Pineda: Pampanga faces new challenges on health, education

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – As she embarks on her third term in office, Pampanga Gov. Lilia G. Pineda revealed on Thursday that the province is facing yet bigger challenges in terms of health, education, improvement of business procedures and investments, and preparation against climate change.
Pineda, along with 230 newly elected officials in the province, took her oath before Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta in a simple ceremony at the Laus Group Event Center here. The mass oath-taking rite was participated in by Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda, 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Jonjon” Lazatin III, 17 mayors, 19 vice mayors and members of the provincial board, municipal councils and the city councils of Mabalacat and San Fernando.

During her inaugural address, the governor admitted that the issue on health is still the biggest challenge to her administration. Out of the P11.88 billion she managed since assuming office in 2010, the governor said that around P279 million was used for hospital improvement while at least P492.4 million was allocated to cover expenses of patients who sought medical assistance from the local government.
Pineda said that on top of these, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) also poured in at least P888 million from 2010 to 2016 for about 23,000 cancer patients from Pampanga.

The governor added that the national government under Pres. Benigno Aquino’s term also provided PhilHealth coverage to 140,000 beneficiaries while the province spent some P141 million for PhilHealth insurance.

“Kailangan pa natin ng mas malaking pondo para sa mga maysakit. Marami pa tayong dapat gawin para masiguro na maayos ang kalagayan at kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan,” the governor said.
Pineda also said that another challenge to her new administration is to strengthen business investments and to facilitate business permit processing all over the province.

“Priority ni President Rodrigo Duterte ang development sa Region 3, lalo na sa Pampanga kaya dapat na palakasin natin ang lokal na pamumuhunan at pagnenegosyo. Dapat tayong magkaroon ng business one-stop-shop na kung saan mabilis ang pagproseso ng mga permits,” the governor said.

The governor added that aside from this, the province should also prepare against climate change because the problem is real and imminent. Pineda said that Pampanga’s flood-prone areas are affected by massive rains while the Pampanga River poses threat due to unpredictable water surge.
Pineda also mentioned the issue of K to 12, claiming that the province needs more classrooms, facilities and other support systems for education. She said that under her term of office, the provincial government already built at least 640 classroom buildings and sent to college around 5,000 indigent students.

“Marami na tayong napag-aaral na mga scholars, may 5,000 na sila at may 1,274 na tayong mga graduates. Marami na rin tayong napatayong mga school buildings pero kulang na kulang pa. Napakalaking hamon pa rin sa atin ang isyu ng edukasyon,” the governor said.

Before the official mass oath-taking on Thursday, a thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Rev. Archbishop-Emeritus Paciano “Apu Cetu” Aniceto and Pampanga Archbishop Florentino G. Lavarias D.D .

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