Inaugural and State of the Municipality Address of
Mayor Alex R. Jajalla
Delivered at the opening of the Regular Session of the 18th Municipal Council of Mahinog
5 July 2010
Thank you. Thank you very much. Vice Mayor Rogerio C. Acle, Members of the 18th Municipal Council, Barangay Officials, Heads of Office of local and national agencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I want to begin by thanking everyone, all our leaders and supporters and my family, who in one way or another helped all the administration candidates get elected to the municipal government of our town, Mahinog.
The people of Mahinog made history in the last elections. 81-83 percent of Mahinog voters voted for Gov. JJ Romualdo and Cong. Pedro Romualdo, and the entire administration candidates had won an overwhelming mandate in the last May 10, 2010 elections.
Based on the record, Mahinog garnered the highest percentage of voter turn out for the administration candidates among the five municipalities of Camiguin.
The unprecedented result for all the administration candidates in the last election is a testament of the people's satisfaction of what we have accomplished in the last 3 years.
Thank you so very, very much.
After a hard fought and successful campaign it's now time to get to work and, more importantly, work together to achieve what our constituents sent us here to do.
So I stand before you today to deliver a state of the municipality, to propose programs and policies and how we will continue to make this happen in the next 3 years.
In 2007, during my inaugural address, we charted a new course for our municipality that will enable us to be the kind of municipality where residents take pride in their hometown, and take good care for our own town.
For that we adopted the slogan, "Mahinog, our town, our pride, we care."
I outlined the direction and agenda we would be working on. So, in 2007, we set forth a four-point plan, which I acronym as the A.L.E.X. agenda:
Agriculture and Fishery Development;
Local government excellence;
Enabling people with livelihood opportunities, and;
Xpress delivery of basic services.
We have taken steps to keep that promise.
In the area of agriculture and fishery development
Through the municipal agriculture office, we implemented the animal artificial insemination program to upgrade our local breeds and increase production for our commercial and backyard pig farmers. This program is widely adapted by our pig farmers due to its economic benefits. A total of 669 pigs were inseminated resulting to the production of 3,690 quality pigs in 2009.
We also have our animal dispersal and re-dispersal program for carabao, cattle, goat and swine. So far, over 50 beneficiaries were served for this program.
To ensure animal health and raise productivity, our municipal agriculture office conducted its animal vaccination program twice a year or as need arises. Over 4,000 animals of various kinds have been vaccinated from the period 2007-2009.
For rice production, from 106 hectares of our land being planted with rice, we produced over 2,500 metric tons of rice from 2007-2009.
In 2008, 94 farmers covering 95.5 hectares availed of our Fertilizer and Seeds Subsidy Program.
Unfortunately, in 2009, the production had declined due to heavy rains which brought much damage to our rice areas.
For other crops, there was a time that corn production went up to 50 hectares but declined due to high costs of inputs forcing farmers to shift to cassava production which would only require less capital.
Along with agriculture is coastal resource management to ensure balanced and sustainable food security for our people.
We are blessed to receive P5 million grant in aid from the New Zealand Government to rehabilitate our marine resources and alleviate the living conditions of people in our coastal communities. This project is part of the Camiguin Coastal Resource Management Program that started in 2007 up to 2012.
Thank you New Zealand Government, the Provincial Government and National Government for this financial assistance.
Through this program, we already established our own municipal coastal resource management (CRM) office and developed the capabilities of our CRM staff headed by Engr. Sospes Leo Tabuan, Engr. Benito C. Paderanga and our technical working group.
We conducted series of participatory socio economic and habitual assessments in nine (9) coastal barangays resulting in the coming up of a trend diagram and maps.
We already delineated our municipal waters and passed Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-103, an ordinance defining the boundary of the municipal waters in the municipality of Mahinog.
We have established and strengthened 4 marine and fish sanctuaries in Mantigue, San Roque, Benoni and Binaliwan, with another more in the works in Tupsan Pequeno, Catuhogan, Hubangon and San Jose.
