. Hindi kasi pwedeng hanggang feeding lang tayo. Panandalian lang ang epekto nito. Dapat sa bahay pa lang, pinapraktis na ang proper sanitation at nutrition. Ito ang pinaka epektibo na public health program. At ito ang ipa-pilot natin sa BAU at Convergence Sitios next year.

I am excited that we have crafted through the help of the Save the Children International the amended Children Code of South Cotabato and our Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) was voted the Most Functional Child Protection and Welfare Structure in Region XII. Ang World Vision ay kasama rin natin.

Our Juvenile Justice Welfare Network has brought together Pillars of the Justice System. We hope we can realize next year the establishment of the “Balay Paglaum” to address the growing menace of juvenile delinquency. Let us not take away the enthusiasm of our dedicated partners. These documents and plans should not remain in paper only!

Without much “brohaha”, we are breaking down walls of cultural taboos. The crafting of a 9-point and 12-point Declaration of Policy on Child Protection by our Provincial Tribal Council and the Federation of Muslim Leaders is a breakthrough. Let us follow this through with concrete programs. The Expanded Finance Committee must finish the review of the funding requirement so that the same can be endorsed to your Honors before October 15.

Three hundred forty-three (343) visually and hearing impaired individuals were given assistance through hearing aids, collapsible white canes, equipment for massage and orientation seminars with the help of Starkey Hearing Foundation and Resources of the Blind, Inc. (RBI). One hundred seventy (170) families of our senior citizens were extended burial assistance. Dito tayo kulang sa programa. Bago matapos ang taon, PSWDO must finish their proposals along these priorities.

On Health

The Health Sector received the biggest funding for PS and MOOE with P235, 470,379.25. We allowed them to use their income subject to auditing limitations. While we benefited from the implementation of the Universal PhilHealth Program, the Point-of-Care beneficiaries were fully subsidized (100%) and the adoption of “no-balance billing” strained our resources. The scheduled opening of the Allah Valley Hospital as soon as the cabling connections for electricity and water are finished, and the expansion of Norala Hospital into a Level I Hospital (lahat bumaba sa infirmary category) will further push us to be more creative. Our MOA arrangements with privately owned hospitals, including the Southern Mindanao Hospital in Davao City, ensured that our poor can still avail of better medical services. Dinagdagan natin ang mga doctors at iba pang personnel ng ating mga hospitals. Pati honorarium nga ng ating mga visiting doctors at consultants itinaas natin upang mahikayat ang mga espesyalista na mag serbisyo sa Provincial Hospital. Committed po kami na ibigay sa ating mga mamamayan ang pinakamagandang serbisyong medical. Nagpapasalamat ako sa ating Representatibo ng Second District, Cong. Hernandez at sa pag suporta ni Cong. Acharon dahil kapipirma lang natin ng kasunduan with the Department of Health na tulungan tayong maging Regional Facility ang Allah Valley Hospital at sinabi ni Secretary Ona na bibigyan din ng P75 Million to P100 Million and Provincial Hospital. Napakalaking bagay na napapunta ni Cong. Dinand si Sec. Ona at Senate President Drilon sa ating probinsya.

Sa Public Health, while we have been declared free of Filiariasis and now malapit nang maging malaria-free, we cannot let our guards down. We have served 100% of all 54 new cases of leprosy, and 86% of identified TB cases. We gave out 31,700 treated mosquito nets and purchased anti-rabies vaccines for 1,276 dog bite cases. We have no epidemic outbreak last year but we have to attend to reports of measles outbreaks in the Sitios of Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu.

We finished P21,595,138.11 worth of BHS and hospital constructions and expansions. We supplemented by funding yung mga kulang kulang. This year, we expect P108,023,900.00 more for implementation. Next year, dapat mapondohan na ang additional three (3) storey building ng Provincial Hospital. Sana di lalampas sa P200 Million kahit mangutang pa tayo dahil kitang-kita naman na hanggang labas na ang mga pasyente.

