Workmen busy mixing concrete for a road lane at Malapayungan in April 2012, which later connected with the concreted lane from Parang and that one at Calero, Sta Milagrosa and soon, Spurline. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
I AM giving a grade of 80.55% to Mayor Ricarte R Padila administration’s overall performance during its first three years in office in terms of program targets against actual delivery,
On July 7, 2010, in his inaugural address as the newly-elected mayor of Mambulao aka Jose Panganiban, Ricarte R Padilla laid down his program for the next three years – his first term.
In his address before the inaugural session of the 16th municipal administration, he presented a program “rooted from a clear vision of a peaceful and progressive municipality, with a free and active participation from the citizenry, with respected leaders who can lay claim to moral ascendancy”.
Padilla’s speech dealt on socio-economic and political reforms “which shall translate in the attainment of a strong local government and public security … concentrate direction towards local sustainability, by focusing on the very basic mechanisms for socio-economic progress.
He declared: “We shall create and develop the proper infrastructure and facilities which shall be the catalysts to the increase in productivity and socio-economic activities for all the people of the 27 baranggays.
“We shall elevate the standards and quality in public service while we continue to effect reforms leading to political stability.
“We shall continue to develop an open public awareness to their varied roles in community development as we push forward and creating ways and means in honing and developing the capabilities and talents of our future leaders.
Specifically, Padilla promised to carry out eight major programs:
1) Focus and prioritize the construction and rehabilitation of municipal road networks of about 81km and opening up new farm-to-market roads.
2) Focus on the delivery of basic services most especially to those with lesser economic capability, giving priority to healthcare program.
3) Promote the socio-economic initiatives which shall provide alternative jobs and more income to Mambulaoans.
4) Launch a skills training program patterned after Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) scheme
5) Launch an aggressive and all-out drive against illegal drugs with help from the local police force, the baranggay officials and the citizenry.
6) Construct covered courts in every baranggay, which shall not only serve as the sports, physical fitness and socio-cultural activities but more so as evacuation centers in times of calamities.
7) Protect the environment especially the Mambulao Bay and its aquatic resources.
8) Promote unity and peace among every sector of the community.
Road concreting thrust
For Padilla’s ambitious project to cement the municipality’s vital road system of about 81 kilometers, I am giving it a mark of 100%
For actual execution, it earns 85%.
No mayor in Mambulao had ever launched a project such as the one Padilla did upon assuming office on July 1, 2010.
The concreting of most of the roads in baranggay within the town and nearby areas, especially in Parang, is laudable.
As they say around Mambulao: “Ang sinimulan ay tinapos … (What was started was completed).”
The Parang-to-Larap road project covering about 7 kilometers is ambitious. It is one that is soon hitting its target and continues to impress Mambulaoans, especially those based overseas. Many are excited to come home this summer just to see how the concrete road leading to their former home of Larap looks like.
As of now, a ribbon of cement road from Parang has already reached the vicinity of Sta Milagrosa and Pag-asa.
This means that very soon, it will connect to the Larap bridge at Spurline, which is just about a kilometer away, by May, as programmed.
And towards the end of this year, the cement road will touch the heart of Larap, about 3 kilometers away.
It is a feat that amazes people from Larap – the old-timers who have stayed put despite economic hardships and those who abandoned the place after the collapse of the iron mines.
Farm-to-market roads are also on-going with help from sympathetic senators and congressmen.
This is one reason why Padilla has been frequenting their offices in Congress for their funding assistance.
Likewise, his appeal for bags of cement donations continues to draw support from many Mambulaoans especially those overseas.
Noteworthy, Padilla succeeded in building a kilometer of concrete road for only P5 million, a sharp contrast to the usual cost of P10 million if handled by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The rehabilitation (concreting) of bridges in Nakalaya, Pag-asa and Parang are underway.
Backing up the road project is a no-nonsense policy in the inventory of supplies and materials, thus preventing any pilferage.
The dogged rehabilitation of the local government’s heavy equipment and machineries was carried out to ensure that their use in road-building are maximized.
I give this infrastructure thrust a high 85% although it failed to complete the delivery during the three years since it was launched on July 7, 2011.
But it doesn’t matter – the road is on its way to where it should end.
The delivery of basic services especially to the marginalized Mambulaoans gets an overall mark of 90%.