Thank you Councilor Kaiser Abao for sponsoring the ordinance and the 17th Municipal Council headed by vice mayor Roger for supporting it.
Towards coastal resource management and climate change adaptation and mitigation, we conducted regular coastal clean up and tree planting activites in Mantigue island.
Thank you government workers, students and others concerned groups for partnering with us for this endeavor.
To minimize or stop illegal fishing activities in our municipal waters, we strengthened the Bantay Dagat operations through the creation and active support of our "Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network" or CLEAN, which resulted in the apprehension of 6 groups of fishermen for violation of our fishery ordinance.
Thank you councilor Tabamo, our CLEAN chairman, PNP, our deputized fish wardens and other volunteers for helping us in this concern.
We passed an ordinance that regulates scuba diving and related activities and collects fees for such activity.
Thank you again 17th Municipal Council for supporting it which resulted in increased revenues for Mahinog.
We organized and operationalized the "Mantigue Island Motorboat Association" or "MAMSA", who provides ferry boat services that run between San Roque and Mantigue Island. With this, we were able to improve our ferry services, regulate rates of fees and give attention to passenger's safety.
In the area of local government excellence
Working together to keep Mahinog growing means a local government that has a legacy of innovation and excellence.
We begin first on our finances. We have achieved increased revenue income and receipts for the past 3 years. From P26 million when I took office in 2007 our municipality's income reached P34 million as of December 2009.
We maintained a balanced budget. We have not cut major services. We have not raised local taxes during the past three years.
Despite decrease of our collection from Benoni port in line with the presidential directive to stop collecting fees in Benoni port to cut transport cost for the Super Region Nautical Highway, we are still able to hit our tax collection target and cover up the losses.
Our municipal treasurer Judith Baita; budget officer Apolinaria Babanto; accountant Leonardo Ucat and planning and development coordinator Ben Paderanga of the Local Finance Committee are the key contributors to this success. Sa inyong tanan, daghang salamat.
A better life in Mahinog begins with cleanliness.
During the past 3 years, we have created a model for cleanliness built on resourcefulness, cooperation, volunteerism and the concern for the environment, health and safety. In June 25, 2008, we launched "The Lex's Clean Mahinog." We implemented Municipal Ordinance No. 2007-094 otherwise known as the "Code of Cleanliness, Sanitation and Solid Waste Ordinance of the Municipality of Mahinog.
A total of 245 persons including business establishments were cited by our Sanitary Pulis (SAPUL) for committing various offenses under our cleanliness and sanitation ordinance. This includes littering, urinating and spitting in public places, absence of garbage receptacles in business establishment and vehicles, households with no toilet and septic tank, displaying of fish outside designated areas, drying of palay and washing of vehicles along the street, and illegal parking. Citation tickets were also issued to persons who smoke in public places or outside designated areas. The program resulted in the significant improvement in the people's awareness and participation towards the value of cleanliness, health and environmental protection.
One of the best ways to gauge whether Mahinog has changed in terms of cleanliness is to look around and compare Mahinog 3 to 5 years back.
Thank you vice Roger who is the action officer of Lex's Clean Mahinog. Thank also goes to councilor Valentin and councilor Tabamo for sponsoring this ordinance and the entire 17th Municipal Council for supporting it. To municipal health officer Dra Nenet, all department heads and of course to our Sanitary Inspector and Sanitary Pulis or "SAPUL" for helping me make Mahinog clean and beautiful.
To sustain this program, we will intensify the Sanitary Pulis in the next 60 days. We will also strengthen and expand the Lex's clean program in other barangays.
In my inaugural address in 2007, I called for serious attention to Mantigue island. That is to restore and preserve the once rich marine resources of this island.
First of all, we have to relocate all illegal settlers and make the island no man's land to pave the way for its total restoration. In November 2008 we launched the "Mantigue Island Burias Shoal Development Program".
