Next 3 years turning point for Negros, governor says

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson takes his oath before Judge Amy Alabado Avellano of the San Carlos City Regional Trial Court in the presence of his son Leandro Lacson and nieces Maria Sarina Lacson-Balatayo and Ma. Ellyca Denise Lacson.*Ronnie Baldonado photo

The next three years will be a decisive period and a major turning point for Negros Occidental, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said Saturday, June 25.

“We will rebuild Negros Occidental not according to what has been, but as it should be,” Lacson said in his inaugural speech after taking his oath as governor for a second term at rites at the Capitol grounds in Bacolod City.

Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, and provincial board members – Rommel Debulgado and Araceli Somosa – 1st District, Sixto Guanzon Jr. and Samson Mirhan – 2nd District, Manuel Frederick Ko and Andrew Montelibano – 3rd District, Jose Benito Alonso and Andrew Martin Torres – 4th District, Rita Gatuslao and Anthony Occeño – 5th District, and Valentino Miguel Alonso and Jeffrey Tubola – 6th District also took their oaths Saturday.

“Our country’s long standing fight against poverty, unemployment, lawlessness, substance abuse, climate change and the recent global crisis caused by COVID-19, demand no less than our united and absolute cooperation and accord,” Lacson said.

Given the lessons of the past three years during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lacson said the provincial government will fully implement the Universal Health Care Program.

The Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital will be converted from Level 2 to Level 3 to accommodate up to 300 in-patients, he said.

It will be the provincial government’s premier hospital, fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, Lacson added.

The Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City and Cadiz District Hospital will also be upgraded from Level l to Level 2, to serve up to 100 inpatients each, he said.

The equipment and infra facilities of the provincial government’s eight other district hospitals will also be modernized, Lacson said.

The Provincial Health Office and Hospital Operations Department will work to synchronize the delivery of both preventive and curative medical health care services to be more effective and cost-efficient, he said.

All local government units will also be urged to adopt the One Hospital Command program to further simplify the process of providing residents with rescue and medical interventions in times of emergency, he added.

Lacson said the provincial government will also establish Centers for Children in Situation of Armed Conflict, Children in Conflict with the Law or the Bahay Pag-asa and a half-way house for rebel returnees.

It will also operationalize the sectoral offices for solo parents, local youth development, senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women, he added.

The provincial government will support the Early Childhood Care and Development law, by leading the accreditation of pre-school private learning centers to ensure that quality education services are extended to early grade learners, he said.

It will also improve the services of the provincial government-owned and managed Negros Occidental Development Center for Women and Children, a residential home for abused women and children by letting house parents focus their attention on the welfare and rehabilitation of their clients, he added.


Lacson said the provincial government will also expand the scope of services of the Provincial Disaster and Management Office through the One Hospital Command, Emergency Rescue 911 and Command and Response Center.

He also said the set-up of Automated Early Warning System will be improved with the installation of repeaters in critical areas of Local Government Units.

The provincial government will also organize a summit for all disaster stakeholders in the province for a unified disaster response protocol, Lacson said.


Lacson also said education will remain a top priority.

The provincial government will continue to expand its scholarship programs to make them more inclusive and accessible to all sectors, particularly the underprivileged, he said.

He said for the next three years the provincial government will offer scholarships for the dependents of non-returning and displaced OFWs, barangay leaders, Barangay Health Workers, persons with disabilities, and children of former rebel returnees.

The Negros Occidental Language, Information and Technology Center Global Campus in Talisay will also be fully operational by next year, Lacson said.

It is expected to train more young college undergraduates and out-of school youths to equip them for work in the Business Process Out-sourcing industry, he said.

Lacson also said the provincial government will fully support the return to school program that will enable the students to cope with learning gaps caused by the pandemic.


Lacson said Negros Occidental boasts of producing top notch athletes who have made headlines in local, national and international sporting events.

In the next three years the provincial government will be conducting more training programs, including in weightlifting, through sports clinics for aspiring home grown athletes, he said.

Lacson also said with the development of local sports and sports tourism, the provincial government will continue to rehabilitate Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.


The provincial government will continue to implement peace-building activities, particularly in the rural communities, he also said.

It will provide socio-economic interventions to former rebels, including subsidies for the education and health cards of their dependents, he said.

“To our Negrense brothers and sisters who are still active in the rebel movement, please know that we are eager to welcome you back as we vow to build a stronger and progressive Negros Occidental. Choosing peace is always the better choice,” he said.


Lacson said the Provincial Veterinary Office and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will complement and integrate their services to provide Negrenses sufficient food sources — livestock, poultry, swine, crops, vegetables and marine products.

It will also welcome new investors in the power sector, he said, citing Alson’s Energy that will bring 32MW clean hydroelectric power to the province, particularly in the 4th district.


An Integrated Provincial Safe Water Program will serve as the banner project in the next three years, he added.

The provincial government will develop and protect three major rivers -Malogo, Bago, and Ilog Hilabangan to maximize the use of surface waters, preserve the use of ground water for environmental protection and to prevent salt intrusion, siltation, and soil erosion, he said.

The safe water program will also address the issue of health and sanitation in the communities, as it will push for adoption of the Zero Open Defecation status, he added.

Infrastructure development will also be a priority over the next three years, Lacson said.

He cited the concreting of provincial roads, farm to market roads, maintenance of nine Bailey bridges, and overflow bridges that will be converted into permanent structures.

The province will also purchase heavy and light equipment, and two Ponton Barges for dredging to clear waterways to address flooding in some areas, he said.

Lacson also cited the construction of slaughter houses in Hinoba-an, Cauayan, Murcia, Toboso, Binalbagan and San Carlos City, and the construction of a 90 lineal meter bridge in Brgy. Puey, Sagay, under the Philippine Rural Development Program.


Lacson said the provincial government will also strive to recover the income it lost during the pandemic and Typhoon “Odette” by improving its economic enterprises.

The Food Terminal Market and Negros Residences in Bacolod City will be fully operational as income generating facilities, he said.

They will also be formulating a development plan for Mambukal Wildlife Sanctuary to develop its spatial and aesthetic advantages while preserving the natural wildlife environment, he said.

The provincial government is also opening one stop shops for all permits, including quarry permits, he said.

“We will push forward the digitalization of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City,” he added.

He also stressed the need to seriously reinvent products to show the world that Negros is more than just sugar.

Lacson also said the Negros First CyberCentre in Bacolod City has earned P67 million in seven months, from July 2021 to January 2022, with a 97 percent occupancy rate.

The development of a 62-hectare provincial government property at Tambara, San Fernando, Talisay City, is currently in full swing, he also said.

The property is ideal for agriculture, environment, and a tourism wellness camp, and will showcase the provincial government’s bamboo treatment facility, he said.

Present at the oath taking rites were Negros Occidental’s representatives-elect Gerardo Valmayor – 1st District, Alfredo Marañon III – 2nd District, Francisco Benitez – 3rd District, Emilio Yulo III – 5th District and Mercedes Alvarez – 6th District.

Negros Occidental mayors and Bacolod mayor-elect Alfredo “Albee” Benitez were also present.

Singer Ice Seguerra and the Negros Occidental festival dancers performed at the inaugural rites.*

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