A community is bound to progress if its people enjoy good health, have access to education and electricity.
This, Rep. Erico Aristotle â€œArisâ€ Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) says, is why he is engaging in the three-pronged approach to bring development to his constituents.
He has been coordinating with Bohol Schools Division Superintendent Wilfreda Bongalos to identify schools that are still â€œredâ€ or â€œblackâ€. Under Department of Education (DepEd) guidelines, red schools are those that lack classrooms while black schools have no classrooms at all.
These schools get priority with the funds the solon has tapped from DepEd for school buildings implemented through contractors by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
As a result, the solonâ€™s inauguration binge for this year alone has breached the 254 mark and still counting.
Meanwhile, a check of leading causes of absences among pupils showed poor health: coughs, colds, fever, flu and bacterial and viral infections. To note, health is among the established poverty indicators for studies.
Adding insult to the injury is the availability of medicines and medical facilities but these are simply beyond the reach of the poor.
This prompted the solon to tap funding from national government agencies like the Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). With memorandums of agreement (MOAs) with the chiefs of government hospitals, Aumentado enrolled families not yet covered with the health care program for them to avail of free â€“ or at least discounted medicines and services.
He also deposited DoH funds for trust accounts and disbursement by the Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital in Ubay, Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City, Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital in Cebu, the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) and the Philippine Heart Center. This way, after PhilHealth deductions, indigent patients can check out ofd hospitals with no balance.
The DoH funds he allocated for the purpose for the Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital and the Dagohoy Hospital in Inabanga have not yet been used as the MOAs are yet being finalized.
While 2nd District residents get priority for the no balance funds, Aumentado said Boholanos from the 1st and 3rd Districts can avail of the program also.
Patients will not be lucky all the time. In cases like these, the solon reminds families to ensure that they have the complete requirements when they go to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ask for burial assistance. As public service, he distributes lists of these requirements to communities in his district when he makes his visits to inform especially the local officials beforehand.
He is pushing for the establishment of DSWD satellite offices either in Talibon or Jagna towns to cut transportation and other expenses for constituents living in or near the areas. The offices will double as warehouses to stock relief goods in order for the distribution bases to be nearer compared if the goods have to come all the way from Tagbilaran City yet.
On the other hand, his medical missions in the islands of his district continue. He brings physicians, dentists, other medical personnel and medicines to look after the islandersâ€™ needs.
Also, to allow the islanders to keep their catch fresh for later sales, Aumentado is pushing for the energization of the islands. To note, the laying out of the submarine cable from mainland Bohol to Mahanay Island â€“ a project with the National Electrification Administration and the Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco) has now started. The island is composed of barangays Mahanay and Alumar of Getafe, and Mahanay of Talibon.
For islets where the submarine cable may be too expensive, the solon said the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) will deploy barges from its Small Power Utilities Group (Spug).
NGCP and NEA have yet to inventory the islands and islets in his district. The engineers who will conduct the ocular inspection will recommend which will be connected with submarine cables, overhead towers or barges.
Aumentado added that power will allow the fishermen and their wives to branch out into additional livelihood projects.
When education, health and power are all finally in place in a community, the residents will move forward, even by leaps and bounds if given favorable conditions, to progress and development, he said. (June S,. Blanco)