Gracing her 9th Lanzones Festival as guest of honor and speaker throughout her nine-year term as Chief Executive, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the province of Camiguin which is famous for its sweet-tasting lanzones in the country.
In her speech, the President acknowledged the support of Camiguin Representative Pedro Romualdo and Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo for the assistance extended to their fellow Camiguingnons victimized by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in Metro Manila and Rizal province.
She encouraged the victims who opted not to return to their endangered residential areas to avail of the government’s Balik Probinsiya program. It “entails the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) providing transportation and other assistance to families desiring to start anew in the province or city of their choice. Aside from transportation, they are provided with food supply good for one month and household items such as beddings and clothing,” President Arroyo said.
Upon reaching their choice of destination, Balik Probinsiya beneficiaries will be assisted by various government agencies to help them get started in their livelihood program, such as the Department of Agriculture (DA) for farm implements and seedlings, DOLE for employment or micro finance to start a small business.
The National Housing Authority (NHA), on the other hand, “is providing cash assistance equivalent to sixty days times the minimum wage to families they involuntarily relocate,” the President added.
During the program, President Arroyo awarded a check worth half a million pesos to the local government of Mambajao for the hiring of more than a hundred workers tasked to clean-up the canals, plaza and shoreline of the province for twenty-two days. This is under the Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that reached its 300,000th milestone benefitting 375,000 people. Aside from the workers, CLEEP has helped the Mambajao Women’s Association in starting their buko pie making business, as well as the town of Tagdao in their virgin coconut oil production.
The President also distributed twenty-five Certificates of Training to the second batch of Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) trainees to the five municipalities of Camiguin. The program will deploy five nurse-trainees in each municipality and each trainee will receive a monthly allowance plus additional stipend from the local government of Camiguin and group insurance benefits.
After the program, President Arroyo proceeded to the Camiguin Tourism Center and led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the Agro-Industrial Technology Trade Fair featuring various exhibits.
She also inaugurated the newly-renovated Mambajao Public Market which was built at a cost of ten million pesos. With the improvement of the market originally built in 1936, the local government aims to transform the business center of Mambajao in the coming years. (NFB/RJU)