On Gender-responsive Population Development

While our Population Program sustained its Responsible Parenthood/Family Planning (RPFP) classes reaching 5,671 couples, the Learning Package on Parent Education Development (LPPED) served 2,154 clients. 2,637 couples were oriented through the Pre-Marriage Counseling (PMC). PMC revealed that 43% of the couples were already living together outside of marriage and 33% of them have children, these despite 191 sessions of Responsible Adolescence Campaign and Seminar (RAC-RAS) involving 3,594 in and out of school youth. The crafting of the Integrated Youth Development Agenda will expand the reach and effectiveness of the program especially if integrated with the Women Development and Tribal Development Agenda. It is our hope that our young people will marry and have children only when they are emotionally and financially ready to face the responsibilities of parenthood.

On Education

While we spent P25.5 million for Kabugwason-Paglaum Scholarship for 2013-2014, we only enrolled 371 students and extended assistance to 250 tertiary education students, 4,501 secondary students and 4,672 primary pupils. Our Summer SPES Program served 516 in 2013, and 1,268 this year. Despite our meager resources, we always endeavor to increase the number of our “poor but deserving” scholars by raising funds even outside of what our regular budget can provide. For example, through the charity event we held last T’nalak Festival. Kaya nga naisip natin na instead of the usual Governor’s Ball ginawa nating Charity Ball para madagdagan ang ating mga scholars. Namahalan ata ang marami sa ticket na P2,000. Ito po ang tipo ng programa na nais nating patuloy na tutukan at palawakin because while it empowers our human resources for poverty alleviation, it also directly provides relief, comfort and hope to many of our marginalized and underprivileged young people. Tulad na lang po ng ating Kabugwason Scholar na si Melanie Joy Orandoy. 

Because of our thrust for inclusive education, we spent P76.2 million in 2013 under the Special Education Fund to support DepEd programs and school equipment and facilities. With the depletion of the previous year savings, we only appropriated P42 million under the SEF for the 2014 Annual Budget.

We delayed the construction of 48 multi-purpose buildings and added funds to ensure that they are usable (7 million plus). Persistent monitoring ensured that the financial assistance for dental troughs was utilized for such purpose. We could not benchmark the assistance because no plan nor program of work was required to be submitted and the item was treated outright as expense. Sayang din naman, and we are glad because we are now fully convinced na nagagamit. Due to the moratorium on the hiring of teachers from the SEF, we only retained the services of the unabsorbed faculty. Our 1:38 teacher-to-pupil ratio province-wide for SY 2012-2013 cannot justify the continued local hiring. We have requested our DepEd Regional Director to seriously implement the rationalization of teacher deployment. We acknowledge the financial assistance given by the city and the ten (10) municipalities to indigent students. Let me commend the Municipality of Tupi for funding all public elementary and secondary students’ PTCA fees 100%! Sana tularan ng lahat.

We are proposing that the remaining P22 million Special Education Funds be spent for school facilities and equipment. Naghahanap po kami ng pondo para makapatayo ng classrooms kasi marami pa ring kulang. Pipilitin po natin na mapondohan ito sa 2015.


On Agriculture and Fishery

The Office of the Provincial Agriculture spends around P35.787 million annually for PS and MOOE. Yet, we only spend P17.480 million for direct infrastructure and counterpart funds. This must be addressed in the 2015 budget. Hindi maaaring facilitator na lang tayo ng national government projects. Dapat may sarili tayong programa para sa ating mga farmers. We rationalized the structure of the Provincial Agriculture Office to ensure that we only fund units that serve our people.

In 2013, despite the slight decrease in rice and corn production, we were still rice sufficient at 197% with Sto. Niño recording the highest yield in the region for hybrid rice.

