Election 2016: Agenda of the Samar governor
The INQUIRER is coming out today with the last 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. Interviews by Joey A. Gabieta
Profile: Samar province
Samar is one of the three provinces on Samar Island. It became a separate province on June 21, 1969, when the island was divided into three—Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
The province, connected to Leyte province by the San Juanico Bridge, is bounded on the north by Northern Samar, Eastern Samar on the east, Leyte Gulf on the south and Samar Sea on the west.
Samar is home to one of Asia’s biggest karst caves, the Lagon-Gobingub Cave in Calbiga town. It produced Eastern Visayas’ last senator—Decoroso Rosales—in the 1950s.
Land area: 6,048.03 square kilometers
Cities: Catbalogan and Calbayog
Total population: 733,777 (2010
Registered voters: 490,421 (2016)
Population density: 120 persons per sq km
Classification: First class
CONCERN 1: POVERTY
14TH POOREST. With a staggering poverty incidence of 49.5 percent, Samar is the country’s 14th poorest province. Majority of the people depend on agriculture and fishing, which sustained heavy damage during Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan). How will you address poverty if elected governor?
Sharee Ann Tan, Nationalist People’s Coalition
- Construct circumferential roads for easy transport of goods and services from remote barangays.
- Build concrete roads and construct seaports.
- Continue helping farmers and fishermen by providing high-quality seeds, stocks and fingerlings, and postharvest and irrigation facilities and fishing gear, among others.
- Invite investors to create employment.
Emil Soza, Liberal Party
- Build more farm-to-market roads and forge a private-public partnership to construct better infrastructure.
- Implement programs to help farmers.
- Implement the Samar economic program and Samar investment code as blueprints for economic programs.
- Open opportunities in agribusiness and ecotourism.
- Provide tax incentives for investors.
- Implement the Samar Development Program for the comprehensive development of the province
CONCERN 2: PEACE AND ORDER
AREA OF CONCERN. The province has been perennially included in the list of the country’s areas of concern during elections due to, among others, presence of private armed groups and the New People’s Army rebels and intense political rivalries. How would you address the problem of peace and order?
- Support the dismantling of private armed groups and declaration of Samar as an insurgency-free province
- Train a specialized force of the Philippine National Police to counter movements of private armed groups
- Address cases of killings and establish a paralegal group to help victims
- Arrest individuals with outstanding arrest warrants, goons and criminals
CONCERN 3: HEALTH SERVICES
NO MEDICAL FACILITIES. Samar has one of the worst services when it comes to health and medical needs. It lacks health facilities, especially in remote areas. Those needing medical treatment have to travel all the way to Tacloban City in Leyte or even outside Eastern Visayas. How do you intend to improve the health services of Samar?
- Build a Samar Provincial Hospital that will have modern facilities and a bed capacity of 250
- Improve district hospitals
- Push for universal PhilHealth coverage, which is now at 96 percent
- Continue providing medical services in far-flung villages whose residents cannot afford to go to hospitals
- Improve medical services in LGU-run hospitals by providing trained personnel and adequate supplies of medicines
- Provide preventive services and diagnostic examinations
- Promote traditional medicine and put up herbal gardens across the province
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