BONTOC, Mountain Province – Speaking before a jam-packed audience, Bontoc Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr., delivered his first State of the Municipality Address (SOMA) on January 26, 2023, at the Municipal Capitol Auditorium focusing on his administration’s accomplishments in the previous year and plans for the Year 2023.
In his address, the mayor gave a clear view of the operations of the municipal government and how its budget is divided to cater to the different sectors reaching the grassroots level – the barangay. The budget distribution paved the way for the great head start in achieving the administration’s vision which is ENLANGAKHA: Achieving the Vision for a Dynamic Bontoc. It encompasses four pillars, namely: Ecosystems Regeneration; Empowered Communities; Economic Empowerment; and Good Governance.
The mayor emphasized that Bontoc can regenerate its ecosystems through proper solid waste management; reviving biodiversity and damaged ecosystems: implementation of climate adaptation and disaster resilience programs; and expansion of water systems and maintenance of sanitation. Some of the highlights of accomplishments and plans under the first pillar are: Bontoc remains to be the ONLY municipality in Mountain Province that has a functional Engineered Sanitary Landfill (ESL) of which, the municipality has spent P5 million; The Bontoc LGU was able to source out P23 Million from DILG and DBM for the construction of an all-weather road at the Am-anchu Waste Processing Facility; Re-launching of the Oplan Pera Sa Basura; Planting activity tagged as “OPLAN KAWAYAN: Sustainably Protecting our Mountain Slopes”. It aims to propagate enough bamboo to prevent and mitigate the effects of soil erosion in all 16 barangays; Organized fire brigades and emergency responders; Bontoc is the FIRST and ONLY municipal LGU in Mountain Province to have Level 4 Incident Command System (ICS) graduates; The Bontoc LGU will be constructing a dog pound at Am-ancho where all stray dogs will be brought; and improvement of water systems for barangays outside Central Bontoc.
Tudlong mentioned that communities are empowered through the promotion of health and nutrition, local culture, and the arts; strengthening the support to education and youth development; and maintenance of peace and order. Among the notable undertakings are: The Municipal Health Office (MHO) has been granted by the Department of Health (DOH) a License to Operate as a Primary Care Facility and as a Clinical Laboratory; The Bontoc LGU was able to access P300 Thousand from the DOH for the improvement of Barangay Health Stations in Can-eo, Mainit, and Samoki; The Bontoc LGU was able to access a grant of P1 Million for the improvement of the TB DOTS Center and other health facilities; Purchase of a fully automated biochemistry analyzer; In negotiation for the purchase of a lot for the expansion of the Bontoc Public Cemetery; Allocation of funds for the retirement benefits of Barangay Health Workers who have reached 65; Financial assistance to all public schools; Assistance in the Brigada Eskwela; Youth Leadership Summit; Municipal Student Financial Assistance Program; Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations; Cash Incentives to athletes; and two barangays are beneficiaries of the million-worth ELCAC programs
The mayor highlighted promoting agriculture; revitalizing local enterprise; strengthening sustainable tourism; promoting green infrastructure; and opening Bontoc’s economic corridors are key factors in Economic Empowerment. Among these are: Assistance to farmers; Operation of a Multi-species Fish Breeding Center in Barangay Talubin.It is the first breeding center to be maintained by a municipal LGU in Mountain Province; Opening of additional tricycle franchise
The Bontoc LGU was able to access a grant worth P4.8 million from the DSWD under its KALAHI-CIDDS PAMANA IP-CDD Program; The Bontoc LGU was able to access P50 Million from the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) of the DILG for the rehabilitation of the Bontoc Public Market; The Bontoc LGU was able to secure P25 Million grant from the LGSF of the DILG for the rehabilitation of Balikyan-Dalican FMR; and installation of solar streetlights along strategic areas
Mayor Tudlong mentioned that Good Governance is through people-centered services.
Among these are: Financial assistance to indigent individuals; Provision of assistive devices to PWDs; Bontoc is the ONLY municipality in Mountain Province that qualified for the grant of the Performance-Based Bonus for its compliance with Good Financial Housekeeping, Anti-Red Tape Act, Audit Finding, and Performance Rating Consistent with SPMS requirement of the CSC.
Also, the mayor made mention of the numerous prestigious national and regional awards accorded to the municipality. He credited these awards to the collective efforts of all stakeholders.
“But even with all these awards, we know that there are still much room for improvement. Therefore, I ask for your continued support because there are still many daunting challenges ahead and greater things can only be achieved by working together. Nu infina-chang tako, mas khumag-awis ya mas inlangakha nan Fontoc ay Kalalaychan,” Mayor Tudlong added.
Present during the occasion are municipal and provincial elective officials, heads from National Government Agencies-Provincial Offices, Bontoc LGU employees, senior citizens, barangay officials, and other stakeholders.