BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental will create more opportunities and innovations that will steer the province beyond its identity as the sugar capital of the Philippines.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said his second term will mark developments in health and social services, disaster management, education and sports, peace and order, food security, water and power supply sufficiency, environmental concerns, infrastructure, tourism economic development, and revenue generation.
“It is high time that we seriously reinvent, to show the world that Negros is more than just sugar, that Negros is the place where you can succeed if you try, where a healthy economy can advance by what we make and innovate,” Lacson said during his inaugural address at the provincial capitol grounds here Saturday.
He took his oath before Regional Trial Court Judge Amy Alabado Avellano while Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and the 12 members of the Provincial Board also took their oaths separately.
Continuing with the slogan “Abanse Negrense”, Lacson asked for support as the province seeks to recover and reach for its collective aspirations, given the vast potential of Negros Occidental.
“Every period of our history has its own trials and difficulties. Ours was an unparalleled health crisis that further escalated to an unprecedented economic and social distress,” he said.
“Abanse” (Advance) is an acronym for Agriculture and Food Security; Building of Infrastructure, Roads and Other Structures; Advancement of Economic, Trade, Investment and Employment Opportunities; Nurturing of Public Health by creating responsive hospital and other social services; Sustainable Environmental Management and Tourism Development; Education, Culture, Sports and ICT; and the Negrense brand of Good Governance and Human Development.
Plans and programs
Taking off from the lessons of the past three years, Lacson said the provincial government will fully implement the Universal Health Care program as well as expand and strengthen the Provincial Health Board, alongside the upgrading and modernization of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital and district hospitals.
The Provincial Health Office and Hospital Operations Department will work to synchronize the delivery of both preventive and curative medical health care services to be more effective and cost-efficient, he added.
Lacson noted that given their experiences with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and Typhoon Odette in December last year, the province will expand the scope of services of the Provincial Disaster and Management Office.
“We will manage resources, including manpower, to effectively match the emergency needs of our constituents through the One Hospital Command, Emergency Rescue 911 and Command and Response Center,” he said.
Education remains the top priority and there will be an expansion of scholarship programs to include all sectors, particularly the underprivileged.
Lacson said the Provincial Veterinary Office and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will complement and integrate their services to provide Negrenses sufficient food sources.
“We need to protect our PHP6-billion swine industry and PHP4-billion livestock industry. Negros Occidental has become one of the top livestock-producing provinces in the country. The province will remain as the top backyard producer of hogs nationwide and will continue to improve the genetics of local breeds for all animal species,” he added.
The province will strive to recover the income lost amid the pandemic and after “Odette” by improving economic enterprises development initiatives through the operations of the capitol-owned Food Terminal Market, Negros Residences hostel, and Mambukal Wildlife Sanctuary.
“To draw in more tourists and guests, our tourism office will innovate our promotion campaigns to expand investment opportunities while showcasing the vast tourism potential of Negros Occidental,” he said.
Lacson stressed that as a believer of Negrense talent and products, he sees that the products of Negros Occidental can compete both in the local and global markets.
“Thus, we shall continuously to provide platforms for small entrepreneurs to develop and market their products, particularly the start-up enterprises,” the governor said.
He further said that since the province’s revenues for the past two years have been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, his administration will double efforts to reverse the trend and to increase revenues to finance priority development initiatives and projects in the next three years. Philippine News Agency