Batangas Governor Hermilando I. Mandanas delivered his State of the Province address at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Building, Batangas City last January 25, 2017, focusing on further strengthening the province’s economy through livelihood development, efficient fiscal management, and continued investment in health care and education.
Describing his first six months in office, Gov. Mandanas spoke at length about the accomplishments and plans of his administration, specifically on the programs for Health, Education, Livelihood and the Protection of Life and Prosperity (HELP). Going forward, he emphasized that efficient fiscal management, hand in hand with a transparent procurement system, will be continuously implemented so as to ensure a sound financial position towards a Rich Batangas that result in inclusive growth.
The local chief executive also acknowledged the solid support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, led by Vice Governor Nas Ona, characterizing that “the cordial coordination of the executive and the legislative will always be in my agenda.”
Health topped the priority programs of the provincial government, which increased its budget share to PhP 697 Million, from the previous PhP 616 Million, to cover, among others, the hiring of permanent health personnel and the increase in volunteer health workers’ honorarium. The system for medical services, particularly to indigent patients, has been streamlined; a stronger Philhealth program is being implemented; and the Provincial Health Card System, which will be provided to volunteer workers to augment Philhealth benefits and to be honored in all 12 provincial district hospitals, will soon take effect. Just recently, a consignment system in the procurement of medicines in all the district hospitals had been institutionalized through a Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance to ensure the supply of medicines and supplies at the lowest cost.
Investing in future Batangueños, the Batangas Capitol has provided assistance to almost 8,000 provincial college scholars. For calendar year 2017, PhP 100 Million will be added to the budget for education so as to increase beneficiaries.
To boost the local economy, the provincial government has signed Memorandums of Understanding for the study of various proposed infrastructure projects, free of charge, with a number of foreign companies, particularly investors from China. Projected to soon provide thousands of employment opportunities to Batangueños are the pipeline undertakings, such as the Batangas Food Terminal in Sta. Rita, Batangas City; the Batangas Logistics International Terminal Zone (BLITZ) or Phase 4 of the Batangas International Port in Batangas City; and the airport and railroad system construction.
The Batangas Port Livelihood Center (BPLC) at the Batangas City Port has been opened as a trade and exhibition center, presently housing business partners from Divisoria, Manila. The Batangas Province Economic Enterprise Board has drawn a plan for Build-Operate-Transfer projects in the compound involving hotel, restaurant, event center and pasalubong center developments.
Making sure that the provincial government is able to be of help, PhP 46 Million was allocated to social services that benefitted almost 13,000 households thru medical and burial assistance across Batangas. Gov. Dodo highlighted the institutionalization, through the help of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, of a direct cash transfer system in the granting of social welfare, educational, health, and livelihood assistance. Typhoon Nina’s direct hit over Batangas last December 2016 saw the capitol’s quick response for those affected, with PhP 42 Million calamity fund immediately released that benefited more than 11,000 families.
Environmental protection; peace and order; tourism and agricultural development; and disaster preparedness are likewise key areas that will be boosted in the succeeding months. Vince Altar / PIO Capitol