From the national government, we received: two (2) units mini 4-wheel drive tractor, two (2) units combined harvesters, nine (9) units thresher and twenty-four (24) units multipurpose solar dryers. The province funded ten (10) units solar driers at P350, 000 each. We also received P13.6 million irrigation facilities, 173 sub-projects worth P775 million under MRDP, and P61.1 million worth of FMRs. This year, we are expecting 36 FMRs worth P703.2 million.

To complement the national government projects, we distributed 19,500 high value planting materials under the “Plant Now Pay Later” Program.

We just launched in Tantangan a 10-million Oil Palm Program. Sana like the Rubber Program in T’boli, it will succeed. Nahihilo tayo sa dami ng Technical and Technology Trainings at Exposure Trips, at bilang balik, dapat lalong maging masigasig tayo sa pag serbisyo sa mga magsasaka.

For inland fishing, we have a sustainable volume of 1,637 metric tons producing an average of 550 to 600 million fingerlings covering 103.5 hectares of hatcheries.

We were granted 1.330 million tilapia fingerlings from BFAR which we distributed to the municipalities. A total of 26 fishery technology seminars were conducted.

Wala tayong kulang sa swine, 100% sufficient po tayo. Sa poultry 984% sufficient. Kulang po tayo sa cattle, 56% sufficient lang. Therefore, we should focus on increasing sufficiency level in cattle and carabao.

Nakakahiya mang aminin, tayong mga nasa LGU, facilitator na lang ng DA. Para hindi masayang ang P30million budget natin, let’s put money in programs that will further fill the gaps of the national government programs. For a start, we funded P4 million this year for high-value crops dispersal. We also funded more or less P4 million in livestock dispersal and about P2 million in livestock improvement program.

Next year, let us add more funds para naman may sarili tayong programa na akma sa pangangailangan ng ating taumbayan. Iniutos ko rin ang close coordination with DA Regional Office. Mas marami pa po silang maitutulong sa atin. We are happy that a collaborative undertaking of the DENR, DA and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO) is highly considering our province, particularly the Municipality of Lake Sebu, for the project entitled “Rice Plus – Dynamic Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agro-biodiversity in Agro-ecosystems of the Philippines.” With financial grants for technical assistance to be provided by experts mostly from the UP Los Baños, the project aims to enhance and expand conservation practices to sustain agro-biodiversity in our farming systems.

On Facilitating Tourism and Investment

Total tourist arrival in 2013 was 236,636. From January to June of this year, we recorded 200,863. Our marketing and promotion efforts are bearing results. Our use of new technologies and social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.), attendance in Investment and Tourism Fora and participation in Good Governance Conferences contributed to the positive outlook for the province. 

The Galing Pook Foundation has just finished filming our AVLADA experience; LGSP-LED of Canada has good words for us in many forums. Recently, Senator Legarda, through the DTI, provided support in the establishment of a weaving facility for a women’s group in Lake Sebu. We were also chosen to be one of the nine (9) pilot areas in the country for Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s “Partnerships for Integrity and Job Creation – Local Governments and Civil Society Cooperate for Integrity and Transparent, Effective Small Business Registration and Promotion Procedures or Project I4J”. 

Last Saturday, proudly, we attended the premier of one of the “Cinemalaya” showcased films for 2014, “K’na: The Dreamweaver”, filmed fully in Lake Sebu. The interest to see our province that was generated right there in the CCP premier made us realize the great challenge before us to prepare not only Lake Sebu but the whole province for the influx of artistically and culturally inclined tourists. These kinds of tourists will demand better accommodations, better quality of service, and a more authentic cultural environment.

Are the individual LGU initiatives geared toward these directions? Or “patsi-patsi” tayong lahat? O kaya “gaya-gaya” lang ng ibang tourism areas?

We are glad that we now have a full-pledged Regional Director for the Department of Tourism (DOT) holding office here in Koronadal City. Her DTI background is arming her with the right understanding of our needs. The LGSP-LED program of AVLADA led to the K’na filming. This year’s T’nalak visitors, we hope, will open up exposure in upscale publicity.

