Delivered on May 17, 2012 at the Legislative Session Hall
Office of the Sangguniang Bayan
Municipality of Miagao
Vice Mayor Jose Rey Noble and the Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Gerardo Flores, heads of municipal offices, heads of provincial and national offices based in this municipality, school heads, representatives of non-governmental and people’s organizations, civic and religious leaders, people of Miagao, good afternoon!
I thank you all for coming today to witness me perform my solemn and mandatory obligation to report the State of the Municipality of Miagao for the immediate past calendar year 2011.
And I say, without fear of contradiction, that the municipal government under my leadership strived hard to sustain Miagao’s three-prong reputation as a peaceful, self-reliant, progressive, and environment-friendly town whose people are deeply-religious and morally upright; an education center; and a major tourist destination in the Province of Iloilo.
We achieved this through the proactive delivery of basic and innovative local government services through our various frontline offices and programs, projects, and activities on administrative governance, social services, economic development, environmental management, and local legislation.
Indeed, In 2011, the LGU earned several feathers on its cap.
On administrative governance:
At the core of our exemplary governance is a local administration that is dedicated to transparency, accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness. To us, the taxpayer is our master and the local government exists because of the citizenry it serves.
Towards this end, we capacitated our personnel to deliver the best possible service under seamless processes and streamlined procedures that are faithful to our Citizen’s Charter and to all other client safeguards and information access we have instituted.
It is our pride, therefore, that we have such things as transparency boards, LGU website, newsletter, flowcharts, client assistance and complaints desk, one-stop shop for license applications, routing slips, and centralized cashiering system. We made governance stronger by empowering the people with reasonable access to information and feedback.
We should all realize that our work does not stop at simply delivering the output but that the public—the very people we serve—must know what we are doing and what we have delivered. I have always been encouraging the LGU offices to observe these standards and the Personnel Office to exact the highest standards of work ethics on our employees.
Our planning system was open, transparent, and satisfactorily-documented. The public was adequately represented and NGO representatives were made members of various local special bodies and committees, including the very crucial bids and awards committee. In effect, the direction and blueprint of our development—such as the Executive-Legislative Agenda, Annual Investment Plan, Annual and Comprehensive Development Plans, Annual Budget, GAD Plan, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan, among others—were client-and-issue responsive. We thank the Sangguniang Bayan for taking cognizance of these plans through appropriate legislation.
It was also our pride that we have begun the perusal and updating of an exhaustive Barangay Management Information System which gave us a more comprehensive picture of the entirety of our town starting from the barangay level. It is my personal hope that the MPDC and the LGU offices delivering PPAs to our clientele would start the culture of perusing the BMIS as the cornerstone of our planning processes.
Countryside development was also monitored by a multi-sectoral monitoring team to ensure that PPAs were aimed at development of communities and people’s money was used efficiently and truthfully. We commend the MMEC and the MPDC for the monitoring job well done.
We also kept our practice of holding a weekly staff meeting to compare notes on the achievements of various offices and to keep track of developments in the performance of duty of LGU personnel. I enjoin you to support the Office of the Municipal Administrator in its job to coordinate the work of all LGU offices.
Accountability was also among our primordial values which we observed faithfully. We put to proper use the total of more than one hundred six million pesos total income realized in 2011 according to our best practices on budget administration and our clean slate in the procurement process and, ultimately, in the periodic audit. We also tried our best to make our local economic enterprises work and become profitable.
As a first-class municipality, Miagao generated a total income from local sources of more than sixteen million. We also disbursed a total of more than twelve million pesos trust fund from various sources, mostly from the national government. At the close of fiscal year 2011, the LGU was able to peg a surplus of more than nine point four million pesos.
We attribute our sound financial condition to the difficult but harmonious job of our finance people—the Budget Office, the Treasury, and the Accounting Office—and the in-charge of our various economic enterprises—the Market Manager, the Slaughterhouse Manager, the Cemetery In-Charge, and the Tourism Officer.
I understand that we are presently working on the revision of our Local Revenue Code to increase the income-generating capacity of the LGU. I hope that greater time and effort would be spent to fast-track the completion of this revision.
We also moved towards a more gender-responsive governance and I thank the legislative branch of the LGU for keeping itself receptive to this objective.
We owe it to our people to provide them with the best possible service that is delivered by knowledgeable and competent personnel; who are free from graft, corruption, error and doubt; who work completely, full-time, and selflessly; and who are self-rectifying and magnanimous in the face of questions or criticisms. I wish to emphasize this principle to justify my will and resolve to re-organize personnel as may be necessary and to the best interest of the service. To me, this was what exemplary administrative governance meant.
On economic development:
While we were hailed as the Urban Center of Southern Iloilo, Miagao had a basic economy comprised of agriculture and fisheries. Thus, in 2011, to maximize our gains from our ridge-to-reef natural wealth, we provided diverse interventions such as: farm inputs and machineries and post-harvest facilities to at least forty carefully-selected barangays, irrigation to seven barangays, capacity development and technology transfer to thirteen farmer-and-producer groups, capital assistance for livelihood totaling to more than six hundred thousand pesos; the sustenance of our instituted economic growth centers in Barangays Bacolod and; venues and means for marketing and promotion whether within or outside the Agro-Trade Fair of Salakayan Festival, and infrastructure development in which the LGU repaired and opened a total of more than fifty-eight kilometers farm-to-market roads. We did all of these mostly out of our own financial resources and with little assistance or intervention from national government officials.
