Inaugural Address of Gov. Jocel C. Baac





Friends, ladies and gentlemen:

Today, we begin another milestone in our history as a people, as we rise for public service for better progress and development.

The trust and confidence that our people have reposed in me is a clear imprimatur to lead them and our province. We want to affirm our commitment to our people who invested me with responsibility for the common good and the service of our people.

And we gladly accept this tremendous responsibility on our shoulders with the hope and prayer that God will guide us and give us the necessary strength and wisdom to serve our people with utmost dedication and dignity without counting the cost.

The mandate that we received on Election Day will always remind us that we are first and foremost servants of the common good, and that we will always uphold the interest of our people above any other consideration.

And for this reason, we need the unselfish cooperation of all, especially those who are working directly with the provincial government.

The mandate that we received is a clear sign that we can be of help to our people; that we are effectively knowledgeable of getting back to serious work and making most of the little that we have for our people.

Therefore, our new administration is determined to undertake the six point agenda which was our battle cry during the campaign.

First, the infrastructure system of the province shall be given a priority in the development funds. We shall see to it that all barangays that are isolated will be connected through the construction/opening of new roads, bridges, like the Taloctoc-Mangali road in Tanudan.

The existing provincial roads that are inadequately maintained shall be turned into an all-weather road so that our farmers can easily transport their products to the nearby market centers.

 An example of this is the Pinukpuk Junction-Pakawit provincial road and the Catabbogan-Wagud road in Pinukpuk. We shall implement the provisions of Provincial Ordinance No. 2009-04 which provides for the equitable allocation of funds for the maintenance of provincial roads and bridges.

Second, alongside this economic development is the imperative improvement and strengthening of the Peace and Order Council and the empowerment of the barangays being in the front line in the delivery of the basic services in the province to address the serious issues on illegal drugs, anti-criminality campaign and insurgency which are deterrents to economic development.

We will strengthen barangay based institutions like the tanods for peace and order program and community mobilization.

Projects with a funding of 50,000 pesos will be transferred directly to the barangay where the project is located to simplify government transactions, and enhance the proficiency of barangay officials in performing their duties and responsibilities in barangay governance.

        Our people must be secured in their persons and their properties; and there must be freedom from fear and freedom from want among our people. Tolerance, understanding, respect and acceptance should blossom among our people because we are a growing multi-ethnic community.

The provincial government will closely coordinate with the PNP and other law enforcement bodies to achieve this objective because I believe that development is the dividend of peace.

We will continue to recognize and utilize the bodong as an alternative means to settle disputes most especially in the areas where the customary laws or bodong exists. It gives life to and protects the people who practice this system.

The bodong, notwithstanding, will not preclude the criminal justice system under Philippine laws to apply in criminal cases under the jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice.

Third, we shall endeavor to insure the efficient delivery of health care and sanitation services to our people. We shall implement the fiscal autonomy of all hospitals under the provincial government as authorized under SP Resolution 227.

Drugs and medicines should be readily available at reasonable prices to patients in the hospital pharmacy. We will pursue constant dialogue and consultation with our doctors to find ways and means to improve the delivery of health care services especially to the poor.

The provincial government aims to provide an additional allowance for our barangay health workers (BHWs) to subsidize their meager allowance. These BHWs are in the forefront providing immediate and emergency health assistance to patients in the barangays before they come to the hospital for proper medical attention.

Fourth, is the improvement of agricultural services. Kalinga is basically an agricultural province. Our farmers rely mainly on agricultural products such as rice, corn, coffee, fruits and vegetables for their income.

We need to increase our agricultural production by judiciously using funds allocated to improve the capabilities of our farmers, funds for pre and post harvest facilities, and other subsidies from national government.

In particular, I ask the Office on Agricultural Services to kindly submit to the Office of the Governor a report on how the 7 million Pesos worth of Abono was utilized, and also a report on the utility of the tractor and other machineries.

May I also ask the NIA to submit a comprehensive report on the maintenance of the main canal that is servicing Tabuk area to Quezon, Isabela for enhancement and re-evaluation.  Also, include a summary of all other existing CIS that are functional well as those that are no longer in use.

Fifth, is the promotion of environmental protection. We shall continue to promote and protect the natural resources of Kalinga for our future generation. With the recent passage of the Kalinga Environment Code by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan which was approved by my predecessor, we are now given a clear mandate to regulate the use of our eco-systems for environmental security.

Massive commercial mining shall not be allowed to prevent pollution of the rivers. However, small scale mining like gold panning may be allowed under special laws for the benefit of the people.

Sixth, in education my administration will increase the number of local school board teachers to be hired by the provincial government. We will work closely with DEPED to devise a plan to properly accomplish this objective.

We must be able to give proper education to our children by hiring qualified and capable teachers so that at the end of the day we shall have produced well informed citizens to help bring about a Kalinga Province that is politically, economically, and socially developed.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous support.