Abundo lays out priority programs as acting gov
posted 12-Jul-2019  ·  
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Faced with the uncertainty that her present stint could end at any time in the near future, Acting Governor Shirley Abundo last week announced to the public her intention to focus on programs that could be accomplished in a short time, particularly on the delivery of health services to the people.

In her address during the inaugural session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Abundo sought the full support of the provincial board members headed by Acting Vice Governor Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr. in looking deeper into the ordinance that created the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) economic enterprise, including possible amendments.

“if we need to change policies, then let’s discuss things,” she stressed, adding that resolving the EBMC issue would be most satisfying for her.

She likewise urged the provincial board to consider allocating additional funds for social services and streamlining the approval and release of medical assistance to the needy.

Abundo disclosed that between 20 to 30 constituents go to her office every day to seek financial help for hospitalization, payment of laboratory procedures and even for chemotherapy treatments that cost as much as P30,000.

“The provincial government can only give this much,” she said. “Where will we get the funds for these?”

She pointed out the need for faster transactions with regards to medical financial assistance, as the patient is often already dead by the time the money is released.

“We will continue what Governor Boboy Cua has started, so my priority will be the health sector,” the acting governor stated.

On education, she suggested that aside from the scholarship program for would-be professionals, the provincial government should consider providing financial assistance for poor college students who, despite the free tuition they enjoy, still needs help for their boarding expense, books and daily allowance.

Abundo also called on the SP Committee on Sports Development to convene together with the Department of Education in finally implementing the ordinance on sports development, particularly the year-round training of athletes.

“We should not expect them to get medals during the regional athletic meet if the local government units are not providing them enough support,” she stressed.

On the other hand, the reelected vice governor directed the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) to add to their on-going programs the planting of trees and vegetables at the sprawling vacant area at the back of the capitol that she had ordered cleaned recently.

Expressing her disappointment that the national government has not acted favorably on the SP’s complaint regarding the plight of ferry passengers at Tabaco port, Abundo asked the 11 municipal councils to each pass similar resolutions expressing their sentiments on the treatment of sea commuters bound for Catanduanes.

She bared that Congressman Hector Sanchez is planning to go directly to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to remedy the situation soonest.

Recalling her own inconvenient experience at the port, the acting governor said that the PPA has not provided separate ticketing booths for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women or those accompanying children.

On tourism development, Abundo expressed hope that the Committee on Tourism would work hand-in-hand with the Provincial Tourism Office in further elevating the status of Catanduanes as a destination.

In what could be a departure from the usual agenda, she said it is high time that the provincial government spend more for the people to improve their lives and provide livelihood for farmers and fisher folk.

“Lagi na lang infra,” she lamented, suggesting that the needed projects be requested from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) instead of allocating the bulk of the provincial budget for infrastructure.
“Simpleng pangarap kong makitang umangat ang mga constituents natin,” the acting governor said.

On peace and order, she asked the budget office to ensure that every program and project in the 2019-2022 Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) Plan would be funded so it could really help.

She likewise sought the help of the department heads, emphasizing that they do not need to pledge their loyalty so they can work together with her as employees of the province.

“Don’t allow walls to rise between us,” Abundo also appealed to her colleagues in the board. “Please be kind to me and I will help in your advocacies.”

“I will try to do the best I can,” she vowed, barely stifling sobs as she recalled that her late father told her of his dream that she would be governor someday.

She said earlier that her becoming acting governor was farthest from her mind.

“Sana hindi na lang ako,” Abundo shared, adding that if it had been possible to pass the responsibility to anyone else, she would have done so.

In response. Acting Vice Governor Templonuevo and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan expressed their solidarity and support for the executive agenda of the acting governor.

The topnotcher in the East district enjoined fellow government officials to work together in laying down programs and in focusing on the delivery of honest and unselfish service to the people.

Hoping for the board’s unity for earnest and objective leadership, he said the SP will be an open and enlightened body.

Templonuevo particularly called for transparency in governance as a way to enforce accountability and the rule of law. He lauded the acting governor’s health program, social concern and support for agriculture as the backbone of the country’s economy.

Also expressing their unqualified support for Abundo were PBM Rafael Zuniega, PBM Giovanni Balmadrid, PBM Natalio Popa Jr., PBM Santos Zafe, PBM Arnel Turado, PBM Robert Fernandez, PBM Edwin Tanael, and ex-officio members Camille Quz, Carlo Magno Guerrero I, and Alan del Valle.

Among the audience were Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr., Bato Mayor Juan Rodulfo, Panganiban Mayor Cesar Robles, Pandan Mayor Honesto Tabligan, Caramoran Mayor Glenda Aguilar, San Miguel Mayor Francisco Camano Jr., Virac Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla, Bagamanoc Vice Mayor Odilon Pascua, Bato Vice Mayor Roy Regalado, Gigmoto Vice Mayor Jose Joson, San Miguel Vice Mayor Angelita Taule, and Panganiban Vice Remelito Cabrera, as well as several municipal councilors from the 11 towns.

In a special session held the next day, the provincial board confirmed the chairmanships of the following committees:

AGRICULTURE: Chairman, PBM Lorenzo Templonuevo, Jr., and Vice Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado.

APPROPRIATIONS, FINANCE AND BUDGET: Chairman, PBM Giovanni Balmadrid, and Vice Chairman, PBM Rafael Zuniega.

BARANGAY AFFAIRS: Chairman, Carlomagno Guerrero I, and Vice Chairman, PBM Alan del Valle.

COOPERATIVE AND LIVELIHOOD: Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado, and Vice Chairman, PBM Natalio Popa, Jr.

EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez, and Vice Chairman, PBM Edwin Tanael.

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS: Chairman, PBM Alan del Valle, and Vice Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND PEACE AND ORDER: Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez, and Vice Chairman, PBM Lorenzo TemploNuevo, Jr.

ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES: Chairman, PBM Giovanni Balmadrid, and Vice Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez

HEALTH: Chairman, PBM Santos Zafe, and Vice Chairman, PBM Rafael Zuniega.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado, and Vice Chairman PBM Giovanni Balmadrid.

JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Chairman, PBM Alan del Valle, and Vice Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado

RULES, ETHICS AND PRIVILEGES: Chairman, PBM Natalio Popa, Jr.; and, Vice Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado.

TOURISM: Chairman, PBM Edwin Tanael, and Vice Chair, PBM Camille Qua.

TRADE, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY: Chairman, PBM Lorenzo Templonuevo, Jr., and Vice Chairman, PBM Giovanni Balmadrid

WAYS AND MEANS: Chairman, PBM Rafael Zuniega, and, Vice Chairman, PBM Giovanni Balmadrid.

TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS: Chairman, PBM Arnel Turado, and Vice Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez

WOMEN, FAMILY, DISABLED AND ELDERLY: Chairman, PBM Rafael Zuniega, and Vice Chairman, PBM Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr.

YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT: Chairman, PBM Camille Qua, and Vice Chairman, PBM Robert Fernandez.

ENERGY: Chairman, PBM Edwin Tanael, and Vice Chairman, PBM Natalio Popa, Jr.

PUBLIC INFORMATION: Chairman, PBM Santos Zafe, and Vice Chairman PBM Alan del Valle.


Vice Chairman, PBM Edwin Tanael.

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