Marinduque Governor Presby Velasco Jr. on Friday delivered his State of the Province Address (SoPA), highlighting the provincial government’s achievements and baring plans for the future of the province.
In his speech, Velasco has pushed tourism and empowerment of basic needs as part of his solid plans for the province, saying that they have come a long way from becoming a fourth class province.
“Our province suffered from lack of reliable and clean potable water, erratic energy supply and sporadic brownouts, inadequate irrigation water due to lack of dams and water impounding facilities, lack of jobs, lack of promotion and weak development of tourism areas, poor hospital system, minuscule revenues and a 90 percent IRA depended on budget,” said Velasco.
The Marinduque governor also stressed that he is also pushing for the return of the “golden era of Marinduque” with innovative changes and drastic reforms throughout the province, especially at this time when the country is feeling the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Velasco disclosed that the provincial government is set to open Marinduque Export Zone or MAREZ which will go hand in hand with building an International Port in Balogo pier and cited how the recent pandemic has paralyzed not only the businesses and citizens around the world.
He acknowledged the loss of the majority of jobs in the province such as in manufacturing, farming, and fishing, but with the help of the Public Employment Service Office or PESO, the province was able to minimize its unemployment rate.
Velasco also stressed the importance of improving health care facilities as he noted that the provincial government aims to upgrade the Marinduque Provincial Hospital and combine Sta Cruz General Hospital and Torrijos Municipal Hospital in the second district.
He also revealed the improvements in water, energy, and irrigation systems, as he started a feasibility study of the Marinduque Waterworks System. Currently, the governor is working on the budgetary groundworks such as government loans plus foreign and local investors but is committed to realizing his dreams of providing adequate, reliable, and clean water for Marinduqenos.
They had a Power Summit where “Napocor pledged to endorse the 69 KV facility to Marelco, provide the 4MW gen set in 3rd quarter of 2020 to replace the old and inefficient power barge, provide the 5MW gen set in late 2020 or early 2021 to add more energy capacity.”
The governor also reported that the feasibility of the Bagtingon irrigation dam is still in process, but 170 million pesos is already set aside for the first phase of the project. This will help the province’s farmers produce once built.
For tourism, Velasco said that they aim to maintain its status by drafting a tourism master plan to expand the Gasan Airport for regional flights from Asia and Pacific and lessen the travel time from Manila to Marinduque through the Mega Bridge.
“In our efforts to increase our budget, we’ve thought of ways on how we can improve our finances so we can have the money to implement more projects. We decided to make use of Local Economic Enterprises. In particular, I cite the Sand and Gravel Economic Enterprise (SAGEE) in order to gain more funds for our Provincial Government,” said Velasco.