With these interventions, there was a total of close to three hundred million pesos agricultural produce, two hundred fifty million pesos livestock produce, and seventy-five million pesos fishery produce last year. We must thank the good Lord for the grace of bountiful harvest last year. And we congratulate the Agriculture Office, MENRO, and Engineering Office for delivering most of the key results of economic development last year.
The LGU, indeed, did not just lay still to only watch economic development happen. We catalyzed economic growth some more by sustaining the town’s foremost economic hub, the public market, as an economic enterprise, and initiated the process of its expansion through a major loan; by making it easier to do business with the LGU by completing the licensing one-stop shop and improvement of the payment lounge of the Treasurer’s Office; by attracting investors and implementing an incentives system in their favor; by promoting tourism primarily through the conduct of the annual Salakayan Festival and raising income from tourist visits; by supporting the growth of heritage industries; by paying attention to the issues and concerns of women micro-entrepreneurs, and by keeping unemployment at a low level of two point five percent. We congratulate, therefore, the Licensing Office, Tourism Office, and PESO, for making significant achievements in the local economic sector in 2011.
At present, our economic status is best described by our annual average per capita income of one hundred fifty-nine thousand pesos and average monthly spending level of one hundred forty-three thousand pesos.
In 2011, the town enjoyed fresh capital injection of close to six million pesos from about eighty duly-registered new businesses, most of them micro-enterprises. There were also more than one thousand new jobs created that paid not less than two hundred pesos per eight hours of work.
Existing businesses registered an average growth of one hundred nine percent in their annual gross sales.
It is, therefore, our distinct honor to be included as a finalist in the Search for the Most Business-Friendly LGU in the Country by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
And it is our pride that our economic development is being felt at present in our food sustainability, widespread distribution of per-capita income and increasing level of disposable income, declining rate of unemployment, and an ever-promising investment climate. We are fast approaching the mark of self-reliance.
On social services:
In 2011, the LGU addressed squarely the platform of achieving a constituency that was healthy, substantially-educated, economically-empowered, and living in a decent atmosphere of peace and order.
There were many significant indicators: the number of malnourished children decreased, maternal care achieved one hundred thirty-two percent accomplishment rate versus target and maternal mortality was zero, the number of fully immunized children reached almost one hundred percent, infant mortality rate was pegged at a low level of not more than ten percent while child mortality was not more than one percent, the Municipal Health Office started its expansion project in order to provide better health and emergency services more efficiently, the MHO was adequately-equipped to treat victims of disease outbreaks like dengue, and our 24-hour emergency service which was conceived fifteen years ago surpassed the mark of than six thousand emergency cases attended since its opening in 1997.
In sum, Miagao was a healthy and safe municipality in 2011 and we thank the Municipal Health Office, Health Board, Nutrition Council, BHWs, and BSPOs for jointly achieving this.
We realized though that the incidence of poverty was clear and present, and this may be beyond the government’s control. However, we tried to alleviate poverty in 2011 by sustaining our meritorious social welfare programs. For instance: close to two thousand persons in crisis situations were assisted last year for whom the LGU spent a total of almost one point twenty-eight million pesos financial assistance; livelihood assistance was extended to about one hundred twenty recipients for a total amount of five hundred thousand pesos; sixty-five daycare centers were operated in the barangays for which one million pesos was spent for the honoraria of the daycare teachers; and one point six million pesos was spent for the PhilHealth subsidy of two thousand nine hundred indigent beneficiaries.
We also looked after the welfare of the women, senior citizens, the children and young adults, and the differently-abled by crafting appropriate programs and activities in which they could actively participate.
As you know, and I wish to reiterate, the Office of the Mayor does not deny assistance to any person in crisis situations. This principle is absolutely beyond politics and I know that this is often a road less-travelled. Permit me to pin a shining gold medal on the Social Welfare & Development Office for its outstanding work in delivering social services last year.
The state of our local education also improved last year:
In the two elementary school districts, the total enrolment was more than seven thousand six hundred, the average teacher to pupil ratio was one is to twenty-four, the average classroom to pupil ratio was one is to twenty-nine, the average participation rate was almost one hundred percent, the dropout rate was almost zero, while the completion rate was near ninety percent.
At the secondary level, the nine public secondary schools enrolled a total of close to five thousand students at an average teacher to student ratio of one is to twenty-eight, average classroom to student ratio of one is to twenty-five, average participation rate of about ninety-three percent, dropout rate of not more than two percent, and average completion rate of more than ninety-six percent. Our municipal literacy rate is ninety-seven percent.
The LGU also sent two hundred sixty-one students to the Southern Iloilo Polytechnic College under the College Education Assistance Program. A total of more than four million pesos was spent by the LGU for the education of these students.
