Sunday, April 11, 2010

PAST GOVERNORS HAD THEIR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

Gwen is not the “BEST GOVERNOR OF CEBU” as the Province of Cebu website pathetically and immodestly claims. In the first place, I think it is a little over the top to actually put it on your profile on a public website, no less, and claim that you are the best governor Cebu has ever had. Well, Gwen Garcia, let me direct your attention to some facts from the past that would prove that you, truly, are not the best governor of Cebu.


I remember a small piece of article from 1914 when Argao’s municipal president, Don Antonio Miñoza, was punished by the provincial governor of Cebu because Miñoza insisted on building an intermediate school when the governor wanted to build it for Argao himself. Egotistical reasons aside, the fight caused such a raucous that the Governor-General of the Philippines stepped in to mediate. In the end, peace was established between the municipal president of Argao and Cebu provincial governor. And the good thing was, Argao was able to get the best intermediate school ever built in the entire south of Cebu at that time. (See Felix Miñoza, Sr.’s Brief History of Argao, Samson A. Lucero’s Argao: Glimpses of Its Past, and Bureau of Public Works, Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 3, Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1912-1913).


In the 20s, the national government directed provincial governments and municipal officials to establish Puericulture centers or hospitals in each town to guarantee safe and proper childbirths around the Philippines. All governors of the Philippines enthusiastically poured money for healthcare. For instance, in 1926, Cebu’s governor, Gov. Roa, gave financial aid to every town that had a hospital or puericulture. Richer towns, like Argao, received both municipal and provincial funding. For instance, a big chunk of Argao’s budget, P300.00, was given to its maternity house. The Province gave Argao another P150.00 as additional funding. Poorer towns like Aloguinsan, whose local government did not have enough money, received a bigger allotment from the Governor – P200.00 for Alonguisan’s puericulture center. A year later, the municipal government of Argao increased the funding to P500.00 (about 15% of the local government’s budget) while the governor gave P1,400.00 in funding. (See Acts of the Philippine Legislature, Manila Bureau of Printing, 1921 and Bureau of Health Reports (1926, 1927, 1930, and 1931).


Many years later, during the term of Governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, Cebu experienced a real economic boom, most experts would say, which also benefited his successors. While income generation for the province of Cebu was Osmeña’s priority, he also did not forget to pay special attention to the basic needs of the Cebuanos. During his term, from 1988 to 1992, Aside from health care, he was also responsible for the Water Distribution Program in the entire island, making water available to 90% of the population, as opposed to the 56% before his incumbency.


Governor Garcia may boast all the time that she has made Cebu the best province of the Philippines. She is several years late. Lito Osmeña already did this many years ago. And, unlike Gwen Garcia, Lito Osmeña knew what priorities the province should have in terms of projects. Although he was not perfect, the wasting of public funds was kept at a minimum. With Gwen, well, it would seem that the public’s money is her money, too.


In the past, the mayor and the governor would fight over who gets to build schools and hospitals for the people. Regardless of their reasons, at least they were fighting for the basic needs of the people, like education and health.


In the past, when the government had lesser money, why was the province of Cebu able to increase funding for Argao’s hospital from P150.00 in 1926 to P1,400.00 in 1927? Why was the municipio able to allocate 15% of its total budget to its hospital in 1927, but today only 1% of its budget goes to medical needs? Why can’t Gwen and Mayor Edsel Galeos do the same? Oh, right. She said she wants to abolish District Hospitals. Oh right. Mayor Edsel Galeos has many more roads to build.

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