BagongSantoTomas | Evangelista’s SOTA highlights LGU’s anti-pandemic measures, accomplished projects, implementation of ‘Aksyon Ang Solusyon’ flagship programs

SANTO TOMAS, Davao del Norte (March 29, 2021)—Mayor Ernesto Evangelista has highlighted the municipal government’s efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of his administration’s flagship programs and projects bannered under the “Aksyon Ang Solusyon” initiative, as well as other improvement and challenges that his administration has been facing amid a public health crisis during his State of the Town Address (SOTA).
In his State of the Town Address (Sota) on Monday, March 29, 2021, Evangelista said the Santo Tomas LGU has been successful in controlling the number of active COVID-19 cases across the entire municipality through the implementation of the COVID-19 Safety Protocols and in strict adherence to the resolutions issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Evangelista’s SOTA marked his second anniversary in being elected as the municipal mayor. His speech, which he delivered at the Municipal Recreation and Cultural Center and broadcasted live through the LGU’s official Facebook pages, lasted up to two hours.

Anti-pandemic measures
Evangelista said his administration continues to implement IATF resolutions, urging the public to regularly disinfect public and private areas like the public market and offices, observance of the province-wide curfew, strict adherence of the public minimum health standards, and a liquor ban to prevent mass gatherings.
The local chief executive cited 10 significant actions of the Santo Tomas LGU as a response to the COVID-19 public health crisis: the establishment of the Pasilidad ni Tomas COVID-19 Isolation Facility, the creation of the Santo Tomas LGU COVID-19 Task Force, the COVID-19 “Magpakabana, Kita!” and COVID-19: #70ParaSafety” Information Campaign on COVID-19 Virus and Vaccine, the fabrication and distribution of Foot-Pedaled Hand-wash Stations, the Sunday’s Disinfection/Decontamination Protocols, the establishment of Barangay Isolation Facilities, and the two COVID-19 Ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan, the procurement and distribution of medical Supplies, Medical Equipment and PPES, the procurement of a Patient Transport Vehicle for COVID-19 operations, and the holding of Virtual Pressers with Santo Tomas IATF.

COVID-19 response
Evangelista also reported the series of food assistance given to all Tomasinos at the height of the pandemic. All 19 barangays have received food packs and other forms of aid from the Santo Tomas LGU, Provincial Government of Davao del Norte headed by Governor Edwin Jubahib, and 2nd District Congressman Alan Dujali.
He also reported the procurement of PPEs, facemasks, face shields, disinfectants and medical supplies intended primarily to equip barangay frontline workers who are dealing with COVID-19 cases, respond to emergencies and provide other basic services in times of COVID crisis.
Evangelista also thanked all private stakeholders, individuals, and other organizations that extended support and assistance— in cash and kind, to the Santo Tomas LGU-led COVID-19 Crisis response programs and activities. Also, the Santo Tomas LGU has begun already its COVID-19 vaccination program with medical frontline workers in hospitals, and barangay health workers were first to be inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Evangelista vowed that his administration would continue to work and deliver the needed public service to all Tomasinos despite the threat of the COVID-19.
“As we shift to open our economy slowly, our adherence to safety protocols should not be compromised as our workers and business owners can resume operating with a defensive mind-set against the virus. Clearly, we each have a role in overcoming the ill effects of months of quarantine restrictions, and we must do our part,” Evangelista added.

Dangpanan Ni Tomas expands services
Evangelista’s Dangpanan Ni Tomas (DNT), the social arm and his public working office has now extended its services to Tomasino dialysis and cancer patients due to his administration’s commitment to making social services more accessible to the public.
The local chief executive said the social aid program of his administration responded to the pressing need of Tomasino residents, especially those who want to avail healthcare services targeting beneficiaries from various barangays.
On average, DNT accommodates around 150 to 200 people a day who wants to avail of various social services such as burial assistance, financial assistance, medical assistance, rice subsidy, free legal consultation, and hospital referral to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City. DNT serves clients in Davao’s Paquibato District, especially those belonging to needy families and the indigenous people.
“Aron mas mapakusgan kining tanan, karong tuiga atoang gidugangan ang pundo sa Dangpanan ni Tomas aron mas mapalapdan ang katawhan nga maserbisyohan. Aduna na usab kitay dugang nga sakyanan alang sa atong mga dialysis and cancer patients,” Evangelista said.
Santo Tomas LGU’s disaster, healthcare system, facilities strengthened
To further strengthen the implementation of health programs offered by the Municipal Health Office (MHO), Evangelista has procured Patient Transport Vehicles and a brand new ambulance equipped with life-saving equipment which can be used during emergencies.
Evangelista said the recently procured PTV and ambulance can be of help in times of emergencies and help patients from communities who need transportation during emergencies.
To date, the Municipal Health Center has three Patient Transport Vehicles (PTVs) and one (1) brand new ambulance. Under the Evangelista administration, all services offered by the Municipal Health Center were all free, emphasising the strict adherence to the policy of zero tolerance for bribery or corruption in any of the MHC’s dealings for healthcare services.
Evangelista said he is optimistic that the present assets of the MHO can service various communities especially in dealing with emergency situations. Another improvement and upgrade his administration had made in the town’s health services was hiring additional personnel and doctors who are on duty 24/7 in the Municipal Health Center.
In LGU’s disaster-related programs, Evangelista said that another emergency response vehicle was purchased for disaster response since most of the private hospitals in Santo Tomas rely only on the PTVs and ambulance of the Santo Tomas LGU despite their several years of operations.
The Evangelista administration has recently inaugurated the “Responder ni Tomas” headquarters located beside the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) as part of his Listo Si Tomas program to dispatch a Quick Response Team in the areas in case of emergencies like vehicular accidents and other similar incidents.

