Zambales becomes first-class province; Governor Ebdane reveals 5-year plan

Joann Manabat

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Zambales becomes first-class province; Governor Ebdane reveals 5-year plan

Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. announces economic growth and development in Zambales during his state of the province address on January 15. Courtesy of Zambales PIO

Zambales has been gearing up for its P2.6 billion development project through a 10-point comprehensive plan for inclusive growth and progress

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. revealed in his state of the province address (SOPA) on January 15, that Zambales province gained first-class status when it achieved its annual revenue growth of P2.09 billion from 2020 to 2022.

Setting forward its economic growth and development, Ebdane said the province consistently demonstrated its average annual income over the past three years.

Zambales is among the three provinces in Central Luzon that have reached double-digit growth in 2022, according to a December 2023 report by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“Being recognized as a first-class province signifies that Zambales is on an upward trajectory of economic growth (which) will undoubtedly benefit our communities and ensure a more equitable distribution of resources,” said Ebdane.

In his SOPA, Ebdane said Zambales has been gearing up for its P2.6 billion development project through his 10-point comprehensive plan for inclusive growth which has contributed in laying the groundwork of the province’s progressive plan since 2010. 

According to Ebdane, the “Zambales Roadmap for Optimal Growth and Development” will focus on having an empowered community with an improved health and social well-being, as well as enhancement of sports, accommodation and convention facilities in the province.

Ebdane added that part of the province’s development is its environment including a “robust” mango industry and improved farming and fishing.

Silent on dredging, mining

However, there was no mention of his plan on its beaches, the dredging projects, nor the province’s mining industry.

Mining operations and dredging projects in Zambales have been controversial for causing serious negative impacts and various environmental violations including affecting the livelihood of the residents and endangering their lives. Residents have held protests and urged the provincial development to stop mining operations and dredging projects in the past.

“Our five-year development roadmap entails an integrated approach, encompassing not only infrastructure development but also robust economic advancement and social development anchored on the needs and aspirations of our people,” Ebdane said.

The P2.6 billion development project includes the construction of new facilities. The budget was approved by the Sangguninang Panlalawigan through Resolution No. 2022-283 in 2022. 

Among the projects is the P500 million state-of-the-art Capitol building that started its construction in 2023. It will replace the old capitol built by the Spanish Civil Government in 1870 and renovated twice over the years. 

The governor said the new capitol building is a four-storey modern facility that will provide convenience and better access to service for the public. It will also have a more conducive environment for the employees of its provincial government. 

The expansion of the President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital is also on the pipeline, the governor said. The P400 million Annex building includes the installation of state-of-the-art medical equipment with 250-bed capacity and additional medical specialists to cater to its people’s needs.

Ebdane said a plan to upgrade two district hospitals in San Marcelino and Candelaria towns, as well as a community hospital in Sta. Cruz are also in the offing.

Other projects in the pipeline include the Human Kinetics and Sports Development Center including a dormitory for athletes, the expansion of the Balin Sambali to accommodate greater room for meetings and conventions, and the construction of Teatro Zamableño, a world class auditorium with 3,000 seating capacity which are expected to finish by 2026.

Known for the its production of mangoes such as the carabao variety, Ebdane also aims to establish the Zambales Green Mango Valley that will help transform idle and non-productive lands and boost mango production for local and international markets.

A responsive education program for the Zambaleños will supplement all projects in the province, the governor said.  –

1 comment

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  1. AM

    Have they computed for the environmental costs and destruction from the Capitol approved extractive industry? And what portion of the P2. 6B projects is funded from mining? Please present balanced views on this.

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