6 March 2010
Catarman, Northern Samar
It is as if it were only yesterday, so they say.
My first term legally began on July 1, 2001. After I took my oath of office the day before, I was eager to start my job. Because July 1 was a Sunday, I had to wait for the following day, July 2, which was a working day.
As had been the practice, there was – and there still is – a flag ceremony for all officers and employees working in the Provincial Capitol. I decided to appear before the provincial workforce at the start of the ceremony.
I had expected to come before a happy, if not festive, group. For some reason, after I was introduced, the applause was sparse and the employees stared at me as if I were an intruder. This made me nervous and at a loss for words. My message was short and to the point: I asked for support and cooperation for the next three years of my administration. It was followed by an applause even more scant than the first.
As it is, almost nine years have passed, and I am now in the last three months of my final and third term. I have served in the best way I can, made not a few mistakes, and learned many lessons. But I have no regrets.
On that Monday morning of July 2, 2001, I entered a building whose physical appearance both disappointed and daunted me. The floors were of rough concrete as were the stairs from the ground to the second floors. My first trip to a comfort room horrified me. It was as if I had walked into an abandoned public toilet. Most of the women were either wearing low-heeled shoes or sandals because they were in peril of slipping on the rough concrete floors.
On the following day, when I visited a few offices, I immediately noticed that the furniture and equipment had been badly battered by time. I resolved to make the Provincial Capitol and its offices worthy, not only of the workforce, but also of the public whom we serve.
It did not take weeks for me to know that both the structure and the system of the provincial government were as old as the province itself, which was founded in 1965. To better serve the people, I immediately realized that we had to change, reform and innovate.
The process of change has already begun, and I believe the reforms and innovations have become institutionalized. The many programs and projects chronicled in this end report could not have and would not have happened without the will, determination and support of the officers and employees of the provincial government, of whom I am fiercely proud and to whom I am deeply indebted. This end report, patiently culled and competently organized by the staff, should be a lasting tribute to the entire PGNS personnel even as it can be a valuable guide for future governors.
I also thank both our local and foreign partners for passionately sharing our vision for Northern Samar and unselfishly helping us attain it.
RAUL A. DAZA