The Primary Hospital, which is located next to the town hall, has been equipped with vital facilities such as emergency room, X-ray machines, radio logic equipment, laboratory equipment and the lately the ultra-sound machine that benefited much pregnant women.
The hospital’s current bedding capacity is hoped to reach the maximum target of 50 to cater for most of about 50,000 resident.
The LGU is working to expand the floor area of the hospital to allow for separate wards for adults and pediatric patients. Last year, a new section of the hospital – a lying-in unit – was completed and is now servicing patients on short-term confinement.
Costing only P400, the ultra-sound service has become affordable to most of the mothers requiring it. It is also a first among local governments in CamNorte.
As programmed, the local government has provided free drugs and medicines and made sure that the annual budget for medicines has been 100% used.
Padilla has also moved to make all pregnant and expectant mothers to become members of PhilHealth, which would make the cost of delivery less costly for the mothers.
In Larap, the new health clinic operates from Monday to Friday with a regular medical doctor and two midwives - one doing the day shift and the other the night shift.
Serving residents from the western district of Mambulao, the Larap health clinic has two beds and the patients are provided free medicines as their counterparts in the poblacion. Very soon, an ambulance would be made available.
It also built a health center at Pag-asa designed to also serve the residents from Baranggay Milagrosa.
Skills training for out-of-school youth
The LGU’s skills training program continues to draw many youth who are desperate to learn a particular trade that would land them a better-paying jobs.
I am giving the administration a grade of 90%, not only for actually setting up this seemingly impossible project for lack of the needed funding and making it run smoothly with at least three courses on offers but also for providing free transport service to trainees who cannot afford to pay for their daily fares going to the training center and going home.
The launching of the Roy Padilla Sr Training Center facility in Larap early last year was Padilla’s “pikit-sa-mata” project for the simple reason that there were no funds earmarked for it at the time.
However, determined as he was to help jobless Mambulaoan youths learn new trade skills, the mayor went on to build two classrooms to house the training facility and purchased the needed equipment.
He used about P1 million of the P2 million received from the Department of Interior and Government as the JP-LGU’s reward for being named one of the recipients of the “Seal of Excellence in Good Housekeeping” award for 2011-12.
Patterned from Tesda (Technical Education and Skills development Authority) curriculum, the center initially offered courses in welding, bread and pastry making and electrical. New courses such as information technology (IT) and automotive mechanics will soon be offered once funds and new facilities become available.
Already, 100 trainees out of the 200 who initially enrolled for the courses graduated and have passed the validation tests conducted by Tesda branch in Labo, CamNorte. They were awarded Tesda certificates as proof of their proficiency in the line of jobs they are applying for.
Most of the first batch of graduate trainees had already been hired either in the province or in Metro Manila.
While the second batch of trainees are now on board, the LGU is again working to set up a jobs fair late this year to help prospective employers to fill up available jobs in their respective companies from among Mambulao’s skilled labor force. Sometime last November, a jobs fair was held where several workers were hired on the spot.
Peace and order and drug problems
Sometime last year, there were reported incidents of break-and-enter in a number of households in the poblacion, apparently carried out by the so-called “Akyat-bahay gang” that involved minors.
To prevent future incidents of robbery and theft, the local police have deployed nightly patrols around town.
Likewise, there had been reported incidents relating to illegal drugs in the community. Residents in Parang, a densely populated district, were concerned that drug pushers were operating in their neighborhood under the protection of certain baranggay officials.
Responding to the situation, the LGU has waged a campaign against illegal drugs in coordination with the local police and baranggay leaders, as well as the residents.
Of late, reports on the presence of alleged “private army” under the employ of certain small-scale gold mining operator has become the talk of the town. Although local authorities have yet to find this out, insinuations are rife that some members of the local police are in “cordial relations” with the said gold miner, who was said to have sent out a message that he is somebody “not to mess with”.
But nevertheless, the law and order situation in Mambulao has been relatively stable, thus allowing the people to get on with their daily lives.
I am giving the LGU a grade of 85%.
The LGU built some covered (sports) courts during the past 2 ½ years, notably in Parang and recently in the poblacion near the town hall.
This project seems slow in execution due to funding constraints, as the Padilla administration has spread thin the revenue it has generated since assuming office in July 2010. As programmed, the LGU allots 1% of its annual income to public works such as public playgrounds including covered courts, baranggay clinics, waterways (estero) rehabilitation and many others.
