Addressing climate change among the top priorities of Surigao Norte gov

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/16 July)—Addressing climate change is among the top priorities of Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas in her second term in office.

Matugas, who presented her plans to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during Monday’s regular session, disclosed her 22-point agenda that would support her HEALS program.

HEALS stands for Health, Education and Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood and Tourism, Spiritual Renewal, Social Service and Security.

In her talk, Matugas described climate change “as a serious challenge in the 21st century.”

“It should be addressed with urgency,” she said.

She urged the provincial board to craft an ordinance banning the use of plastics in all transactions in the province, noting that aside from clogging canals as wastes, plastics when burned emit greenhouse gas harmful to the environment.

Matugas also vowed to implement the Surigao Watershed Development plan in response to the water crisis facing the city.

Her other governance agenda include fighting illegal fishing with the help of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; strengthening of disaster risk reduction measures in the barangay level; promoting organic agriculture; and increasing revenue generation.

Matugas said she will also focus in the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act and of the Youth and Child Welfare Code, noting the high school dropout rate in the area for the latter.

She also vowed to streamline the operations of district hospitals, among other development agenda.

Board member Myrna Romarate voiced support to the plans of Matugas in the next three years.

The plans of Matugas are anchored on the national and local interest to uplift the lives of Surigaonons, Romarate said.

She said that if executed seriously, this will allow the provincial government “to provide its poor constituents with quality health care and education, clean environment, more food on the table, and jobs or livelihood, among other benefits.” (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)