THE Municipality of Balamban completed more than 30 infrastructure projects in 2023 worth over P120 million combined, including the concreting of barangay roads, according to its top official.
On Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, Mayor Ace Stefan Binghay reported that 33 projects had been completed in the midwestern Cebu town last year.
Accounting for the largest chunks of the P124.96 million allocated budget for these projects was the P32.7 million for the construction of flood-control structures in the town and the P18.37 million for the concreting of barangay roads in all of the town’s 28 barangays.
The 14 upper barangays were allocated a road concreting budget of P6.93 million at P495,000 per barangay, while the 14 lower barangays received a road concreting budget of P6.44 million or P460,000 per barangay. Listed separately was the concreting of the barangay road from Buhingtubig to Butong-Buanoy for P5 million.
In his report, Binghay noted that although the concreting of roads in the 14 upper barangays had been listed under the 2023 completed projects list, concreting was actually still ongoing in five of the barangays.
Balamban is known as the shipbuilding capital of the country, as it hosts some of the world’s biggest shipbuilding firms like Austal Philippines, Tsuneishi Heavy Industries and Advance Catamaran Composites.
But it had a population of only 95,136 in 2020, according to the 2020 Census of the Philippine Statistics Authority. In its website, the town placed its projected population for 2024 at 102,373.
However, this number could rise quickly in the coming years with the planned transfer of the Capitol from Cebu City to Balamban. The Department of Public Works and Highways has already begun work on the foundations of the Cebu Provincial Government Center there.
Rehabilitation was a big theme in last year’s project spending, accounting for more than P30 million of the Balamban’s infrastructure budget.
According to Binghay, P11 million was the budget for the civil works for the rehabilitation of the Baywalk Park Building in Poblacion, P8.5 million for the rehabilitation of the Fish Market Building in Poblacion (P5 million for civil works and P3.5 million for Phase 2 of the rehabilitation), P4 million for the rehabilitation of the E.S. Binghay Cultural Center in Poblacion, and P2.63 million for the rehabilitation of the flood control structure damaged by Typhoon Odette (Rai) in Riverside Camaanggahan in Barangay Buanoy.
Also rehabilitated was the Balamban Bus Terminal for P2 million and the pig pen at the slaughterhouse area in Poblacion for P300,000.
In line with the repair and rehabilitation of road networks in the mountain barangays and barangay roads affected by Typhoon Odette, a slope protection structure was built in Barangay Luca for P2 million, while the road network in Barangay Matun-og was repaired for P1.5 million.
The town also saw new structures built.
The Archives and Dialysis Center in Poblacion was built for P10.2 million (P2 million for Phase 1 and P8.2 million for Phase 2), the Highway Patrol Group and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Office beside the Philippine National Police Building in Poblacion for P1.67 million, Building 2 of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Barangay Baliwagan for P1.43 million, and the Dog Pound Building beside the Warehouse Building in Poblacion for P1.15 million.
Other buildings that were already standing didn’t get left behind as they also got either a sprucing up or improvements.
Binghay said the Municipal Hall in Poblacion was improved for P2.1 million, with an urban garden installed for the beautification of its roof deck for a separate P519,000.
Also in Poblacion, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Building had a second floor expansion for P1.79 million, and the Gender and Development Building (holding area for young violators) was improved for P420,000.
Flood control projects and canals figured prominently among the completed projects in 2023.
Flood control structures were built in Barangay Cabagdalan for P26 million (P16 million in Sitio Unidos and P10 million in Sitio Proper), at the Abucayan River in Barangay Abucayan for P5 million, and in Sitio Guya, Barangay Prenza for P1.7 million.
Reinforced concrete canals with cover were built on J. Gonzales St. in Barangay Baliwagan (Phases 1 and 2) for P9.65 million, E.S. Binghay St. in Barangay Baliwagan for P1.8 million and Sitio Lamac in Barangay Pondol for P1.65 million.
A reinforced concrete canal was also built at the Public Market in Poblacion (Phase 1) for P6.5 million.
Health and education
Aside from infrastructure project construction, Binghay also reported on the services provided to his constituents in 2023.
In the matter of health programs and activities, he said P14.12 million had been allocated, of which the supplemental feeding of 551 malnourished children accounted for P3.93 million, health consultations by 28,764 patients accounted for P3.88 billion, and the provision of family commodities to 5,278 women of reproductive age accounted for P2.5 million of the budget.
Rounding up the top five expenditures for health programs were the provision of anti-rabies vaccines to 1,404 patients for P1.03 million and the screening of 478 newborns for P875,000.
To help in the education of 20,800 public school students, the town gave P7.99 million worth of school supplies for free.
In the area of agriculture, Binghay said 12,535 beneficiaries received P877,840 worth of free agricultural services.
Half of the budget for agricultural services or P430,840 went to 4,550 beneficiaries who received veterinary medicines such as animal dewormers, vitamins, antibiotics and the anti-rabies vaccine.
Eighty beneficiaries received nursery tools and materials for bamboo seedling production worth a total of P100,000, 35 beneficiaries received tilapia feeds worth a total of P99,000, while 7,510 beneficiaries received vegetable seeds worth a total of P84,000.
The town also allocated P80,000 to give 31 farmers fertilizer for rice production and P50,000 to give also 31 beneficiaries certified (inbred) rice seeds.
On the matter of social welfare, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of the town used P24 million for the provision of services in 2023.
The bulk, or P9.74 million, went to programs and services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD), followed by P8.81 million for children and youth, P3.76 million for individuals and families in crisis situations, and P1.72 million for women and family welfare.
Over 83 percent of the budget for the elderly and PWD programs last year went toward having them enjoy the Christmas season, as P8.1 million was used to give cheer to 8,100 residents under the “Pinaskohan ni Lolo ug Lola” (Christmas gift of Grandfather and Grandmother) program.
The Christmas gift was separate from the P641,056 used by the MSWDO to give 6,164 senior citizens and PWDs two kilograms of commercial rice and 3,082 beneficiaries two cans of beef loaf during the Hatud Pangalagad food distribution.
As for the P8.81 million budget for children and youth welfare programs, a similar proportion went towards a single program, as P7.46 million was used for the supplementing feeding program of 1,805 children three to five years old in the day care service program.
Nearly P749,000 was also used to help rescued minors, children in need of special protection, and children in conflict with the law.
Under the programs for individuals and families in crisis situation, the MSWDO used up P453,723.78 to give medical assistance to 406 people, and P367,907 to give 211 people burial cash assistance.
Finally, the mayor reported that 24 barangays had availed of free services worth P2.09 million offered by the Hatud Pangalagad Program.