1.Good Governance Anchored on a Strong Provincial Government-Civil Society Collaboration
As enshrined in the Constitution, public office is a public trust. It is not a personal, not a family affair. The power vested in a public office emanates from the people. They should be actors and not mere spectators of development. The prevailing system of patronage politics and corruption in the current local political leadership is an utter disregard and glaring violation of the time-honored democratic principle inherent in a public office.
2.Aggressive Real Property Tax (RPT) Collection and Greater Accountability and Transparency in Local Resource Utilization
In 2005, the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of Pampanga is the third highest at P620 million in the whole of Central Luzon Region. In terms of Real Property Tax (RPT), while Pampanga is comparable to Bulacan in terms of development level and existing land uses, Pampanga’s collection level comprises only 34.8 percent as against that of Bulacan. Despite its smaller land area, at P90 million, Bataan even surpassed Pampanga in RPT collection.
3.Support for Sustained Employability of Skilled Workers and Identification of Alternative Family-Based Income Sources
For the period January to November 2005, of all the provinces in the whole of Central Luzon Pampanga received the heaviest blow in terms of displacement of workers at 38 percent. This is equivalent o 3,972 persons rendered jobless. Skills re-tooling and meaningful institutional networking with National Government Agencies (NGA’s) and the private sector shall be pursued to empower workers.
4.Local Support to Corn Production, Corn Use and Corn Farmers’ Productivity
Pampanga is second only to Tarlac in terms of Corn (white and yellow) production share for the entire Region. In view of the existing vast market inside and outside Central Luzon, this agricultural crop is a clear opportunity for the province. It is noteworthy that from 2003-2005, Pampanga suffered a consistent dive, a trend which needs to be reversed if this opportunity is to be taken advantage of. Local support shall be provided to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the agency mandated to boost corn production and corn farmers’ productivity.
5.Safety Nets Focused on the Families of Service-Based and Industrial Workers
The nationally declared Luzon Urban Beltway under the Mega Region development concept is expected to have both positive and adverse side effects on Pampanga business managers and workers. The 59 percent share of Services sector in the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) provides a better appreciation of the degree of vulnerability of service workers and their families. Skills re-tooling is one effective measure but economic support and Strategic Urban-Based Social Service Delivery Mechanisms for Mass Socialized Housing, Education, and Health must also be put in place to protect and promote the interests of this particular sector. At 894, Pampanga has the highest population density based on the 2000 National Statistics Office (NSO) data.
6.Creation of Local Policy Environment Conducive to Business Growth and Development
One distinct element for Pampanga’s development despite weak local political leadership is its persistent, innovative, thinking and socially-conscious business sector. To optimize benefits from this sector, the Provincial Government under Fr. Ed will provide the necessary facilitative and catalytic information and policy environment.
7.Strict Monitoring Implementation and Mainstreaming of Environmental Laws
Of the 20 municipalities and one city of Pampanga, only two (City of San Fernando and Magalang) are into programs implementing the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (R.A. 9003). Other municipalities have yet to see the value of the law and the nobility of its intentions through local initiatives and actions. Enforcement of existing laws shall be ensured by the Provincial Government.
8. Flood Mitigation and Control
Perennial flooding have constantly consigned the poor to helplessness and mendicancy. Appropriate infrastructure and non-infrastructure measures shall be adopted to address the issues of encroachment of waterways and siltation particularly in the Pasac Delta and the land subsidence occurring in Guagua, Lubao and Sasmuan, and the improper solid waste disposal in other municipalities. These have been identified as the primary causes of flooding in the province.
9. Local Resource Support for Creative Industries in Tourism-Dependent Communities
As usually observed, the overdependence of communities for their livelihood on tourist arrivals has produced only immediate, short-term and fleeting benefits. Besides a Market Research for Tourism Promotion, the Provincial Government shall provide adequate human, financial and technical resource support to tourist-dependent communities for the development of creative industries that can provide sustainable livelihood and prevent the generation of social problems. Tourism development must be people-based and community-focused.