Gov. Lilia Pineda delivers her state of the province address at the Bren Z. Guiao Gym on Monday. Photo by Ric Gonzales
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Gov. Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda took as a “huge” challenge the garbage problem in Pampanga stressing that collective effort is needed to solve the problem.
In her State of the Province Address at the Bren Z. Guiao Gym here yesterday, Pineda said the segregation of waste-at-source had started in at least 200 barangays “but still more work should be done.”
“I take the garbage mess as a personal challenge,” the governor stressed.
Pineda added that wastes thrown in water channels contributed to the flooding in Pampanga especially in low-lying areas.
However, she disclosed that some P30 million worth of equipment like backhoe loader and trucks were bought to provide “year-long and round-the-clock” clean-up of water channels.
Pineda also said that the trucks could be used to help in collecting garbage using color-coding scheme which is now being adopted in Germany.
“We have to prioritize both the anti-garbage and health programs to prevent people from getting sick,” she said.
Pineda announced that the provincial government had started “aggressive” waste segregation in Lubao and Sta. Rita towns.
Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab said the governor’s decision to focus on waste problem “is commendable.”
She said that under the provisions set by the Solid Waste Management Act signed into law in 2000, the mayors and barangay captains are responsible for handling the waste problem through the establishment of a material recovery facility (MRF).
Mayor Cayabyab, the governor’s daughter, said the segregation of waste-at-source in Lubao is “almost 70 percent done.” But he agreed with Pineda that “it should be more focused” for it to succeed province-wide.
Pineda also highlighted the importance of partnering with private groups, including business magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan, to push for tourism development in Pampanga.
Pineda said she had prioritized health care on her first-year as governor.
However, she said that there is a need to tap private groups to maximize the potentials of Pampanga on tourism and related investments.
Pineda said Pangilinan had recently expressed his intention to establish a “world-class” tourism complex along the portion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway (SCTEx) in Porac and Floridablanca towns.
Pangilinan is the chairman of the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), operator of the SCTEx and North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).
In the same area along the SCTEx, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco reportedly purchased a 10-hectare property and plans to build a multi-purpose gymnasium.
“Let’s keep our fingers crossed but continue hoping for the best that many prominent firms will do business in Pampanga. MVP’s investments will definitely boost the tourism industry of our province,” said Pineda in the dialect.
She cited the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) as “one of the advantages of Pampanga in attracting economic activities and developments.”
Pineda said that Pangilinan had “already invested even before finally deciding to establish a tourism-related business along the SCTEx.”
She said that Pangilinan had allotted at least P10 million for Pampanga’s Water and Wastewater Master Plan.
“This plan will help the province limit the effects of flooding and divert the water into a reservoir,” the governor said.
“A scientific study commissioned by MVP will drastically stop flooding and make Pampanga more attractive to investments and businesses,” Pineda said.
Earlier, Pineda asked Pangilinan to create a vocational and technical school in Pampanga catering to in-demand jobs.
“MVP may not be able to create the school as soon as possible. We should have an alternative,” she said.
Pineda also added that she recently met with Gilda Padua, president of the Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (ATTAP), to discuss the creation of a training school at the Clark Freeport.
She said that Padua, owner of the SM Clark-based Ties That Travel agency, had agreed to help the provincial government run the school that will provide trainings for tourism-related businesses and services.
Padua said her business partner-friend Lea Bais will train Aetas at Barangay Nabuclod, Floridablanca as spa workers and masseuses. Bais owns the Spa Signature which has three branches at Clark and Angeles City.
The provincial government recently created a view deck at the hilly portion of Nabuclod described as “paradise in the sky” by the governor. She plans to make the area as a tourist destination.
Bais said the attraction of Nabuclod will be “unique and significant” once the Aetas begin to serve as attendants of Spa rooms.
She also said that a Singaporean once asked her to provide him with eight spa workers for immediate hiring in the rich city-state.
“If we already had the school a long time ago, we would have easily given employment to eight people. Governor Pineda hit the mark by creating a training school,” said Bais, who is licensed to provide training for internationally accepted standard massage.
She added that most of her workers are from areas outside of Pampanga, notably in Visayas. “Service-oriented businesses such as spa allow workers to earn more through tips, not to mention it’s a noble job.”
Padua and Bais will also present to the governor a plan to turn Calamansi, Papaya, Kamias and other readily available plants and fruits at Nabuclod into soap, lotion and other beauty products.
“The creation of fruits and plants into products used in spas is added livelihood to Aetas,” said Bais, who studied the technology in seminars in the country and abroad.
Padua said they will also help Pineda to provide an Aeta cultural dance presentation at Nabuclod, designed to be a tourist destination.