GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 June) — Incoming South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes vowed on Friday to implement various administrative reforms in a bid to “clean up” the provincial government and further improve its operations and services.
Fuentes, who took her oath as governor in a simple ceremony held at the South Cotabato gymnasium on Friday morning, said her administration will specifically rationalize the provincial government’s hiring process and set measures that will promote proper discipline among its officials and employees.
She said among her top priorities will be the eradication of the “padrino” or patronage system in the hiring of new career employees, job orders, casual and contractual workers.
“Positions will be created because they are needed and people will be hired because they are qualified,” she said in her inaugural address.
Fuentes said they will revive the provincial government’s evaluation committee for job order workers to ensure that all those who will eventually be promoted to permanent status are the best qualified for the job.
To avoid demoralization among their employees, she said they will stop the previous practice of hiring people from outside the provincial government for some top positions even if there are qualified personnel within its ranks.
Fuentes said she will make sure that all offices and employees of the provincial government will be doing their jobs and mandated functions properly.
She said they will ensure that no extra or outside businesses shall will be entertained by any official or employee during office hours and that everyone will be on their jobs during the period and not working on their business ventures, playing computer games or cards, and even getting drunk.
“Work must come first and should not be a sideline. Our people don’t deserve part time public servants. The complexity of governance requires complete focus,” Fuentes said.
For the next three years, she said her administration will prioritize its investments and initiatives on education, health, environment, tourism, jobs and income generation and peace and security.
For education, she said they will push for the allocation of additional budget for the local government’s “Kabugwason-Paglaum” scholarship program.
Fuentes said 30 percent of the program’s scholarship slots will be set aside for indigenous peoples or tribal residents and five percent for Muslims.
In terms of health, she said the provincial government will push for the development of the Upper Valley Community Hospital in Surallah town into a regional medical center to promote long term viability and ensure high level of efficiency for the facility.
Fuentes, who bannered the administration-backed Liberal Party-Nationalist People’s Coalition slate in the last May 13 elections, and other provincial officials took their oaths of office on Friday morning before Regional Trial Court Branch 26 Judge Roberto Ayco.
She was joined by outgoing provincial board member and vice governor-elect Cecile Diel, who is the running mate of defeated reelectionist Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. of the United Nationalist Alliance.
Elected representatives Pedro Acharon Jr. of the first district and Ferdinand Hernandez of the second district also joined the oath-taking rites.
Judge Ayco also administered the oath-taking of the elected members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board.
In the first district, the elected board members are Glezel Trabado, Romeo Tamayo and Jobeelyn Baitus-Corilla.
The second district board members are Vicente de Jesus, Ma. Ester Catorce, Ellen Grace Subere-Albios, Ervin Luntao, Agustin Dema-ala, Romulo Solivio and Samuel Ladot. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)