DOT is now developing the Upper-Valley Cluster. The mayors of Polomolok, Tupi and Tantangan requested us to fund the establishment of their own Tourism Cluster. Faced with this enthusiasm, we must respond positively and fast. We are not the only province hiring technical experts for capacitation. In this race, we must define our own designs and create a tapestry that is uniquely South Cotabato. Why do we need to do it this year? Dapat next year, hindi lang tapos ang 7-Falls Circumferential Road, dapat operational na ang Lake Lahit Tourism Facility, dapat matapos natin ang development ng 7 Falls tulad ng Cable Cars, Canopy Walking, at Lakeshore Boulevard sa Main Lake, Small-scale Mining Tourism Leg ng T’boli, Fruit Park ng Tupi, at Biodiversity Corridor ng Tampakan-Tupi. Next year, ang ProTech Center ay magkakamukha na at operational daily. Naumpisahan na natin ngayon, dapat ipagpatuloy next year.

Let me commend our in-house website developers. When I pushed you last year, I never expected this result. Congratulations! But remember, the challenge must go to the next level!

On Investments

Conversely, capital growth from the total value of new capitalization amounted to an estimated P920, 095,862.00 from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which is higher than the previous year, while gross sales of renewed firms amounted to an estimated P30,078,727,695.86.

For 2013, a total of 1,988 new and 9,754 renewed businesses were recorded. This influx comes from a wide range of sectors, from hotels, resorts and tourism establishments, to land development such as subdivision development and leasing dwellings, to restaurants and to other recreational facilities.
Accordingly, employment rate in our province is at 97.1% with labor participation rate of 61.8% as of October 2013 based from NSO. This is a manifestation that investments from both the private and public sectors have provided opportunities for employment.

With the operation of the biggest Solar Power Plant in Surallah, which we fervently hope will happen this year, malaki ang impact nito sa ating local economy at sa problema sa ating kuryente.


Sa lupa galing ang buhay natin, kaya importante na pangalagaan natin ang kapaligiran. Otherwise, the next generation will pay for our negligence and abuse. In fact, we can feel the effect of generations of abuse.

On Urban Environmental Management and Pollution Control

Through our PEMO, we provided technical assistance to seven (7) LGUs in the review and updating of their respective 10-year Ecological Solid Waste Management (ISWM) Plans; assisted the eleven (11) LGUs in the enforcement and implementation of their respective plans through IEC, advocacy, and enforcement strategies. Continued trainings, orientations and seminars on Solid Waste Management benefited more than 1,500 participants.

We conducted the Basic Course for Pollution Control Officers for 22 LGU technical staff who will be designated as the LGUs’ Pollution Control Officers, and a short course on Low-Cost Designing for Waste Water Treatment Facilities attended by 20 LGU technical staff. 

We conducted water quality monitoring with priority public facilities, water sampling in major river systems and geo-tagging of 70 gold processors. We also inspected and assessed gold processing plants (such as Carbon- in-Pulp and ball mill processing) and acted on four (4) complaints against improper waste water disposal of industries causing repugnant foul odor. Unfortunately, the DENR-EMB disputed our findings and insisted on the exclusivity of their jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the people of Brgy. San Vicente and Brgy. Malaya, Banga suffer. Nananawagan ako, ang problema ay malawakan at kumplekado at many times hindi natin alam kung saan mag-uumpisa. Pride ba ang paiiralin natin, o magtulungan na lang? Di po ba yan ang tama at dapat?

We have funded P5 Million for the establishment of the Provincial Environment Management Center at Brgy. Tinongcop, Municipality of Tantangan that shall serve as a treatment facility for medical and hazardous wastes and a research and training center for new environmental management technologies. This would ensure the management of at least 484 kilograms of medical wastes daily generated in the entire province and the continuous development of new environmental management technologies to help protect and manage the environment and natural resources of the province.

Correspondingly, we conducted meetings with seven (7) hospital administrators regarding the proposed Hospital Wastes Treatment Facility Project and conducted coordination for data gathering in eleven (11) LGUs and five (5) hospitals.

