Surigao needs to be ‘healed’

Surigao del Norte ( July 13) - For the province to recover from its shameful tag as one of the poorest provinces in the country, there is an urgent need to inject the right medicine to cure its abject poverty – thereby healing its lingering illness of economic uncertainty and eventually bring back life to its once-bubbly local economy.That medicine is actually a multi-faceted program capsulized as HEALS which will be implemented by the new governor, Dr. Sol Forcadilla-Matugas, the first lady chief executive of the province. HEALS stands for Health, Education and Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood, Spiritual Renewal, Social Welfare and Security.

As the new administration of Governor Sol F. Matugas would start moving this month of July, Surigaonons are enjoined to help and participate in transforming our province into Ang Bag-ong Surigao (The New Surigao). This was the gist of the inaugural speech she delivered before an estimated crowd of 6,000 spectators who attended the installation ceremonies of newly-elected and reelected provincial officials, which included Cong. Francisco Matugas and Cong. Guillermo Romarate, Jr. of District 1 and District 2, respectively, which was held at the Provincial Gymnasium in Surigao City on June 30, 2010.

“Out of this beautiful province blessed with rich natural resources and a strong human resource of almost 481,000 people all vibrating with one vision, the solid cornerstone for “The New Surigao” will be planted. Under my watch, “Ang Bag-ong Surigao” will emerge as a living testament of good governance and true dedicated service aimed to achieve Surigao’s unity, peace and progress.

“In achieving this, we should bring with us our individual commitment to hold the delicate balance of priorities in the areas of Health, Education and Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood, Spiritual Renewal, Social Welfare and Security.

“This platform symbolizes a leadership that is God-fearing, compassionate, innovative, focused, creative, but most importantly, accountable,” the attractive governor stressed.

Gov. Matugas also bared the roadmap to healing, renewal and eventual progress of our province which, until now, is suffering from the stigma of being one of the 10 poorest provinces in the country.

The road to healing and progress has set the journey with a clear vision of a province and people who will live in dignity and who will care for one another in a free, peaceful, progressive and environment-friendly Surigao del Norte - anchored on their faith in the Divine Providence, it was learned.

Prior to her speech, Sol Matugas was sworn into office as the duly-elected and first lady governor of Surigao del Norte by Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican of the Court of Appeals who administered her oath.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Matugas said the province was facing a difficult financial problem that would literally confront her new administration.

“We all have to bear and suffer – most pressing of which is the staggering debt payments of over 8 MILLION PESOS to be paid every month for the next seven years which the province is compelled to fulfill. This debt service will certainly cause more misery and deprivation of the fruits of development,” she lamented.

It has been noted that during the incumbency of the two Barbers scions, namely, ex-governor Robert Lyndon Barbers and ex-governor Robert Ace Barbers, the province incurred huge debts amounting to hundreds of millions in pesos for various projects wherein some of which became controversial.

Aware of the financial burden she inherited from the past administration and the lack of “cure-all or quick guide” in solving the said problem, she appealed to every Surigaonon to come out and help her in shaping up the province to become progressive by giving the best of what they have in their respective chosen fields.

AGENDUM

Gov. Matugas revealed that in pursuing her dreams and aspiration of establishing ANG BAG-ONG SURIGAO, she had come up with her pet project called HEALS which encompassed the areas of Health, Education and Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood, Spiritual Renewal, Social Welfare and Security.

The said areas were considered as serious concerns which would merit efficient and effective study, immediate attention and action. The said urgent needs came out after a serious analysis of the condition of our province, she emphasized.

In her 40-minute speech, the lady governor enthralled the audience with her sincerity, wit and sense of humor. Astonishingly, she got 40 rounds of applause and a dozen bursts of laughter from the receptive audience during her entire oratory. (Roel N. Catoto, The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer )

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