LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 16 (PNA) -- Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda disclosed the programs and projects accomplished by the Provincial Government of Albay (PGA) with the full support of the Daang Matuwid advocacy under the leadership of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III during the general rally of the Liberal Party in Albay Astrodome over the weekend.
Salceda cited the phenomenal growth of PhilHealth beneficiaries in Albay from 203 at the start to 33,000 individuals, with all senior citizens in the province covered by the program regardless of being already a cardholder.
In the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, beneficiaries in Albay ballooned from 77,382 to 247,682 families and for this year, it is expected that even the vulnerable families can be a target as additional recipients of 4Ps benefits.
With the help of the national government, Albay has new hospitals in different municipalities like Polangui, Daraga, Guinobatan, and Bacacay.
Even the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital has new facilities.
In education, Salceda said, Albay ranked 177 in National Achievement Test in 2007, but because of the help of present administration, Albay now ranks 13.
The PGA scholarship program has produced 77,182 graduates, with at least one graduate in every Albayano family.
The governor also cited the modernization of the Bicol University with the construction of the College of Medicine as well as renovations and construction of new buildings like in the colleges of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
Salceda said the rice self-sufficiency level of the province went up by 74 percent to 104 percent, with irrigated ricelands growing from 17,000 hectares to 19,433 hectares despite typhoons and other natural calamities that Albay is prone to.
With the help of the National Irrigation Administration and the Department of Agriculture, Albay always gets what it needs in terms of agricultural support.
Over 20 years, Albay has sustained its goal of zero casualty during typhoons.
Recently, Albay received the Green Eco Champion Award during the First Environmental Summit in the Philippines.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Albay has passed various ordinances towards the vigorous preservation and protection of the environment, Salceda said.
The forest cover of Albay expanded by 88 percent as the mangroves grew in number by about 400 percent from 700 hectares to 2,400 hectares, the green economist said.
The province, he said, is now the second biggest producer and biggest exporter of camote and has the largest pili hectare at 2,972 from 1,200 hectares previously.
Aside from this, Albay has replanted 1.6 million coconut trees.
Tourist arrivals in the province of Albay multiplied from 8,000 in 2006 to 318,606 in 2015 owing to the construction 321 kilometers of tourist roads by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways. (PNA) FFC/FGS/CBD