The LGU earns a mark of 80% for this.
Unity and peace among Mambulaoans
The Padilla administration firmly believes that unity and peace among every sector of the community would augur well for the well-being of the entire citizenry.
Thus, the close coordination between the local police and the residents has become the order of the day; it made sure potential lawbreakers and trouble-makers are immediately checked, preventing the occurrence of crime.
It tapped the assistance of all government and non-government institutions and revived the spirit of Bayanihan and promoted the spirit of volunteerism.
The local police station has received some facelift, boosting the efficiency and responsiveness to the peace and order concerns of the community.
It also acquired one unit of fire truck to enhance the LGU’s firefighting capability.
The seemingly unstoppable mining waste pollution at Mambulao Bay and the pollution along the beach of Parang caused by community rubbish have become a pain in the neck of the Padilla administration.
In his inaugural address in July 2010, Padilla took note of the pollution problem plaguing the bay and the disappearance of most of the bay’s marine resources. He promised action to stop this.
With Padilla’s three-year term nearing end, nothing noteworthy so far has been done to deal with the bay water pollution, courtesy of small-scale mining operations around the community, which dump gold tailing on water tributaries that end up at the Mambulao Bay.
The mercury contents of gold tailings have endangered whatever marine life remaining in Mambulao Bay and the mud from mining wastes has destroyed the quality of sand along the beach of Parang and nearby coastal shores.
Although the LGU has erected public signboards in at least eight spots along the community shores warning of high fines against dumping of household wastes, pollutant debris continue to end up along the beach in Parang everyday.
It immediately pointed to the neglect of coastal baranggay leadership to enforce an ordinance dealing with indiscriminate dumping of household wastes.
There has been a half-hearted effort to rehabilitate our coastal mangrove areas. The replanting of mangrove trees and the installation of coral reefs to encourage marine life to come back to our bay has been unheard of.
Some time last year, there LGU carried out a tree planting exercise around the municipal watersheds as one way to prevent soil erosion during prolonged rainy days. This involved baranggay leaders and youth groups.
In February this year, the LGU launched its “Pera sa Basura” program in an effort to rid the community of waste plastic materials. The LGU will pay P10 for every sack of waste plastic materials, which will be processed at a materials recovery facility (MRF) at a municipal dumpsite near Larap.
With at least P500,000 funding, the LGU will also provide for free one sack to participants. A private contractor has already been engaged to recycle biodegradable wastes as well as the recovered plastic materials.
This effort is hoped to rid the community of this material, which is commonly found along the beach of Parang.
I am giving the environmental protection effort a
grade of 80%, with most of the credit going to the
Pera sa Basura project.
A major project programmed during the three-year term aimed at protecting Mambulao Bay and the coastal residents within the area namely Calero, Pag-asa, Osmena, Bagong-bayan, poblacion and Parang was the breakwater system.
Planned to be constructed during Padilla’s first term, the breakwater will rise from Pag-asa to the center of the bay, which shall meet with the one that is coming from Baranggay Osmena. The barrier shall also protect the vessels of fishermen during typhoons.
This has not been carried out.
Other unfulfilled livelihood-enhancement projects:
1) The expansion and promotion of people’s cooperatives among the drivers, fisherfolks, farmers, small-scale miners and ambulant vendors;
2) The promotion of nursery centers for bangus and tilapia culture, and other aqua-marine industries;
2) Putting up breeding center for goat and dispersal program;
4) The construction of a diary farm for milking carabaos as a support for our milk feeding program for children, ans as a livelihood program in the production of “kesong puti”.
5) Micro-finance program to boost livelihood;
6) Transfer of the bus terminal to Sta. Rosa Norte and the conversion of the vacated terminal at the public market site into a commercial center.
There’s no reason for Mambulaoans to get disappointed. Anyway, Padilla still has six more years ahead of him.
Implementing those that have been left undone would come in due time, with your unwavering support.
Grade summary of evaluated programs:
1) Road cementing project – 85%
2) Health program -- 90%
3) Skills training program -- 90%
4) Peace and order -- 85%
5) Covered court projects -- 80%
6) Community unification efforts -- 85%
7) Environment program -- 80%
8) Breakwater project -- 65%
9) Six other unfulfilled projects - 65%
Overall rating: 80.55%