Election 2016: Agenda of the Masbate governor
The INQUIRER is coming out today with the 23rd of its series on pressing people’s concerns that should be high on the agenda of candidates for representative, governor or mayor in the May 9 elections. The series should help voters in the provinces choose their leaders wisely. In line with our “ThINQ. Vote.” advocacy, we have asked candidates in certain provinces, cities and congressional districts to outline their concrete plans of action in dealing with specific issues in their areas.
CONCERN 1: POVERTY
EASING LIFE OF THE POOR. Masbate has been consistently among the poorest provinces in the country, with poverty incidence pegged at above 40 percent. How would your administration ease the living conditions of poor Masbateños?
Narciso Bravo Jr. (National Unity Party)
- Boost tourism in the province so it will generate employment, [boost] growth of the service sector … drive economic growth and cultural exchange.
- Introduce different livelihood projects by facilitating training that would provide skills to out-of-school youth, undergraduates and the unemployed.
- Provide the poor with tools and equipment that can be used in their choice of livelihood.
- Address water supply problem.
Mercy R. Cabiles (Independent)
- Coordinate with the public-private partnership (PPP) of the government and seek aid from the international community to finance projects on renewable energy, potable water, farm-to-market roads connected to the nautical highways, health and educational facilities, and modernization of airports and port terminals.
- Tap the ecotourism potential of the province to generate job and business opportunities.
- Intensify anticorruption drive to transform Masbate into a business-friendly province to attract local and foreign investments.
- Establish an agricultural and multipurpose cooperative in every town.
CONCERN 2: PEACE AND ORDER
ENDING VIOLENCE. Deteriorating peace and order conditions turn away potential investors and sow fear among the citizens. How can you make Masbate conducive to investments, where people can roam freely and conduct their daily business without worrying about their safety?
- Create and implement effective measures that would promote peace … to eliminate Masbate from the list of election hotspots.
- Strengthen crusade against illegal drugs and other vices and crime by strengthening civilian intelligence network.
- Ensure police visibility.
- Create a multiagency task force, led by the governor and composed of law enforcement agencies, nongovernment and people’s organizations, the Church and the academe, to intensify the campaign against private armies, illegal drugs and other social problems.
- Equip the police with more patrol cars and incentives, and increase police visibility to address crime.
CONCERN 3: ENVIRONMENT
PROTECTING RESOURCES. Masbate is blessed with a rich coastal environment, a wildlife sanctuary in Cawayan, a natural park in Batuan, and rich agricultural lands and mineral resources. What are your priority programs to preserve or protect these resources from poachers and overexploitation?
- Educate people by stressing the adverse effect of degrading the environment by transforming policies into action.
- Sustain efforts to protect our coastal ecosystem.
- Continued implementation of Republic Act No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act).
- Undertake reforestation activities.
- Stop illegal fishing.
- Implement national and local laws on environment through a multi-agency task force.
- Proper utilization, management, development and rehabilitation of aquatic and natural resources.
- Ensure the safety of every Masbateño from all threats of natural and manmade disasters through the implementation of disaster preparedness, mitigation and adaptation, response, recovery and rehabilitation activities.
(Editor’s Note: The Inquirer sent the same set of questions to two other gubernatorial candidates—dismissed Gov. Rizalina Leachon-Lanete of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and former Gov. Antonio Kho of the Nacionalista Party—in February and April. The candidates, through their staff members, promised to respond, but the Inquirer had not received their statements as of press time.)
Interviews by Juan Escandor Jr.