On Mining and Quarrying

We issued EO No. 2, Series of 2014, strengthening our efforts against illegal mining activities in the province which resulted to the demolition of structures of illegal hydraulic mining activities, seizures of various paraphernalia and the apprehension of four (4) persons. We also conducted monitoring on small scale mining and quarrying areas. As a result, we collected a total amount of P12.1 million for Gravel and Mining taxes.
We piloted the implementation of the communal quarrying system in Brgy. Topland, Koronadal City and Brgy. Buenavista, Surallah for us to properly supervise the quarrying activities and prevent the destruction of our rivers. This system ensures the judicious utilization of our quarrying resources and the protection of our riverbanks. With this new system, abandoned heavily damaged quarrying areas were rehabilitated and irrigation systems were protected.

We have also established a monitoring base (Army-CAFGU Detachment) at Sitio Campo Kilot, Brgy. Pula Bato, Tampakan to cease the illegal banlas mining (water jetting) activities at the said barangay.

To support the development of small scale mining industry and to regulate the operations of illegal mining and gold processing operations, we have implemented the Small Scale Mining ID system as a pre-requisite. 

Small scale miners were ordered to undergo mandatory registration and training on small scale mining safety, environmental management and disaster preparedness. This system has helped minimize child labor and reduced mining related accidents by at least 90%. In addition, 30 mining tunnels and 40 gold processing plants were issued closure orders for operating without permits. As a result, in just barely six (6) months, we have already collected almost 6 million in mining and quarrying taxes. The Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) works. I wish we can have this kind of coordination in other sectors too.

On Watersheds, Protected Areas and Wildlife

Through the Lake Sebu Rehabilitation, Conservation and Development Program (LSRCDP) and Soil and Water Conservation, we have started cleaning up Lake Sebu where at least 747 fish cages and illegal structures were dismantled and 1,200 tons of water hyacinth removed from the main lake. To complement these cleanup efforts, 29,595 planting materials of rubber, coffee, coconut, balabago, sweet guyabano, jackfruit, mangosteen and durian were delivered to communities situated near the lake as part of the soil and water conservation to control lake siltation. Activities such as series of FGDs, TWG and LRSCD meetings were conducted for project management. With this initiative, the implementation of Lake Sebu Zoning Ordinance for the use of lake waters was strengthened, and 40 residents were hired as laborers for the clean-up. One unexpected outcome was the tremendous increase in the revenue collection of the Municipal Government of Lake Sebu form permits and settlement of arrears. As a support mechanism in our projects, we have also initiated the drafting of the Fishery Code for Lake Sebu which will allow us to carry-out more effectively our goals.

With the institutionalization of the LSRCDP unit, propagation of 4,000 balabago / madre de cacao by the community growers started for lakeshore planting. Further, for the re-greening/re-vegetation of timberland, 40 hectares were developed as agro-forestry/diversified farms, in partnership with seven schools, mining corporations and NGOs, under its Community-based Upland Development and Natural Resource Management Program. To strengthen forest protection and law enforcement, a total of P15,417.98 were provided as rewards and incentives for informers and officers for apprehending 7,708.99 board feet of assorted log/lumber from Lake Sebu and T’boli.

The Association of South Cotabato Earth Savers (ASCES) composed of 204 members from six (6) LGUs was capacitated to ensure their effective engagement.

We funded the establishment of the Bamboo Hub that would serve as engineered bamboo production center at SUNAS, Municipality of Surallah. Once operational, the bamboo hub would be capable of manufacturing tiles, planks and other products that may be used for the construction of engineered bamboo products such as chairs, tables, panels and many others. This is one way of creating economic opportunities from environmental protection activities. As mandated, to protect and stabilize river/creek banks, a total of 27,700 bamboo hills were planted for the year under the Bamboo Development Program.

