Friday, July 24, 2009

Sulu is now 2nd Class province; sets more goals

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 24, 2009) - With sustained peace and development programs and a bullish economy, Sulu now has been upgraded from a 3rd Class province to 2nd Class and various business groups have largely attributed this to the governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan.

According to the Department of Finance, Sulu’s classification was upgraded also based on its Financial Statements duly certified by the Commission on Audit and in accordance with the income ranges prescribed in the Department Order No. 23-08. Financial figures and data were not immediately available.

Sulu has met all the requirements it needed as 2nd Class province, said Finance Executive Director Maria Presentacion Montesa.

”This is good news to us. At last Sulu is now recovering from what it was in previous administrations. Governor Sakur Tan is an excellent manager, a hardworking executive and good civil servant and that’s why we are progressing,” one Chinese-Filipino trader, who runs a chain of shops in Jolo town, said by phone from Jolo.

For his part, Tan said the progress of Sulu can be attributed to its people who have supported his reforms and programs. “This is not because of me. Everyone has played a crucial role – from the village leaders, the town officials, the provincial board members, the business, academe and religious sectors, the community and most especially the ordinary people whom we pledged to serve,” he said in a separate interview.

Tan said more development and infrastructure projects have been lined up for different areas in Sulu. He said the provincial government is pursuing more programs and projects on agricultural, education and health, community development and people empowerment, as part of Sulu’s peace and development agenda.

Infrastructure and other humanitarian projects are also continuing in Sulu, he said.

Many local farmers have also resorted to planting coffee beans from the traditional cassava because of its competitive prices and high market demands. Tan said the demand for Sulu’s Arabica and Robusta coffee beans is high because of its good quality and distinct aroma.

Tan has recently organized the Sulu Provincial Coffee Industry Development Task Force (Kahawa Sug) which aims to enhance and facilitate the implementation of the coffee development plan.

“We have come up with a plan designed to further improve coffee production in Sulu in order to enhance the socio-economic condition of the coffee farmers. We have the best coffee beans in the southern Philippines,” Tan said.

He said coffee farmers can derive greater economic benefits by adopting improve technology on coffee growing techniques introduced by Nestle Philippines.

“This is being done by putting up nursery for selected coffee clones and give bountiful harvest of green seeds and the establishment of technology demonstrations to guide farmers on the right plantation management practices, reviving the productivity of coffee trees thru pruning and rejuvenation thus improving the production and qualities of coffee beans,” he said.

Aside from coffee beans, Sulu is a supplier of abaca ropes, marine products, rubber and copra. The province is also abundant in fruits such as durian and mangosteen berries, among others. (Mindanao Examiner)

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