Official Website of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur

HOME OF THE FIRST PAPERLESS SESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES

The creation of the Paperless Session in the province of Agusan del Sur started as a simple concept when I, as a provincial board member, was elected Secretary-General of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines (PBMLP). As such, I attended meetings of the National Executive Officers and the National Board with a

sizeable number of documents packed into several bags, which made every trip arduous and tiresome. To top it all, every member in attendance had to be provided these materials which meant the documents had to be reproduced -- an expensive and tedious task.

Hence, the concept of paperless meetings was envisioned by this writer to put an end to the recurrent problems brought about by the above mentioned dilemma.

At first, the PBMLP Officers were hesitant to accept the notion. Some questioned the concept's reliability and feasibility. It was this author's persistence, through demonstrations, that slowly gained the Board's trust, and later, full acceptance. As Secretary-General, I served the league with utmost dedication and efficiency, thus, prompting the National Board to commend my efforts.

The successful paperless meetings of the PBMLP inspired me to introduce and develop the concept of paperless sessions in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Agusan del Sur. As Provincial Vice Governor-elect in 2007, I discussed it with Governor-elect Maria Valentina G. Plaza and, then incumbent, Governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza. Both of them readily assured their full support.

I later discussed the paperless session concept with some ITU personnel and SP employees. I explained what I thought should be done and requested them to procure the gadgets needed for the concept to work perfectly while keeping mindful of the legislative processes required under existing laws, rules and regulations in holding formal sessions. The paperless session transition team came up with their recommendations after a week.

Then came the arduous task of explaining to and convincing the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan into accepting the new method. Like the PBMLP national officers, the SP members were, at first, reluctant. I insisted that the paperless method would work out better in the long run, and gradually the SP members gave in and introduced an amendment to the then existing Internal Rules of Procedure (particularly, to the section which mandated the distribution in advance of hard copies of all documents employed in a particular session).

Instead, soft copies of all documents were now to be uploaded into the SP Members' respective lap top units, eliminating the need for reproduction, saving on costs and man-hours.

With all the barriers for a paperless session eliminated, a project proposal was formulated and approved, paving the way for the acquisition of the needed equipment. As soon as the electronics arrived, a six-module computer literacy training immediately followed to enable the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the SP Secretary and their staff to learn the basics of computer operations, the mechanics of the paperless session, and data management.

On September 24, 2007, during the 10th regular session of the 12th Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the first official paperless session was conducted, paving the way to a new era in local legislation in the Philippines.

THE PAPERLESS SESSION PREPARATION/PROCESS

The regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is held every Monday. All documents (agenda, minutes of the previous session, measures for deliberation, ordinances and resolutions for first, second and third readings, petitions and memorials, resolutions and ordinances from lower Sanggunians for review and approval, etc.) are scanned to produce soft copies (in PDF format) and uploaded into the laptops of the presiding officer, members of the SP, Secretary to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and other SP staff, every Thursday or Friday. This gives all session participants the opportunity to review the matters to be taken up in the next session.

Assigned SP staff members are tasked to scan all documents for deliberation. These documents are hyperlinked to a specific agendum. During session proper, everything is projected onto a white screen mounted on the wall of the session hall. During discussion, corrections and amendments introduced by the members of the Sangguniang are instantly integrated into the draft measure. Duly approved drafts are then printed into final copies for signing.

THE BENEFITS OF A PAPERLESS SESSION

Based on the existing records of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur, an average of 4,758 sheets of bond paper are used per session. Fifteen (15) sets of all documents included in deliberations are produced. With the introduction of the paperless session, no bond paper required, thus saving on costs, man-hours, and most importantly, saving our environment -- less trees converted into paper. Other notable advantages include the faster and more efficient session process, faster retrieval of documents, easier data management, and no more storage hassle.

Furthermore, SP members are also applying the new mandate in their committee hearings. Committee reports are now done paperless, except for the mandatory requirement of one (1) hard copy set bearing the signatures of the reporting committee chairman and his/her members. The signed committee reports are then scanned and uploaded into their respective laptops, thereby providing every Sanggunian member a copy of the report.

One can just imagine, if the 81 Sangguniang Panlalawigans (Provincial Boards), 120 Sangguniang Panlungsods (City Councils), 1,508 Sangguniang Bayans (Municipal Councils), and 40,043 Sangguniang Barangays (Village Councils) in the whole country, if the senate and the house of representatives go paperless in their respective sessions, how much money can the country save in terms of paper and reproduction costs? How much manpower can be spared?

How many trees can we rescue every year as paper demands tremendously decline?

Now, if the whole world goes paperless, how many more generations can count on a future with fresh air? Would it not be good for the environment? LET US ALL GO PAPERLESS, SAVE OUR TREES AND DO OUR PARTS TO CONTAIN GLOBAL WARMING!

By: (Former Vice Governor) SP Member Santiago B. Cane, Jr.

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Agusan del Sur Caps Children’s Congress and Governance ‘12

Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, Philippines – The Province of Agusan del Sur proudly celebrated the National Children’s Month with the three days Children’s Congress and Governance from October 13-15, 2012.