To firmly engage and institutionalize the program, we entered into a Memorandum of Agreement between the PLGU, MLGU, and BLGU, and the landowners/claimants along riparian areas in Brgy. Poblacion, Tupi.
We have started developing the Tupi and Tampakan Biodiversity Corridor Project. Four hundred sixty (460) markers were established in ten (10) barangays of the corridor that would help ensure the protection of 4,364 hectares of watershed and wildlife habitat by interlinking and interconnecting the fragmented forest habitat of flora and fauna towards the main habitat of Mt. Matutum. To sustain this effort, 240 participants from barangays under biodiversity corridor were trained on Biodiversity and Agro-ecological Zoning.


On Disaster Risk Reduction

After years of planning the province’s Contingency Plan, it is finally finished. It only needs the Sangguniang Panlalawigan adoption. Upon approval, this shall serve as the PDRRMC’s guide in time of disasters or incidents.

As part of the DRR-CCA advocacy and awareness campaign, a two-day orientation for the religious sector was conducted last November 2013 where 39 participants consisting of Social Action Coordinators from various parishes participated.

Our 2013-2014 projects reflected our desire to mitigate damages brought by flashfloods. Lined canals, bridges, box culverts, spur dikes, riverbank protections, and flood control devices along major water ways were identified and funded.

On disaster response, food and non-food assistance to the victims of different natural disaster incidents such as the nine (9) barangays of Tantangan was provided. We sent the “Bulig sa Panay Relief Mission” team who brought fifteen (15) truck loads of sacks and cartons containing food and non-food items worth P5.4 Million last November 21-27, 2013.

The province extended 186 sacks of rice assistance; P93,000.00 for thirty-one (31) vegetable stall owners of the Public Market of Banga whose stalls were razed by fire; P100,000 for thirteen (13) families who were displaced due to road widening of the provincial road at Sitio Stop, Brgy. Acmonan, Tupi. Five thousand pesos (P5,000) each was provided for two (2) families who lost their homes to a fire, and for another two (2) beneficiaries who were Typhoon Yolanda victims.

We procured one (1) Fully Hydraulic Excavator and one (1) service vehicle amounting to a total of P15,500,000.00 which would ensure effective response to disaster events. We are now procuring two (2) graders, one (1) roller, one (1) tractor, and one (1) boom truck.

Aside from the various projects and activities implemented and conducted, there are projects that are set to be implemented to further address other concerns of the disaster victims/communities, such as: construction of riverbank protection structures, box culverts, footbridges, and embankment protection structures; establishment of a Minahang Bayan Center; and subsidy to barangays/LGUs for the purchase of relocation sites.

We also provided fuel and equipment assistance to municipalities, barangays and sitios.

On Climate Change Adaptation

As mandated under the Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729) and RA 10174 to formulate, integrate and mainstream Climate Change Action Agenda on Local Development Plans, the Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) 2014-2016 was formulated and was endorsed to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) for approval last June 2014. The LCCAP will pave the way for the provincial government to access funds for its climate change adaptation projects from the national government under the One (1) Billion People’s Survival Fund a year as mandated under RA 10174).

We have now initiated our engagement with DBP for funding 90 plus hectares of our denuded upland areas in Malaya, Banga.


One of the main thrusts of this administration is to pursue the improvement, maintenance and rehabilitation of necessary infrastructure and utility services for its constituents.

For this reason, we spent P343 Million for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of 208 different infrastructure projects. A total of 143 projects with a total cost of P155.9 Million are buildings or vertical structures consisting of school buildings, multi-purpose buildings, gymnasiums, barangay halls and other government buildings. Roads and bridges comprised 24 projects and 42 were construction or repair of box culverts, bridges, drainage and lined canals, flood control, water system and multi-purpose pavements.
We have constructed, repaired and rehabilitated 19 school buildings that totaled to P28.4 million; for these, we have provided additional 47 classrooms to the different schools.