As of May 2010 there are significant successes in this area. From 41 families who lived in Mantigue island, 21 families have already relocated, either to our resettlement site in Benoni or other location of their choice.
We released over P200,000 as cash assistance package to nineteen families who volunteered to relocate.
But there are still 21 families who refused to relocate until now forcing the local government to file legal actions against them. We have not changed our cards. We will not waver with our resolve to restore Mantigue and by all means prohibit permanent residence and structure in the island.
We established a nature park in Mantigue island and equipped it with amenities such as canteen, fast food, comfort rooms, picnic sheds, dive shop, security outposts, mooring boys, paddle boat with viewing glass and, forest trail, scuba diving and snorkeling facilities.
We provided livelihood opportunities to the relocatees. We organized a group of women to serve as food preparers, while other men also served as tour guides to our visitors. I am happy that these people have earned additional income and helped their families financially.
We also provided additional livelihood income to 19 motorboat operators, 19 assistant boatmen and 10 canvassers, all of them were organized by the local government unit to provide transport service for our visitors.
From January to May 2010 alone, influx of visitors to Mantigue island already posted 7,518, higher compared to 10,116 visitors for the whole year of 2009.
We already collected over P300, 000 environmental fees from visitors in Mantigue island for the period January to May this year, higher compared to only P289, 000 for the whole year of 2009. We expect to collect over P1 million by the end of 2010.
The rise of visitors in Matingue is attributed to our continuing drive to restore and protect the island’s eco system, a move that attract tourists to visit.
The coming years will also see significant additions to our recreational facilities in Mantigue like additional tourist facilities, solar energy, interpretative learning center, staff house and park office, restaurant and coffee shop, permanent terminal and docking area and stock enhancement of abalone and sea urchin.
We will also work for the declaration of Mantigue island as critical habitat for Hawksbill turtle. I will ask the 18th Municipal Council to pass a resolution for this measure.
Mantigue island is not the only area in the Municipality where we are working to develop. We have the ten-hectare Queobe Eco Park overlooking a serene Benoni lagoon. This is a rustic complex of lodging facilities also managed by our municipal development office under Doc Willy Lobido and the able park manager Luz Odchigue Babanto.
From January 2009 up to present, we already earned revenues totaling P181, 000 from this lodging facility. We are about to complete the construction of the training center and administration building. Construction of additional three (3) detached cottages are almost complete.
Thank you Doc Willy, our municipal business development officer for making this project possible. Let me also give credit to the Local Finance Committee composed of the Municipal Treasurer, Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator and the Municipal Budget Officer for implementing the program "Empowering LGU In Development Program (ELDP)" that resulted in the creation of the municipal business development office to take charge of the emerging tourism and economic enterprise of the municipality and increase our local revenue.
Still under local government excellence, the municipality's thrust to provide quality public service, and transparency has been strengthened with the launching and implementation of our own Citizen's Charter. This is our way of putting "people first," and our sincere endeavor in getting the services of the municipal government done as quickly as possible. I
once again enjoin all our local government workers to be more responsive and accountable to the people. Let's be more helpful, more courteous, more quick in performing our job.
The office of the Sangguniang Bayan, under the leadership of Vice Mayor Rogerio C. Acle, remained steadfast and supportive of the overall development agenda of the municipality. As a concrete proof, the past 17th Municipal Council was awarded as the Most Outstanding Sangguniang Bayan in Region Ten by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
To me, the award was more than a recognition of the dedication and hard work of our Sangguniang Bayan: it is a pride of the whole people of Mahinog.
Another local government excellence, Mahinog also won the tableau and street dancing competition in 2009 Camiguin Lanzones Festival.
Under the program "Enabling People with Livelihood Opportunities"
In response to poverty reduction, through the municipal social welfare office under Mrs. Merlyn Bucton, we provided livelihood assistance to poor families who demonstrate entrepreneurial aptitude and skills.
