A P15 billion budget is proposed to support Cebu Provincial Government’s health services, road improvement projects and other infrastructure programs set to be implemented in 2021.
Higher than this year’s allocation by P3 billion, the increase will ensure the concreting of 400 kilometers of provincial roads instead of the initial 250 kilometers, and the completion of the second phases of around 100 barangay roads, said 6th District Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco.
He added that the Provincial Board will start the hearing for the proposed 2021 budget in their session after the observance of the All Saints and All Souls Day.
Of the proposed P15 billion, 41.36 percent or P6,203,416,931.17 will be allotted to social services; 39.10 percent or P5,865,496,090.33 to economic services; and the remaining 19.54 percent or P2,931,086,978.50 to general services.
In a press conference on Monday, October 26, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the bulk of the budget will go to health services.
“Primarily health services gyud because we have been given the assurance that the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law will really be implemented. And with UHC, we really need to upgrade our provincial as well as district hospitals, so we focus on that. And, of course, we also focus on infrastructure,” she said.
The governor explained that the 2021 budget for road improvement projects will continue the road concreting done in 2019 and 2020 as well as start a new batch of provincial roads to be concreted.
“Kadtong primero nga tag one kilometer nga gihatag nato sa tanang lungsod that was contained in the 2019 supplemental budget. Unya karon, we are implementing the 2020 budget, sumpay. Kon five kilometers na, concreted ang one kilometer, karon gisumpayan sa four kilometers. So nagpadayon ang sumpay plus another set pa gyud sa provincial roads nga ato pung nasugdan,” she elaborated.
Garcia clarified that the newly concreted provincial roads are widened to 6.1 meters following national standards.
However, this can only be done in areas where road widening is possible. The local government unit (LGU) also has to take care of settling the road right-of-way, she said.
“I just want to clarify where it is practicable, ang atong provincial roads ato na nang gipalapdan to 6.1 [meters] kon ang LGU na ang mo-take care sa road right-of-way. Pero naa’y mga lugar nga dili na gyud mahimo or else dako kaayo’g gasto,” she explained.
If a road widening is not possible or would incur huge amount of budget, the improved provincial road will remain at 5-meter width.
“Ang mahitabo i-tear down ang structures, mapun-an ang cost. Pero kon dili na makaya sa LGU, the Province refuses to bear the cost so magpabilin tang five meters ang width nianang maong provincial road, kay dako na kaayo ang cost kon ato pa nang palapdan. So mao na ha? That’s the way we are proceeding,” the governor stated.
Garcia said the Capitol refuses to get involved with the matters on road right-of-way as this is susceptible to issues of corruption. She called on property owners to voluntarily give way to the road widening projects if they want to.
“Kon gusto mo, voluntarily set back, move back aron mapalapdan ang dalan. Kay dili man ko moapil anang magpalit-palit og road right-of-way kay anha na pud mosu’d nang corruption,” she added.
Recently, Garcia inaugurated P65-million worth of road concreting projects in Sta. Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos towns while a total of P103 million have been allotted for more road projects in Bantayan Island.
Weeks before that, she led the groundbreaking and inauguration of the different road concreting projects in Alegria, Badian, and Moalboal towns. in the seventh district of Cebu Province.
Aside from road works, the Capitol also continues to improve the water systems in the Province.
Garcia shared that Phase 1 of the Carmen water system is done and Phase 2 is ongoing.
“Inig abot sa mga gikinahanglang materyales, we will soon tap it to the mainline of the Carmen Luyang, kaning atong CMWD (Cebu Manila Water Development) nga project. Ang first three barangays will now benefit from that,” she said.
The Municipality of Carmen received assistance from Capitol for the improvement of pipelines worth P20 million for Phase 1 and another P30 million for Phase 2.
The first phase is seen to benefit around 2,000 households in Barangays Cogon East, Cogon West, Poblacion, and Baring while the second phase will cover Barangays Luyang, Dawis Sur, Dawis Norte, and Puente. These are the eight lower barangays that have been suffering from a lack of water supply.
Once connected to the mainline, the households will then be ready to tap from the supply lines.
Aside from the total rehabilitation of the water system for the eight lower barangays, Garcia also supported the construction of a new reservoir and Level 3 water connections to the households costing approximately P70 million.
Water system projects in Oslob, Moalboal, and Poro towns are also currently on the works, she added, emphasizing that the Capitol’s projects continue despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Tagai lang ko’g gamayng panahon. Kahibawo ko pusot-pusot na pud na ron ang comment, ang amo diri, ang amo dinha. Dili ko madyikera ha? Pero at least we are doing something, given all the challenges. Nag-pandemic pa ta, naglisod pa ang atong contractors sa pag-cross borders. Pero wala gyud na nato undanga ug wa gyud ta’y gi-realign sa 2020 budget intended for infrastructure,” Garcia said in a press conference on Oct. 26.
“Definitely, maningkamot ta ang mga dalan, tubig, tulay, ang inyong mga gikinahanglan nga inprastraktura nga makatabang, makapa-arang-arang sa inyong kinabuhi mao gyud na ang atong tagaan og prayoridad along with the health services sa atong mga ospital,” she continued.
The governor also shared Capitol’s breakthrough project in health services where the Cebu’s provincial and district hospitals partner with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and private insurance companies.
“This will be the first in the entire country, we will now be partnering, not just with Philhealth, but with other insurance companies or health management organizations (HMOs). We will be scheduling the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement. Kadtong mga empleyado nga covered aning mga private insurance companies, our provincial and district hospitals will soon be able to cater to you as well,” she said.
Garcia is also looking at the development of an integrated north and south bus terminal which will be open to public-private partnership or joint venture.
Currently, the Capitol has a two-year partnership with SM Prime Holdings Inc. for the temporary Cebu North Bus Terminal located in SM City Cebu.
“We are serving notice to all interested. Most ideal [location] kay medyo sentro would be the SRP (South Road Properties),” she said.
With all the projects being implemented and set in the pipelines, the governor said that the Cebu Provincial Government is “going beyond the 20-percent development fund.”
“We wish to remind you nga kanang 20 percent refers only to the minimum; that is not the maximum. So, I believe with our budget, we are going beyond 20 percent, probably around 43 percent ta sa development fund,” she said. (Eleanor Valeros)