NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson revealed the achievements of his administration's platform anchored on "Abanse Negrense" because of concerted efforts of the provincial officials despite the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the country for more than a year now in his second State of the Province Address (Sopa) before members of the Provincial Board Tuesday, August 24.
"Today, against the backdrop of a pandemic, Negrenses can ask for assistance and report any emergency anywhere in the province. As of date, because of our Digitized Health and Emergency Management, our 24 hour 911 emergency line has been responding to an average of 2500 calls a day. Our One Hospital Command, with 9 provincial hospitals, translated to an efficient emergency response, with the upgraded patient referral system and coordination with emergency responders and hospital management. Because of this, Negrenses need not scramble for emergency response and hospital vacancies," Lacson said.
He added that the Province has established a second molecular laboratory at the Valladolid District Hospital.
“With two molecular laboratories in the province, we are more equipped to curb the spread of Covid-19 through a faster turnaround time in the detection of the Covid infection. Our first molecular laboratory in the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital has a capacity of running 1,500 tests a day, making it the top molecular laboratory in the Negros Island in terms of testing capacity. Our Tuberculosis Culture Laboratory, remains to be the top national awardee for two consecutive years,” he said.
“Knowing the plight of our displaced OFWs, we created the ‘Scholarship for the Children of Non-Returning OFWs’ so that their children can continue their college education. Also, to equip our educators under the new normal, 100 Senior High School teachers from different DepED Divisions in the province were trained on computer science, programming concepts, and CS fundamentals. 181 trainers from different Technical Vocational Schools in the province were trained on the use of GSuites for Education, conducted in partnership with DICT Negros Occidental,” he added.
“Driven by our goal of creating job opportunities despite the pandemic, 388 graduates of NOLITC's Contact Services Course gained employment after training. And of course, as we are among the few provinces who remain ASF Free, our P6 billion worth swine industry is still protected. We are first in Western Visayas in terms of swine, carabao, goat and broiler and layer production,” Lacson said.
"These are just few of the results of our concerted efforts. As what I previously said, right now we are being tested in a manner without precedent. The course of action we are going to take will not just go down in history, it shall determine our future, - as leaders, as public servants, as a people and as a province," he added.
The governor said that despite the pandemic and the uncertainty it brought, the Provincial Government, as represented by the different offices and departments, was able to deliver the duties of their offices and by their development agenda, Abanse Negrense, spelled in terms of A, for Agriculture & Food Security; B for Building Infrastructure, Roads and other structures; A for Advancement of Economic, Trade, Investment and Employment Opportunities; N for Nurturing Public Health; S for Sustainable Environmental Management & Tourism development, E for Education, Culture, Sports & ICT; and the last N for Negrense brand of Good Governance and Human Development.
For agriculture and food security, the governor cited accomplishments on irrigation projects, including 14 irrigation projects, distribution of rice where under the Rice Resiliency Program, more than P24 Million worth of hybrid seeds and fertilizers were distributed to 10,893 farmer beneficiaries covering an area of 11,264.11 hectares.
The Province of Negros Occidental through OPA received awards, namely, the Best Performing Province in Crop Insurance Initiatives and Innovations, Certificate of Registration for NFOTeC as TESDA recognized Farm School, and Certificate of Recognition for attaining the highest yield across all ecosystems in the region during the third quarter of year 2020, Lacson cited.
Lacson also emphasized the gains of his administration in Organic Farming Development and Promotions, stressing that Negros Occidental remained ASF-free.
"We have established veterinary quarantine checkpoints in various entry points in the northern and southern part of the province, and the Provincial ASF Task force has apprehended over P4 million worth of products weighing 8.122 metric tons of assorted chicken, pork, beef and other meat products. We rank first in Western Visayas in terms of swine, carabao, goat and broiler and layer production, and rank third in cattle production," he said.
Lacson also highlighted various infrastructure and road concreting projects all over the province, including public markets in various LGUs. A total of P120 million were allocated for infrastructure projects in LGUs, and P24 million for the rehabilitation of provincial roads, bridges and minor structures.
Lacson said Mambukal Resort was designated as the quarantine / healing center of the province since March 19, 2020. To date, about 1,479 PUMs and confirmed cases have been accommodated following the DOH quarantine protocols.
"We continue to provide free out-patient consultation, medical assistance, and other services in government hospitals with NOCHP. We have upgraded our system so that more Negrenses in the marginalized sector can benefit from the program," Lacson said.
From July to December last year, more than nine thousand patients availed themselves of NOCHP services amounting to P10,679,277. For the first seven months of this year, a total of 5,906 patients have availed themselves of NOCHP services from the different government hospitals amounting to P4,036,107.
Lacson also reported that Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) Molecular Laboratory in Silay City has achieved a 100 percent passing rate in the 2021 External Quality Assessment on Sars-COV-2 Detection by Real-Time PCR conducted by the DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
The Negros Occidental's second Covid-19 Molecular Laboratory in partnership with Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc. at the Provincial Government-run Valladolid District Hospital.
"I am happy to report that we have a declining number of Covid-19 active cases in the province," Lacson said.
As of August 21, 2021 (from March 27, 2020), the province has a total of 22,241 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Of these cases, 606 are active, 21,049 have recovered, and only 586 have died.
As to the Covid-19 vaccination status, the Provincial Government has given a total dose of 292,317 as of August 8, 2021. The fully vaccinated individuals are 154,331, while those due for their second doses are 60,391 individuals. The total population with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine is 214,722 which is 11.76 percent of the 70 percent target population.
“We have increased vigilance due to the threat of Delta, Lambda, and other variants in the Region, that is why bio-surveillance is being stepped up for the monitoring of the potential presence and spread of other more harmful Covid variants. Swab samples that meet certain criteria are being sent to the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center for sequencing,” Lacson said.
He also gave emphasis of his administration's achievements in sustainable Environment Management and Tourism Development, Scholarship Program, Gender and Development.
"We have launched and pioneered the Digitized Health and Emergency Management in July this year, which aims to effectively and efficiently deliver health and emergency services to Negrenses utilizing an advanced platform accessible to the public,” he said.
The program consists of integration of three services of the Provincial Government that include the Negros Occidental Emergency 911, One Hospital Command, and Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program (NOCHP).
The Provincial Administrator's office has also facilitated Covid-19-related travels, coordinated all scheduled incoming flights with Airlines, Provincial DRRM and LGUs, and supervised S-PASS approval for inbound travelers, Lacson revealed.
"My fellow Negrenses, please know that our different departments have achieved more than what I have highlighted in the report. The accord and cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches of the Provincial Government proved to be enormously constructive and beneficial for the people of Negros Occidental, especially in our efforts to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis," Lacson said.