In 2007, a group of 20 poor beneficiaries from barangay Poblacion, Benoni, Hubangon and Catohugan were given cash assistance in the total amount of P40,000.00 under the Faith Gardening Project.
Likewise, a seed capital of P12,000.00 was given to eight (8) individuals from San Roque for their cook and food vending project in Mantigue island.
We also provided skills trainings for 56 women members from Poblacion, Benoni and San Roque for Meat Processing and Peanut Processing in coordination with DTI Provincial Office.
Through our initiative, a total of P621,000 livelihood assistance was also given by DOLE to various associations and individuals as follows:
San Roque Fishermen Association P295,000 for their 3 units pump boats for ferry services and fishing; Owakan Rural Improvement Club- P40,000 for their "Instant Salabat Production"; Hubangon Women's Association- P80,000 for their "Seaweeds Food Processing"; Mahinog Food Handlers Association- P70,000 for their "Native Kakanin Production."
Thank you director Allan Macaraya and public employment service office (PESO) manager Mrs. Elvera Capagngan.
We also have our Local Education Assistance Program or LEAP for the poor and deserving students. From 28 students who availed in 2007, we now have over 150 scholars who enrolled in Mahinog National High School and Tupsan National High School.
Thank you councilor Tabamo for sponsoring this measure.
Under the LEAP, we also provided books and learning materials for 14 day care centers. On youth and child care, we provided basic child care program through the Day Care Service wherein the LGU provides for the honorarium of 14 Day Care Workers. For three years, we spent P408, 00.00 for these services.
Meanwhile, the youths were organized and provided with value formation, leadership trainings as well as dressmaking and gardening through the 2009 Summer Youth Camp in Hubangon.
Express delivery of basic services
This must be one of the most important services of any agency. Social, health care, education, agricultural and the like are the basic services that are already enjoyed by the constituents of Mahinog.
Our municipal health office has provided free consultation and distributed medicines especially to persons in real need.
During the People's Day Program in 2009 alone, a total of 3,500 individuals were given free medical services which includes free consultation and medicines.
Through assistance from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, over 1,500 individuals availed free medicines during our People's Day Program.
Our municipal social welfare office has "AICS" or Assistance to Individual in Crises Situation and Death Aid to surviving relatives of the deceased. Over 50 families who are in dire financial need were given immediate cash assistance under the Local Special Fund.
We also provided death aid assistance to 24 families who suffered much due to loss of their loved one.
Our municipal agriculture office has distributed fertilizers and other farm inputs.
These are laudable programs that need to be sustained. Moreover, programs pertaining to livelihood that include cash assistance in the form of interest free - loans may still be granted to would be borrowers. This has already been done by the municipal social welfare office through “SEA Loan Program”. However, more strict monitoring of repayments should be made this time to ascertain the return of capital which may be availed by other or next borrowers.
We will encourage our populace to engage in agriculture or agri-based business with technology to be provided by our own technicians. But of course, problems may be encountered when harvests or productions are plenty. This is due to the absence of post harvest facility, more particularly, cold storage. Acquisition of mini storage equipment is a necessity to preserve those consumable harvests, such as fruits and vegetables. This will then minimize damages or business loss. The LGU will have this facility availed by the producers or entrepreneurs in rental basis and at affordable rate. This, in turn, will generate additional revenue for Mahinog.
Our "People’s Day Program" has to continue. This is the effective means of letting the constituents know of the program, projects and activities of the municipal government, even once a year. Through the People's Day Program, people can avail of the services offered by our municipal government right at their door steps especially the basic services – social and health care. People can also pay their taxes to the municipal treasurer without spending extra fare. Problems on real properties and assessments are being addressed by the municipal assessor's office under Mrs. Gerlita Yamit. Technologies are likewise let known or shared to the people by other agencies of government such as Department of Science and Technology as well the other services and information from SSS, NSO, DILG, DAR, DENR, TESDA and others.
Over the last year, Mahinog's Police Force has worked to improve public safety in all of our neighborhoods. Crime, disorder and drug addiction will not be tolerated and we will make sure that our streets are generally peaceful, safe and secure for everyone in Mahinog.