The month of October is declared as the National Children’s Month as mandated in Presidential Proclamation No. 267. In addition, the Provincial Ordinance No. 16, Series of 2002, otherwise known as the Children’s Code of Agusan del Sur, section 46, states that the third Monday of October every year is the Children’s Day of Governance/Administration.

Moreover, the Sangguniang Kabataan of Agusan del Sur spearheaded the Children’s Congress and Governance at the Provincial Training Center, Gov. D.O. Plaza Government Center, Prosperidad Agusan del Sur. The activity’s theme was “Malambuong Kabataan, Malambuong Agusan del Sur.” The theme itself recognizes the importance of the role of the children for the betterment of the province. The activity was divided into two parts: The Children’s Congress was held on the first and second day, the first two days were the part of the program which enhanced the Children’s knowledge on different topics such as Drug Addiction, Gender Sensitivity, Human Trafficking, etc. The processes on how to draft resolutions and ordinances, the action planning, and the Legislation were also discussed within this period. This was also the time that they elected their provincial little officials and the appointments of the head of offices. The second part was the Children’s Day of Governance, the elected officials and the appointed head of offices performed the real job. They signed official documents, provided orders, and conducted the session. However, the officials and employees that they have taken over were on their side to guide them on what to do. “All the transactions that happened were official. They are the real officials of the Province of Agusan del Sur today. Every document that has to be signed was signed by them and those were considered as valid.” said the SK Provincial Federation President Clint Y. Yubuco on an interview yesterday.

The 84 participants were the children coming from different Municipalities of the Province: Talacogon, Esperanza, Veruela, San Luis, La Paz, Loreto, Prosperidad, Rosario, Bunawan, Sta. Josefa, Trento, Sibagat, and San Francisco. There were also participants from the City of Bayugan. There were out-of-school youths, in-school youths, and youth from religious sector.

“As a child of Agusan Sur, the activity was overwhelming since I was given a chance to serve my province as a Little Governor.” said the elected Child Governor Adrian G. Carmona from the Municipality of La Paz, “this just proves that the children of Agusan del Sur are given importance by the Provincial Government because we are one of the great contributors of the development in this province.” he added.

“I felt happy because I was elected as the Child Vice Governor given that at the beginning of Vice Governor Cane’s lecture on Legislation I really developed that desire to become the Vice Governor.” the elected Child Vice Governor Hannah Mariestella Mae C. Tuso from Bayugan City said in an interview.

“The children of Agusan del Sur shall reign governance!” an encouraging  statement delivered by the Vice Governor of Agusan del Sur and the principal author and sponsor of the Children’s Code of Agusan del Sur, Santiago B. Cane, Jr. during his lecture on Legislation.

Jeffrey D. Cortez

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Agusan del Sur NUP provincial candidates file their COCs

HOPING TO CONTINUE PUBLIC SERVICE, the National Unity Party (NUP) provincial candidates of Agusan del Sur filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) on Friday morning, right after attending the Holy Mass at Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church, Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

Accompanied with a great number of supporters from different sectors all over the province, the aspirants were in perfect glee as they entered the office of the Commission on Election.
Submitting their COCs were incumbents Cong. Maria Valentina G. Plaza, of First District and Cong. Evelyn Plaza-Mellana, of Second District for representatives.

Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza is for governor and Vice Governor Santiago B. Cane is for vice governor again.

For the First District, the candidates of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan include incumbent boardmembers Hon. Alfelito M. Bascug, President of the Provincial Councilors League and Hon. Nestor L. Corvera. Seeking for their first term as boardmembers are Susan G. Gerona,  Edilberto D. Bastareche and  Gina A. Ceballos.

For the Second District, the candidates of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan include incumbent boardmembers Hon. Gilbert G. Elorde and Hon. Samuel E.Tortor and the new aspirants Hazel O. Del Rosario, Edwin D. Demegillo and Edward Plaza-Mellana.

Asked why run again, Vice Governor Santi B. Cane answered, “I am running for the third time as vice governor to continue my support to the programs of Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza. I believe in his sincerity in serving our people and the governor needs a vice governor who can support him all the way.”

It has been observed that the flow of governance between the executive and the legislative branches is doing well with Gov. Plaza and Vice Gov. Cane’s tandem. The two have been working together when they were still members of the Sanggunian. An employee said that they share the same passion to uplift the lives of the Agusanons, especially in giving support to education thus both gentlemen authored a scholarship program for the poor but deserving people in the province.

“My filing is to continue the excellent partnership of governance led by Governor Plaza for the people in Agusan del Sur”, Vice Gov. Cane concluded.

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Agusan del Sur conducts ELA assessment

TO ASSESS where the province at present is, in terms of implementations of projects, programs and activities vis a vis agreed plans for 2010-2013, a four day Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) Assessment was conducted at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City on Sept. 12-15, 2012.

