TABUK CITY, KALINGA – This province has been bold in implementing infrastructure projects to support its burgeoning agricultural sector and improve its health services and facilities.
This is one of the messages of Governor Jocel Baac in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) which he delivered during the 23rd Kalinga Foundation Day on February 14.
“As an indication of our commitment to link isolated production areas to capital and service centers, we continued to invest boldly on the upgrading of main roads and providing connectivity to our rural areas because I believe that ‘to effectively reach the people, the road must be in place, first and foremost’’, the local chief executive said.
Kalinga has been winning the Seal of Good Local Governance Award (SGLG) every year since 2013 and it has opened a floodgate of funding for much-needed road projects.
Baac said that as a consistent SGLG awardee, Kalinga was able to tap special programs geared towards the improvement of the agricultural sector such as the Philippine Rural Development Projects (PRDP), Conditional Matching Grant for Provinces (CMGP), CHARMP, and Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) projects.
Baac said that the province was lauded for the implementation of its road projects: “As announced by the PRDP Deputy Director Elma Mananes last Monday, during the turn over ceremony of Banneng-Gombowoy FMR at Tanudan, being the first PRDP completed project in CAR, Kalinga has the highest in terms of fund allocation from PRDP. Likewise, with CMGP of DILG. Actually, we were also the first province in CAR to implement CMGP project and as per feedback from the World Bank mission, again, we are recognized as the best performing province in terms of the CMGP implementation in CAR and number two nationwide. These recognitions are just but few of our strengths as Kalinga people, thus, this celebration.”
Kalinga is recognized as one of the top rice producers in the country, Baac said, and was given the Farmer’s Academy as an incentive by the Department of Agriculture. The construction of the Kalinga Coffee Consolidation and Marketing Center is underway. It is a sub-project of the PRDP meant to revive and develop Kalinga’s coffee industry. “Ngarud iyad-adu tayo pay koma ti plantasyon tayo ti kape tapnu masustinar tayo ti industriya tayo a kape. Laglagipen tayo nga daytoy a commodity iti gapu na nu apay nga naad-daan tayu iti PRDP road projects,” Baac urged.
Speaking about the health sector, Baac put the spotlight on the strides his administration made in improving public health facilities and services. “Recently is the construction of the dialysis center, dakkel tu a gin-awa kadagiti pasyente tayo nga dumay-dayo sadiay Tuguegarao.
Kalinga ti maikadwa nga probinsiya ditoy Cordillera nga maadaan ti kastoy a fasilidad,” he said.
Another effort of Baac’s administration to expand health services in the province is the Kalinga Children’s Ward and Wellness Center which broke ground last week. It is a three-storey facility with an estimated cost of P110 million. The provincial government has earmarked P56 million from its development fund to start off the project and is banking on the promise of Senator JV Ejercito and Congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang to help source out the remaining P60 million to see it to completion.
Baac said that the creation of health positions, purchase of hospital equipment and facilities and construction of much needed facilities was always a priority in the annual budget.
With regards to disaster risk reduction and management, Baac said that his administration was able to access funding to build an evacuation center and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management (PDRRM) office. The construction of the latter is on-going at the Capitol compound, he said.
“Our disaster preparedness and management were tested when the province was devastated by Typhoon Lawin. We have shown that we are indeed resilient, we immediately recovered from this challenge,” Baac said.
In 2017, Kalinga was beset by a tribal conflict between Tulgao and Tinglayan and later, between Gaang and Dacalan. The hostilities were abated through the Bodong, a traditional system of peacekeeping between tribes. The resolution of the tribal conflicts Baac credited to local officials: “We also acknowledge the effort of our Bodong Council Members, PPOC members and other concerned citizens in the resolution of inter-village conflict.”
Baac also spoke of the establishment of the Bahay Pag-Asa Facility for the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents and the government’s program for former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. “Agtul-tuloy ti serbisyo tayo para kadagiti kakabsat tayo a former combatants. We have also accessed fund for the construction of a halfway house. This center will serve as a processing center, training center and sometime shelter for the rebel returnees,” he said.
The local chief executive noted that in 2010, Kalinga was named in the club 20 of poorest provinces in the country. He said that it was through the determination and unity of the people that the province was able to lift itself up until eventually graduating from its bottom poor status in 2012. According to him, Kalinga is poised to reach more milestones. “Patiek nga ad-adayo pay ti maragpat daytoy a patpatgen tayo a probinsiya babaen ti agtul-tuloy a nairut ken nabaked nga panagtuturnos dagiti aramid tayo para ti pagimbagan ti kaadwan,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude for the support of the Kalinga people: “Maminsan pay kakabsat ken kakailyan, ti nagan ti agdama nga administrasyon ti daytoy a probinsiya agraman ti pamilyak, iyebkas ko ti panagyaman mi kadakayo nga awan labas na ti saan agbal-baliw nga ayat, suporta ken talek yo.”
By Iryll Sicnao