Ebdane unveils 5-year growth roadmap for Zambales 

IBA, Zambales — Citing the provincial government’s consistent pursuit of excellence in delivery of social service and its success in income generation, Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. on Monday unveiled his administration’s development roadmap in the next five years and urged Zambaleños to “believe to see.”

In his State of the Province Address (SOPA) during the inaugural session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zambales, Ebdane said his “Zambales Roadmap for Optimal Growth and Development” seeks optimal work environment, improved health and social well-being for Zambaleños within 2023 to 2025; enhanced sports, accommodation and convention facilities in 2024 to 2026; robust mango industry and improved farming and fishing in 2023 to 2028; and empowered communities and self-reliant citizenry from 2023 to 2028 and beyond.

“Our five-year development roadmap entails an integrated approach, encompassing not only infrastructure development but also robust economic advancement and social development,” he said.

The development plan fosters “inclusive growth and development anchored on the needs and aspirations of our people,” Ebdane added.

Easily the most ambitious project in Ebdane’s program is the construction of a state-of-the-art Capitol building that was started late last year with a reported budget of P500 million. Ebdane said this was needed to address the pressing issue of insufficient office space, and to create an optimal work environment for employees of the provincial government.

At the same time, the governor said he will pursue the expansion of the President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital to increase its capacity to 250 beds; install state-of-the-art equipment, and recruit additional medical specialists; as well as upgrade two district hospitals and one community hospital.

In 2024 to 2026, Ebdane said his administration will focus on enhancing sports by establishing a Human Kinetics and Sports Development Center; and upgrade accommodation and convention facilities by expanding the Balin Sambali for larger spaces for meetings and conventions, and building a “Teatro Zambaleño”, a world-class auditorium with a seating capacity for 3,000 guests.

Meanwhile, to further develop the province’s mango industry which produces the highly-popular “Dinamulag” or carabao mango variety, Ebdane seeks to establish the “Zambales Green Mango Valley”, which will transform idle and non-productive lands and bolster mango production from planting to processing to distribution in local and international markets.

All these projects will be complemented by a responsive and progressive education program in the province to create a “profound impact on residents’ socio-economic well-being” and help “liberate families from the shackles of ignorance and the bondage of poverty,” Ebdane added.

In his SOPA, Ebdane also announced the elevation of Zambales to the status of a first-class province because of its continuing revenue growth.

“Over the past three years (2020 to 2022), Zambales has consistently demonstrated a remarkable (annual) average income of P2.09 billion, further solidifying our place in the league of top-ranking provinces,” Ebdane pointed out.

“Being recognized as a first-class province signifies that Zambales is on an upward trajectory of economic growth (which) will undoubtedly benefit our communities and ensure a more equitable distribution of resources,” he added. (Dante M. Salvaña)

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