BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Eugenio Jose Lacson, 42nd Filipino governor of this province, gave his post first year address today, his speech framed by the raging COVID-19 pandemic and to a lesser degree, the Asian swine flu.
As the tiempo muerto creeps closer, to peak in August and to further depress work and wages in the sugarcane plantation, Lacson’s more than an hour and a half address sounded like an action report on the COVID pandemic that has led to quarantines, lockdowns, isolations, repatriations and a sluggish economy.
Lacson recalled that when he started his term as a neophyte governor, he had no sense of what lay ahead of him, particularly the crisis that will be triggered by COVID, which he said will not only be written as part of history but will “determine our history.”
Lacson also touched on key aspects of governance, including education and subsidies to agriculture, which are part of his seven-point agenda dubbed by his publicists as Abanse (Advance) Negrense laid down during the 2019 political campaign.
Among the achievements outlined by Lacson was the repatriation of close to 7,000 Filipinos working abroad and individuals who were stranded in other provinces while at least 41,000 people were accomodated in quarantine facilities.
Capitol, in terms of spending, has allocated at least P811 million for infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges and ports.
At least P400 million went to towns and cities affected by the pandemic while P260 million was spent on water systems.