IHELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, Protection of the Environment)
The provincial government is today concentrating its development and poverty alleviation efforts in five (5) areas: infrastructure, health, education, livelihood, and protection of the environment. It aims at focusing investments - public and private, in these spheres as the main avenues of progress balanced between people welfare and substantive physical development.
Infrastructure, where we appropriated One Hundred Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P 118,500,00.00), is a key factor in driving growth and development. AS Public goods, availability of quality infrastructural facilities assists in mobilizing private investments by reducing the magnitude of required investments. Infrastructure, especially transport and connectivity, is crucial for development. It is acknowledged that there have been major shortcomings in the delivery of infrastructure services. Backlogs in infrastructure delivery are still very high and are particularly severe in rural areas. The infrastructure component of the I-HELP Program will therefore place great emphasis on the development of new and the rehabilitation of existing roads and acquisition of heavy and light equipment for the construction and maintenance of the provincial, municipal and barangay roads. Clean drinking water is another integral component of the strategies for reducing poverty and achieving better quality of life in the rural communities. With only 69% of our total provincial households having access to safe drinking water, increasing access to it and the improvement of rural water systems from hand pumps and open wells to more elaborate systems are included in our topmost priorities. We hope that our investments in water supply system for 2014 will greatly lessen the number of households that have yet to acquire the basic needs essential for healthy living like safe drinking, water.
Two Hundred Twenty-Five Million One Hundred Sixty-Five Thousand Pesos (P 225,165,000.00) is invested on Health and other Social Services component contained three (3) critical aspects: 1.) Provincial/District/Municipal hospitals need to be upgraded to effectively perform competitive services with the private hospitals; 2.) Social Health Insurance (Philhealth Cards) need to expand its coverage to family heads with monthly family income less than Php 12,000.00; 3.) Provision of free medicine to municipal/district hospitals and rural health units to be provided to patients with Philhealth Cards.
We also put considerable investment to help improve access, quality and efficiency of our public education system. Our proposed investment in the education component of One Hundred Thirty One Million Pesos (P 131,000,000.00) include the construction of school buildings and classrooms in barangays with classroom shortages and the provision of tuition assistance to deserving students enrolled in technical courses in the two (2) state universities of the Province and other technical & vocational schools.
The Livelihood Component, with a total appropriation of Fifty-Two Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P 52,800,000.00), is aimed at uplifting the income of the vulnerable families. Strengthening rural livelihoods will not only provide income to our rural households but will also promote a more vibrant local economic development. Our investment in the livelihood programs will focus on the extension of low-interest small loans to qualified borrowers. Assistance will also be extended to farmers and fishermen in terms of equipment, skills and capital to increase their income and productivity. Capital assistance will also be provided along the areas of tree crop farming (coffee, cacao and rubber) and in the production of palay.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE & ORDER PROGRAM
Our priority in the protection of Palawan’s environment and natural resources is on the establishment of tree plantations utilizing gmelina and ipil-ipil species. This approach will address a combined purpose of re-establishing our forest as well as providing livelihood to our upland dwellers more particularly the kaingeros. Ipil-ipil and gmelina will assure us of an adequate supply of timber, fuelwood and the materials for the production of echo-charcoal by our upland dwellers. For the protection of the environment, we have appropriated Sixty Million Six Hundred Five Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Eight Pesos (P 60,605,998.00).