Local tourism industry revived
On tourism, Evangelista said his administration had developed four emerging tourist sites in Santo Tomas in a bid to revive the sluggish tourism industry here and introduce new local spots to meet the government standards for increased visitation and create jobs and incomes for the people.
Among the new tourist sites developed were the Lantawan ni Bakoko in Sitio Talos, Barangay San Jose, Suba ni Bukindaw in Barangay New Visayas, Tambayan sa Tulay and Mt. Tulayas in Barangay Bobongon, and Mt. Susuping in Barangay Balagunan.
Municipal Administrator Atty initiated all these emerging tourist sites. She was the brainchild of the tourism programs of the Santo Tomas LGU including the development of the emerging local tourist spots across the municipality of Santo Tomas.
Evangelista thanked the support of the barangay officials who took an active role in developing these emerging tourists destinations.
“Daghan kaayong Salamat sa mga Barangay Officials sa inyong suporta nga gipakita hinungdan nga nagmadaugon kita sa atong tinguha nga ma abrihan sa publiko ang maong mga panturismong destinasyon,” he said.

BantayInfra projects
Other notable accomplishments Evangelista shared during his speech involved the ongoing and completed infrastructure projects under his administration such as the ongoing construction of bridge in Sitio Apitong in Barangay La Libertad, the road concreting of Barangay La Libertad to Barangay San Miguel, the completed road concreting project from NAFCO FFF to Barangay Bobongon, the completed road concreting from Barangay San Jose to Feeder Road 5, the ongoing road concreting from Log Deck to Barangay San Jose, and Barangay San Jose to Sitio Talos road concreting project, the Busog Lusog Building Facility in NAFCO Elementary School, the construction of classrooms in Kinamayan IS, construction of a building for Senior Citizens, among others.
Other big projects in the pipeline for 2021 were the soon to be constructed Infirmary Hospital in Barangay Casig-ang, and the road concreting project (farm to the market road) from Barangay New Visayas to Barangay Tulalian with two bridge component funded by the World Bank through the Department of Agriculture’s PRDRP, the construction of the Tourist Reception Center in Lantawan ni Bakoko and the IP Housing Village for the Ata-Manobo settlers in Sitio Talos, Barangay San Jose.
To hasten the infra-related services, Evangelista also reported his administration has brought brand-new heavy equipment that would be used in the construction, operations, and maintenance activities of the Santo Tomas LGU.
He said the procurement was necessary to speed-up the implementation and completion of all infrastructure-related projects in the municipality under his administration’s #BagongSantoTomas initiative.

Support to STCAST, DepEd
As for the Santo Tomas LGU’s programs, Evangelista said they continue to fund the operations of the LGU-owned Santo Tomas College of Agriculture, Sciences and Technology (STCAST). At present, close to 2, 000 college students enjoyed the free college tuition fee subsidy under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UniFAST) for 2020-2021.
To help teachers and students adapt to the new learning setting, the Santo Tomas LGU installed an accessible Wifi facility in the campus for the long-distance learning modules and the conduct of its online classes.
For DepEd, Evangelista said the Santo Tomas LGU had procured laptops, risograph or a digital duplicator machine, thermal scanners, and handwashing facilities to support the agency’s mode of education under the so-called “new normal.”
“The procurement of these provisions comes at a crucial time for our Tomasino students. I fully support the blended learning program of DepEd as we are still grappling with the continuity of learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve never lost sight of the need to continue our students’ education — even during this unprecedented time,” Evangelista said. ###