The 39 participants who came representing the executive and legislative branches were formally welcomed by Vice Governor Santi B. Cane, Jr. The Strategic Direction of the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur was thoroughly explained by Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza. Gov. Plaza emphasized that to achieve the vision, which is Shared Prosperity and Improved Quality of Life, we need to focus on the identified strategic themes or development thrusts which include Economic Development, Social Development, Environmental Conservation and Protection , Public Safety and Security and Transforming PGAS to become a learning and high performing organization.

In the Overview, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Hon. Gilbert G. Elorde cited the significance of ELA as it articulates the issues and concerns of the people and identifies interventions through sectoral programs and projects. Further, ELA identifies the legislative measures needed to support the efficient and effective implementation of programs and projects, thus there is a need for ELA to be assessed.

Presentations and discussions on the second day include Status of Projected Income vis a vis Actual Collection for CY 2012 as of Aug. 31, 2012 by the PASTO Chairman, Mr. Alvin G. Elorde;  Status of Budget Utilization for General Fund Proper (Jan-Aug) by Provincial Budget Officer, Mr. Francisco D. Cejuela; Status of Utilization of 20% Provincial Development Fund Report as of Aug. 2012 by Provincial Accountant, Ms. Joy D. Lagat and  PGAS Reorganization and Proposed Amendments of Ordinance No. 36 series of 2009 by Provincial Administrator Mr. Jesusimo L. Ronquillo.

The third day started with a recapitulation by Prof. Edel Guiza which was immediately followed with the Updates on Enactment of Legislative Measures based on ELA by the Secretary to the Sanggunian Mrs. Baudilla A. Retuerto. The report enumerated a number of approved resolutions and enacted ordinances that support different programs in economic, social, environment, infrastructure and institutional sectors. Ecosystem-Based Sustainable Development Framework and Programs by Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Deanna Fudalan had paved the way of deeper discussions on the latest program of the province, Upland Sustainable Agri-Forestry Development (USAD) which has an initial 10 Million allocation for piloted areas namely, Bayugan, San Francisco and Rosario.

Repositioning the Provincial Training Center was presented by Dr. Rodel Maglunsod. According to Dr. Maglungsod, there is a need to reposition ASERBAC to PROVINCIAL ECONOMIC and ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT OFFICE (PEEDO) to spin-off all sustainable enterprises in the next 5 years and to reduce and eventually reduce subsidy scheme and innovate business by developing new strategic business models in expanding the revenue sources. Among other recommendations, changing Provincial Training Center (PTC) to Provincial Learning Center (PLC) was also justified as to expand PLC revenue sources from purely catering and venue rentals to a facility that would support PGAS strategy as a learning organization.

Converting Democrito O. Plaza Memorial Hospital (DOPMH) and Bunawan District Hospital (BDH) to Semi- Economic Enterprise by Dr. Joel Esparagoza fully explained through varied proposed strategies the need of the hospitals for Fiscal and Administrative Autonomy.

Vice Governor Cane, Jr. presented the summary of agreements, encouraging SP members to immediately start crafting the ordinances needed to support the agreed measures. Gov. Plaza, in his closing remarks emphasized the beauty of coping with change, thus revisiting plans and when necessary changing plans are acceptable if these mean better services to the constituents. 

The four-day activity ended with a closing prayer led by Gov. Plaza himself.

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Legislative Council Members attend Enhancement Training and Direction-Setting

FOR BETTER LEGISLATION and good governance, all legislators in the province attended the Enhancement Training and Direction Setting for Legislative Council Members on May 28-31, 2012 at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, Ex-Officio Members and the Secretary to the Sanggunian attended the 4-day training. 

All the activities and inputs during this province wide training aimed to enhance the legislative expertise of our legislators by understanding their roles on how to effectively perform the various process of legislation to uplift the lives of every Agusanon.

The training was initiated by the Philippine Councilor’s League headed by the Federation President, Hon. Alfelito M. Bascug and in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)

Vice Gov. Cane talked about parliamentary procedure in one of the sessions.

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AGUSAN DEL SUR IS SMOKE-FREE

By: Carlos M. Saligan, Jr.

The Thirteenth Sanggunian Panlalawigan of the Province of Agusan del Sur has passed, after a series of public hearings in the thirteen municipalities and one city from April 12, 2011 to May 11, 2011 an Ordinance No. 69 series of 2011.

The purpose of this ordinance is to safeguard public health and ensure the well being of all constituents by protecting them from the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco consumption

This ordinance shall apply to all persons, whether natural or juridical, whether resident or not, and in all places, found within the territorial jurisdiction of Agusan del Sur.

The following acts are declared unlawful and prohibited by this ordinance:

a. Smoking in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, workplaces, public conveyances, or other public places

b. Selling or distributing tobacco products in a school, public playground or other facility 

c. Selling or distributing tobacco products to minors

d. Purchasing tobacco products from minors

e. Placing, posting, or distributing advertisement materials of tobacco products, such as leaflets, posters and similar materials, outside the premises of point-of-sale establishments and, even if inside the premises of point-of-sale establishments, when the establishments are not allowed to sell or distribute tobacco products

It is hoped that the measure will denormalize the culture of smoking and tobacco consumption in the province.

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