We have also facilitated the construction, repair, completion and expansion of 8 barangay halls that amounted to P6 Million; twelve (12) gymnasiums were constructed and repaired at the amount of P18 Million. The completion of 85 multi-purpose buildings were also accomplished with an additional funding amounting to P7.4 Million, as well as 18 government buildings like Barangay Health Stations, Sports Complex, Dietary Building and the like amounting to P22.4 Million.

We spent P73.6 Million for the expansion of our Finance Building with an additional P25 Million for the complete refurbishment of its 3rd story which will house our Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Office. We are continuing the full refurbishment of its 2nd and 1st floors.

In order to prevent damages to our roads, bridges and other facilities caused by floods, we implemented eleven 11 flood control projects and constructed 14 drainage canals with a total length of 2,566 linear meters. A total of P120.6 Million was allotted for these projects. The river bank protection along Poblacion-Kematu Road and Lugan Lined Canal is now on-going and is expected for completion early this quarter.
A total of P109.6 Million was used in the concreting and upgrading of our provincial roads.

Apart from these accomplishments, we are actively implementing special projects under the Food Security Program in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA). The concreting of Banga-Tupi Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) with a total cost of P19.5 Million was already completed. For this year, five (5) FMR Projects and four (4) Post Harvest Facilities with a total cost of P68 Million were approved by the DA, to include the following:

1. Concreting of San Felipe-Tinongkop FMR costing P20.5 Million;
2. Concreting of Libas-Maibo FMR costing P19.4 Million;
3. Concreting of Jct. National Highway-San Vicente-Sitio Ofong FMR costing P8 Million;
4. Concreting of Jct. National Highway Paraiso-Tinongkop FMR costing P11.4 Million;
5. Concreting of Lamsalome-Lambangan FMR costing Php 8 Million; and
6. 2 units corn shellers and 2 units corn mills for the municipalities of Banga and Tantangan costing P7 Million.

We have implemented six (6) bridge projects totaling to P10.9 Million. We spent P17 Million for the construction of five (5) box culverts.

To provide and reach more beneficiaries of potable water, we constructed and rehabilitated four (4) water system projects and installed 566 units jetmatic pumps in the different barangays and sitios costing P8.6 Million.

We also allotted P4.5 Million for multi-purpose pavements that can be used by farmers as driers for their agricultural products and for other purposes.

We continue to extend assistance to the barangays by lending them our equipment for the repair and maintenance of their barangay roads. We have expended from our Barangay Assistance Program P20 Million for the construction, repair, rehabilitation and upgrading of barangay infrastructures and facilities. We also extended financial assistance amounting to P3Million from our Rural Development Support Infrastructure Program for the repair of small infrastructures in the different barangays.

Mayor Matti of Polomolok informed me that one of her barangay captains stopped a construction in his area kasi pagtalikod ng ating mga engineers balik ulit sa sub-standard method ang ating contractor. Sana po lahat ng ating barangay officials, sitio leaders, o mga principals ganito ka “concerned” sa ating mga proyekto kasi ito ho pera natin at dapat may pakialam tayong lahat.


In my ten (10) years as Governor, this Sanggunian is the most active in legislative work and in engaging the executive department. I noticed that 3 to 4 days a week, there are committee hearings and in local events, your Honors are active. I have just signed into an Ordinance the Organic Agriculture Code and the Amended Investment Code of South Cotabato. These are two (2) major ordinances that pose great challenge in implementation but will also usher opportunities for development. Thank you.


"Our history taught us that no substantive development can happen without peace, and peace can only be achieved through transparent and accountable governance where justice means fairness and equity to all.

We also recognize that to have order, there must be laws and systems and the very people clothe with authority must lead in their faithful observance. This is why, everyday, we struggle to provide an environment where government and its implementing arms will be catalysts for peace rather than chaos and discontent.

We opened our arms to those who want to return to the folds of the law by assisting OPAPP in providing incentives to rebels through livelihood assistance and livestock dispersals on top of the P50,000 to P65,000 each given by the national government.