As we are continuing our vigorous campaign against coconut theft, I am happy that coconut owners are now able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of their coconut and earned more income. We will intensify more efforts towards this campaign.
Based on municipal ordinance, we did not allow videoki establishments to operate in residential areas beyond 10:00 in the evening, to maintain peace and tranquility in the community.
On the other hand, as part of our responsibilities for better service and protect the people, we were able to secure one unit brand new patrol car and additional one unit fire truck from the national government.
We will soon inaugurate the P4.8-million two (3)-storey sophisticated PNP building in Mahinog.
Thank you Congressman PPR, Gov. JJ for helping us able to acquire these projects and vehicles.
I wish also to thank the "Mahinog Response 143" for continuing to provide free communication, rescue and emergency care to the municipality. In recognition to their dedication and services to the community, this group has been awarded twice as Regional winner for Gawad Kalasag Award which is an award for excellence for voluntary and humanitarian assistance.
I am also working hard to create the necessary infrastructure for business growth and success of Mahinog residents and families.
Allow me to recite a few of the development projects funded by 20% development fund in 2009 that are completed or still on going:
Concreting of the access road to dumpsite; Construction of CLEAN command post in Binaliwan; Construction of multi purpose pavement in Benoni; Fabrication of citizen's charter counter;
Concreting of habal-habal terminal; Concreting of shouldering in front of Mahinog public market; Concreting of PUJ and motorela loading and unloading area; Landscaping enhancement of municipal hall ground; Completion of municipal garage;
Concreting of Benoni housing and resettlement site; Construction of 3 units detached cottages at Queobe eco park; Construction of dive shop at Mantigue island; Improvement of barangay road in Jang and Tacangon;
Improvement of Rizal Park lightings; Completion of Queobe eco park and training center; Vegetation control and excavation of drainage canal at San Isidro, Tupsan Pequeno, San Roque, Poblacion and Catuhogan.
Thank you Engr. Rico Ranara and municipal engineering office for implementing these projects.
The concreting of all our municipal streets is almost done and complete. We will continue to work with Congressman Romualdo and Governor JJ Romualdo for the total completion of all our municipal streets in the next 3 years.
I will also work with vice mayor Roger and the 18th Municipal Council to ask our congressman and governor for funding assistance for the opening of alternate roads starting at the back of Mahinog Central School going to Letican or Binaliwan to help decongest traffic during festivity and big events in the town center and accelerate business growth in the whole municipality.
For our personnel workforce, we implemented 3 sets of salary increases during my first term. The first was 10% increase that took effect in July 2007, the second, again 10%, in 2008. The third increase took effect January of the current year, to implement the first trance of salary increase pursuant to the salary standardization law or Republic Act 6858.
Through this law, we will assure all our local government workers that you will continue to receive salary increases every year… until 2013.
For our casual and contractual employees, when I took office in July 1, 2007, we were able to increase their daily wage rate from P170.00 to P190.00. In 2009, we increased it again from P190.00 to P210.00, and again starting this year we have implemented another salary hike from P210.00 to P218.00.
I have outlined my program for Mahinog over the last three years and allow me to lay them before you once again.
This, again, will be packaged under my name ALEX. Since this is my second term I want to call it A-L-E-X 2.
A is Agriculture and fishery development
L is Local government excellence, livelihood and local economy
E is Environmental care and Eco-tourism
X is eXpress delivery of basic services for social, health and security of the people.
In the next 30 days, I shall call for the holding of a Strategic Planning and Visioning Workshop. The results of this workshop will determine the courses of action this administration will take in the coming months and years under the A.L.E.X 2 Agenda.
As I have been thinking for the future of Mahinog, I have been reminded to one of my favorite quotes from Henry Ford:
“Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success.”
I look forward to many successes in the next 3 years. Thank you. God bless you.
God bless the Municipality of Mahinog.