Ikaw na ang taga Infanta!!!
This is a forwarded msg or news from my friend and former colleague Amb. Tong Dizon about my hometown of Infanta, Quezon.
If some of you may recall, I launched a book in Quezon City in 2002 about Infanta´s history, people, customs, progress and problems titled: "Labong ng Kawayan (Walking thourgh the pathways and streets of Infanta)". Ka Amba Johny Ona, Amba Cesar Pastores, the late Amba Pabling Araque, et al were kind enough to attend said book launching. Publication of said book and book launching were made possible through the cooperation of Mila Glodava and Metro Infanta Foundation, Arvada, Texas, U.S.A.
Am glad to know that the people and town leaders are making efforts to make that little town behind the Sierra Madre mountains along the edge of the blue Pacific Ocean overcome problems natural and man-made.
P.S. Amba Tong: Thanks for sharing with me the news about my hometown. RAA
Newsbreak file photo taken from the disaster site, January 2005.
Often visited by natural calamities, this town in Quezon is recognized this year for sustained efforts at, well, disaster preparedness and - surprise - fiscal independence.
By JESUS F. LLANTO
The town of Infanta in Quezon province has seen too many typhoons, floods, and landslides. They just have to be expected every year along the country's typhoon belt where the municipality is located.
In November and December 2004, for example, floods brought by typhoons Winnie and Yoyong destroyed P103 million worth of agricultural crops and caused P300 million in damages to infrastructure. The disaster killed at least 170 people and left thousands homeless.
. After The Storm
Infanta refused to wallow in devastation, though, and designed a disaster management program that required the participation of its residents. It is one of the 10 best practices in local governance that Galing Pook Foundation, a network of multi-sectoral organizations, acknowledged recently in its annual awards.
Infanta's disaster management program trains residents how to respond appropriately to disasters and emergencies. Drills are conducted, communication and early warning systems are installed, and investments are made in flood control equipment and in river rehabilitation efforts.
However, Infanta is being recognized this year for a more impressive accomplishment-increasing its revenues and reducing its dependence on the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government from 2004 to 2006.
It received from Galing Pook the first ever Special Citation for Local Fiscal Management.
Infanta's local collection grew by 41.19 percent in 2006, while non-tax collection increased by 56 percent.
Infanta is a second-class municipality, which means it has an annual local income ranging from more than P40 million to less than P50 million. Its locally-generated revenues account for 14.71 percent of total revenues. Non-tax revenues account for 8 percent of total revenues, compared to the national average of 6.52 percent.
Its IRA dependence declined from 83 percent to 81 percent.
The IRA is the share of the local government units from the taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Poor local government units (LGUs) depend heavily on their IRA share to finance their operational costs and the delivery of basic services.
"Infanta has been challenged by physical disasters and to be able to accomplish so much deserves recognition," the citation for fiscal management reads.
Creative projects cited
Galing Pook also awarded nine programs that included housing, health insurance for the poor, assistance to farmers, and fund for watershed protection. These projects were carried out by four municipalities, five cities, a province, and an association of five neighbor-municipalities in North Cotabato.
Eddie Dorotan, executive director of Galing Pook and former mayor of Irosin, Sorsogon, said the awards are given to LGU projects that are "creative, participatory, has positive impact, and sustainable in the long terms."
The nine other winning programs are:
Health insurance for the indigents of Bindoy, Negros Oriental. Poor families are provided Philhealth coverage by paying only P120 a year or by rendering community service.
. Las Piñas City's housing program for the poor.
. Naga City's internship program that trains young leaders by allowing them to hold executive and legislative positions in the city.
. Cebu City's village mediation program, where volunteers provide off-court resolution to disputes involving neighbors and petty crimes.
. San Carlos City's fund for watershed protection. Citizens pay 75 centavos for every cubic meter of water they consume. The collection goes to a fund for reforestation.
. Isabela province's subsidy for farmers that plant rice and corn.
. Marikina City's Eco-Savers program that involves children in waste segregation and recycling. Recyclables are sold and give children points that allow them to buy educational materials from a mobile store.
. Munggo beans production in San Mateo, Isabela. It provides alternative livelihood to rice farmers during summer.
. PALMA, an alliance of five municipalities in North Cotabato that pooled resources to rehabilitate and build roads.
"These exemplary practices show that legal governance is alive and well in the country," said Galing Pook chair and former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela. "Their stories demonstrate that transparency, accountability, professional management, and responsive service delivery are the best way to win the people's trust and secure their active participation."
(First posted: 2/26/2008 11:11:00 a.m.)