From P35.65 billion in 2018, Cebu Province’s assets have grown to P203.9 billion in 2019, marking a 471.9 percent increase. This has reinforced Cebu’s rank as the richest province in the country, according to the Commission on Audit 2019 Annual Financial Report.
The huge increase is the result of the re-appraisal of the Provincial Government’s real properties based on the current fair market value which was done as soon as Governor Gwendolyn Garcia returned to the Capitol in 2019.
But for Gov. Garcia, being the richest province means nothing if this cannot be felt by the Cebuanos.
“Well, it’s a nice title but that’s as far as it goes, unless the people really feel the impact of being the richest province in the country. So, para nako, I will not bask in that glory because it presents an even heavier challenge to make each and every Cebuano realize that their lives are better because Cebu is the richest province,” she stated.
The Province, she said, still needs to accomplish a lot in terms of infrastructure, in bringing back the economic activity after quarantine, and in giving hope to the Cebuanos whose lives and livelihood were severely affected.
“Di gyud ko manghambog ana kay wala pa ko’y ikapanghambog,” she added.
The Capitol, under the Garcia administration, has been doing its best to implement various infrastructure projects such as road improvements and concreting and waterworks system. It has also focused on the delivery of health and social services, and food security programs, among others.
Of the P203.9 billion total assets of the Cebu Provincial Government, P196.2 billion comes from real properties. These include two Cyberzone towers located in Cebu City and turned over by Filinvest to the Cebu Provincial Government in 2019. These towers are being rented out to different business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
Stricter implementation of the Revenue Code of the Province and more stringent monitoring of sand and gravel quarry operations also added to the increase.
In 1964, the Province of Cebu lost all of its real properties when then vice governor Priscillano Almendras and members of the Provincial Board donated Capitol’s lands to the Cebu City Government.
Lawyer Pablo Garcia, as a taxpayer, then filed a case against the Capitol officials and successfully recovered the provincial assets which the court ordered returned to the Province of Cebu.
Continued delivery of services
Despite months of being under quarantine since last year, road projects all over the Province continued. A total of 65.2 kms of provincial roads and 154 kms of barangay roads have already been completed and are ongoing.
The governor aims to have 80-90 percent of the over 800 kilometers of barangay road networks to be concreted.
Better road access for Cebuanos is one of the Garcia administration’s priorities.
“Kay nasayod man ta ang dan gyud mao’y labing importante aron mabuhi ang ekonomiya diha. Dili mulambo ang negosyo kon labihang gubaa ang dan ug naglubaklubak,” she said.
Of the P15 billion budget for 2021, P8 billion goes to infrastructure projects. This covers road improvements and concreting, waterworks system, and others.
Aside from roads, Garcia also aims to develop Level 3 waterworks system in the Province.
The Province now has an ongoing water development project in Carmen, Argao, Moalboal, Badian, Pinamungajan, and Pilar towns and more will be developed in other local government units.
“Kahibawo ko ang naminaw ron nga mga Sugbuanon nga kadtong uhaw gyud kaayo og tubig moingon, ‘Gov, ang amo sad tawon diri.’ Trust me kabasa ko ana pero taga-i lang ko og gamay nga panahon kay di man ko superwoman bisan pa og unsa’y itawag ninyo nako. Ug worst, di pud superman, superwoman ang atong contractors,” she said.
She emphasized that there is also a process in the implementation of projects that need to be followed.
“So, we are working as fast as we can within the framework and structures of existing government rules and regulations. Our target really is, dili man tingali makumpleto nato ang tanan apan masulbad nato to a greater degree ang problema sa mga tawo sa tubig,” she added. (Mylen Manto)