Monday, July 16, 2007

Courtesy Calls

Since I am a freshman member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, I thought to visit all the provincial offices and pay the public officers there a courtesy call. i thought it was a good excuse to introduce myself and to get to know them. I started paying them a visit in June. I'm almost finished, with a just a couple of offices left.

I visited the Provincial Engineer. I learned about the President's Bridge Program wherein foreign countries would donate building materials for bridges. The problem was, even with free bridge parts, the cost of constructing them was expensive because of the specifications of those parts. For example, there are two bridges waiting to be replaced in Adams town. According to the provincial engineer the building materials are ready. In fact, they're already in the bodega. Di pa nila masimulan-simulan yung tulay dahil mahal yung pagkagawa. DAHIL pang-national highway yung design. Eh provincial road lang to. The thing is, the foreign government gave us building materials for a national highway. meaning, pang-national highway din yung cost of constructing. Kaya hindi masimulan-simulan. its too expensive.

I also met the Provincial Legal Officer, the Provincial Population Officer, and the Provincial Welfare Officer. The latter's problem was the lack of any rehabilitation center for troubled teens, battered wives and abandoned senior citizens, despite numerous laws providing for such. As usual, it's all about the money... or the lack thereof.

I paid a visit to the Provincial Budget Officer, the Accountant and the Treasurer. I found out that the province was very dependent on its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share. Of the 470 million peso budget of the province, 390 million comes from IRA. Meaning the province only earns 80 million from local resources. Thats a little over 1/4 of the budget. 75% of the province's expenses and projects come from the National Government?! What does that say of decentralization and devolution of powers? How about self-sustenance? Well, we definitely cannot depend solely on dole-outs from Malacanang. We have to make our own income.

I likewise visited the General Services Officer, and the Provincial Warden. I learned that not all has been devolved to the LGUs. For example, the provincial jail is not the only office that handles inmates. There still exists the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), an office of the National Government, that operate its own jail system in the province. Talk about confusion. May sari-sariling jurisdictions mga yan within the province.

I talked to the Provincial Agriculturist and the Provincial Veterinarian. I learned that we don't have enough eggs in the province and that we need to import them. I learned that most dogs in the area have not been given anti-rabies shots and that something has to be done about this before a tourist is bitten.

I learned a lot of things. Obviously, I can't right them all down (for security reasons).

To those who I interviewed, pestered and asked stupid questions, sorry sa istorbo. thank you for patience and your time. God bless our civil servants.

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