|Sorsogon town eyes 2009 Most Friendly Municipality title | balita.ph
December 4, 2009 12:23 pm
By Danny O. Calleja
CASIGURAN, Sorsogon, Dec. 4 — Transformed within the last 10 years from an almost neglected poor town into a booming municipality that surpassed the others for its impressive showing in local development is eyeing this year’s Presidential Award for Most Child Friendly Municipality.
“Our development strategy focused mainly on the welfare of children and the communities they live provided for a package of services that earned us the distinction of being among the fastest growing municipality in Bicol,” town mayor Ester Hamor here told the PNA over the week.
Started in 1998 and vigorously pursued by her civil engineer-husband Edwin “Boboy” Hamor during his nine year of stint as the local chief executive, the lady mayor who replaced him as he “graduated” in 2007 said the package contained the efficient delivery of all basic services that a local government unit (LGU) is mandated to perform.
It included health, potable water supply, basic education, infrastructure, agricultural productivity, livelihood, peace and order and good governance, among others, she said.
“All these fall under the umbrella program called ‘Oo Para sa Kaakian (Yes to Children)’ that is geared toward the promotion of children’s welfare and the protection of their rights which has always been on top priorities of the municipal government,” she said.
On health, Mrs. Hamor said, the town’s programs are primarily attended to through the LGU’s health unit, the first Rural Health Unit (RHU) facility in the entire region declared as “Sentrong Sigla” Phase 2 facility which provides a complete benefit package from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
It was provided with a maximum health services especially for children and is now being sustained and maintained.
“We also make keeping our environment healthy for children a commitment and Casiguran’s being cited as cleanest and greenest town in Bicol for nine consecutive years starting 1998 would attest to that,” she said.
Furthermore, the municipality also operates a birthing home at the RHU that runs on a 24-hour basis. To ensure the sustainability of this program, it had the facility accredited to the Maternal Care Package program of PhilHealth. “Through this accreditation, we are subsidizing the expenses of childbirth,” the mayor said.
This initiative gave the municipality a 93 percent facility-based childbirth in 2007–birthing home and hospital referred cases combined. “To top it all, we had a zero maternal mortality rate, a unique feat for a municipality belonging to a province which is known for having one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the entire Philippines,” she said.
The Birthing Home is also an accredited Newborn Screening Facility, the only public health facility in the entire province offering this service as of 2007.
“Thus, we do not only ensure that these babies will be born but we also ensure that they survive their first few months of existence by promptly detecting diseases that may be fatal to them through the newborn screening procedure,” she added.
On education, Dr. Eduardo Ambrosio, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) schools district supervisor, said the municipal administration starting from former mayor Hamor and pursued by his wife, the incumbent mayor leaves Casiguran parents no reason not to send their children to school.
“Everything– from school supplies, uniforms, slippers, matriculation and other school fees and even transportation to and from schools are provided. Snacks are also served during periodical examination days,” Ambrosio said.
This undertaking benefits all the about 8,000 pupils in the municipality, and the DepEd municipal head said, the only thing the town’s administration is asking from the children is study harder and for the parents to make it sure that the kids are in school during school days.
On potable water system, the former mayor ended the problem that lingered since time immemorial by tapping a huge natural spring at the upland section of the municipality four years ago and let the water flowing into every barangay down to most households at the urban center.
On agricultural productivity, the municipal government under Engr. Hamor was able to complete an irrigation program that covered the entire 8,000-hectare rice land in the municipality during his term.
Most of the irrigation system put in place was done through “bayanihan” initiatives that involved the farmers in the construction of required structures. The town government provided the materials and food-for-work while the then mayor personally supervised the works.
On infrastructure, the municipal government linked all its 25 barangays with concrete roads during the former mayor’s nine-year term, built a modern public market that is well-kept to maintain cleanliness, a presentable municipal building, typhoon-proof school buildings and day care, health and recreational centers, among others.
Most of these undertakings were completed through the initiative of this fourth class municipality notwithstanding the meager internal revenue allotment (IRA) it receives from the national government, the lady mayor stressed.
“We make use of our resourcefulness and the cooperation of the barangay folks in achieving all these that are aimed at making our communities ideal for our children and the family they belong,” she said in the town’s entry to the 2009 Presidential search for most children friendly municipality in the country sent to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently.
“And most of all, we owe these achievements to a corruption-free municipal administration,” she added. (PNA)