While our crime statistics climbed to 1,004.79/100,000 in 2013, comparatively higher than the 324/1000 in 2012, this is attributed to the reforms within the PNP on strict blotter entries including those in barangay blotters, kaya dapat maayos din ang baranggay blotter systems natin.

Our anti-illegal drug campaign has taken off. Our support and incentive programs are bearing fruit. Pushers are on the run and slowly families are opening up to authorities. We accomplished the following: conducted 208 operations netting 232 persons and 255 cases; and accosted 262.3 grams of shabu, 4,200 marijuana seedlings, 9,028 grams of dried marijuana leaves, seeds and stalks, 2 sticks of marijuana cigars with DDB value of P 4.47 million. We uprooted 7,517 fully grown marijuana plants.

Our crime data show that either the perpetrators are drunk or high on illegal drugs or those apprehended were found with firearms which are untraceable. A few are committed by organized groups.

While the Bangsamoro pact is holding, the CPP-NPA movements are aggressive. We are lucky because we have a bench that are pro-active. Our judges engaged us in dialogues and initiated reforms to facilitate speedy trial. Our prosecutors spared their precious time giving lectures to ensure non-dismissal of cases on technical grounds. This cooperation is not evident in all provinces. Let us not squander this goodwill among the Pillars of the Justice System. We urge for more pro-active community engagements. Hindi naman pupuwede na pulis lang at military ang gagalaw. Mas lalong mabigat dapat ang papel ng komunidad na hanapan ng solusyon ang mga problema at tensyon habang wala pang krimen na nagagawa. Kaya sa 2015, popondahan namin ang pagpa-pilot ng community engagements program, as phase 2 ng laban natin sa illegal drugs at krimen.

Sa mga armado sa kabundukan, tulungan ninyo kaming itama ang mali, maabot ang hindi naaabot ng aming serbisyo. Ang paghihikayat ninyo na mag-armas at mag-alsa ang mga tao sa kanayunan ay lalong nagpapalugmok ng ating mamamayan. Ito pong administrasyon ay nakikinig, tumatanggap ng kamalian, at handang sumubok sa makabago at iba’t ibang pamamaraan.

You can feel the vibrancy of the province’s economy. You can see the excitement of our citizens for the reforms, and the commitment of our government partners to advance new ways of doing things. And I say, we have reason to feel great about South Cotabato! The nation notices! Abot kamay na! But the challenge is, do we have the “It” to deliver and move forward?

Kaya ba nating maglaan ng pondo para masiguro na lahat ng ating kabataan ay nag-aaral? Maayos ang eskwelahan, kumpleto sa gamit, at magaling magturo at gumabay ang mga guro? Kaya ba nating maglaan ng pondo para makakain sila ng tama at hindi sakitin? 

Haharapin ba natin, mga nanay at tatay na sa atin nag-uumpisa ang pag hubog ng ating mga anak?

Kaya ba nating siguruhin na ang kita ng nakararami ay supisyente at lahat ng mga may kakayahan ay may trabaho?

We believe that agri-investments and cultural tourism are the primary engines of our growth. Lahat ba gagalaw at maglalagay ng pondo so that the basic foundations are put in place? Will our businessmen, big and small, invest to ensure that we are ready to service the incoming tourists and investors? O ang dating gawi? Dating pamamaraan, dating mga nakasanayan na?

Everyday, in newspapers, radio and television, even in Facebook and Twitter, scandals after scandals are tearing the very fabric of our nation into disarray. Let us pledge to ourselves that despite our partisan differences, our tribal diversity and our individual religious beliefs, we will build together, a better community in the Province of South Cotabato!

With the expected increase in our IRA and local revenues, our share from the national government through the active lobbying of our two (2) representatives to Congress and the help of our regional directors, 2015 will see the realization of many of our dreams … kung sama-sama... iba-iba man ang pamamaraan tungo sa isang direksyon... Kaya! Kayang-kaya!"
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