In addition, the Philippine Army assisted us in our Alternative Learning System instruction.
Overall, the LGU moved mountains just to put all known youth of school age to school. The LGU did not lose its vision of education as the most effective passport to the way out of poverty and hunger.
I thank the DepEd Family and the private high schools, as well as the Local School Board, for making significant improvement in learning, instruction, and educational management last year. I also thank the barangays for maintaining their barangay scholars and for working hand-in-hand with the schools for whatever urgent concerns.
I also thank the University of the Philippines-Visayas for reinforcing the educational, training, and technical needs of the Miagaowanons. We are happy to note that last year, the LGU celebrated with UPV thirty years of UPV Presence in Miagao and the first UPV & Miagao Friendship Day.
We have maintained our state as a peaceful and orderly municipality. Our Peace & Order Council was duly-constituted and met every month jointly with the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. We have a duly-approved, multi-sectoral Community Security Plan and Disaster Risk Reduction Plan. With these plans in place, the municipal police force successfully reduced the volume index crimes by two percent and lowered the monthly crime rate by five percent.
Last year, the municipality was beset by problems on landslide in Barangays Bacolod, Alimodias, Cawayanan, and Potrido. The LGU was proactive enough in mitigating the effects of these landslides with the separate but positive assistance from the Iloilo Provincial Government. We paid greater focus on Bgy. Bacolod as an educational-and-economic center of the northwestern cluster of barangays in the town. We lent significant support to Bacolod National High School in its effort to relocate the school site to more secure ground.
I commend the leadership of our highly-effective Chief of Police, the Miagao Police Force, the Philippine Army, the Peace & Order Council, the MLGOO, and the LDRRMC for keeping Miagao peaceful and safe.
Indeed, all other forms of development start when the community is healthy, adequately-provided, peaceful, and safe.
Along with these, we also espoused the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage by continuing the renovation of the Justice Ramon B. Britanico Hall which has since been bulwark of community gatherings and cultural celebrations. I am happy to report that major infrastructure works at its stage, backstage, and proscenium were done last year and major performances were already held by the later part of the year. I commit that the Britanico Hall would be thoroughly finished by the time I decide to step down from office.
On environmental management:
The Municipality of Miagao won last year, for the second time in a row, as the champion in the Search for LGU Best Practices in Ecological Solid Waste Management of the Province of Iloilo. This largely confirmed our reputation as exemplary caretakers of the environment.
We have both internal and external best practices to sustain our care for the environment. Among our exemplary external practices were the institutionalization of the attendance to solid waste management seminars as a prerequisite in obtaining a business permit, while our external practices pertained to continuous IEC campaigns which we did through pulung-pulongs, seminars, and the annual Search for Best Performing Barangay in Cleaning, Greening, and Beautification; sustained partnerships with the civil society for environmental protection; and our communal, institutional, and household approaches to reforestation activities.
Our tree-planting activities alone were commendable. Close to five thousand seedlings raised in our municipal nursery were distributed to interested tree-growers. With this, our townwide forest cover increased from seventy to seventy-two percent.
The majority of our townwide plans have already been realized, such as: the mandatory segregation of solid waste which was done through the requirement of appropriate waste receptacles, scheduled residual waste collection in the poblacion and surrounding barangays or a total of seven hundred fifty-six households which were catered by the General Services Office, the functionality of the municipal MRF and the clustering of barangays for their common MRFs, the absence of litter or uncollected garbage especially in public places, the imposition of the no-burning policy which we gave teeth through the issuance of citation tickets to violators, and the gradual conversion of our controlled dumpsite to an eco-park.
We addressed the global concern on climate change through our various innovations, like: our sustained recycling and eco-handicraft industry which have positive contribution to tourism; the ban on smoking in public buildings, our advocacy for organic farming, the Bamboo Development Project with UPV for the propagation of bambusetum and the fabrication of engineered bamboo products; our agricultural activities such as the cacao propagation, vegetable-growing, and rapid composting and vermi-composting; and the conversion of recyclable materials to beneficial facilities.
I believe that the SB was also working towards the enactment of an ordinance regulating the use and sale of plastic packing materials.
As a bonafide tourism town, we sustained our “Banwa Ko, Gwapa!” Project to enhance the beauty and attractiveness at least of the town proper.
Sustainability of our best practices, indeed, was our foremost environmental platform. However, we must bear in mind that the environment is a bigger-than-life concern that involves all living creatures. There is so much more we can do for the environment and we are not losing our will to do our part.
In closing, I would like to thank the more than sixty-five thousand Miagaowanons who helped the LGU achieve these accomplishments in 2011 either through volunteer service, active community participation, and, above all, paying their taxes promptly and correctly.
In addition, I would like to thank the Sangguniang Bayan for supporting the myriad platforms of the executive branch. We, in the executive branch, hereby reiterate that our support is also at your beck and call. Through continuous consultation between the executive and legislative, we still hope to achieve more this year 2012 and we hope to tackle it in a different forum.
The year 2011 has been a good year for the Municipality of Miagao. Let us, however, turn good to great by clinging on to our battlecry: “Ugyon, Miagaowanon!”
Thank you and good day.