Visiting Once a Year, A Close Look on Family Development
Today March 5, 2011, once again, my wife and I are coming to the Handicap Soldier Development Centre after my visit last year on March 8. It has been exactly one year since when I have promised that my wife and I will try to visit all of you once every year. Whatever I say, either in the local community context or in relation with neighboring countries, will not be backtracking.
Even in my absence, my wife and/or my children will come on my behalf to visit you all here as a continuation of a noble job that I have started. I have said and assured you all that this task is noble and I will never leave you just after transferring you from the handicap centre at Kien Svai to this place. I have to fulfill my duty in overseeing you personally, your family’s performances and keeping watch that you all will not fall under the poverty line. What concerns me even more is chance for education for your children.
To start with, today we will put into official use a two storey building here for education service. No one would have imagined that here in Taken Koh Sla, former battlefield, there would be a building for schooling as such. It is beyond one’s thought indeed. As is affirmed by General Tit Meng Long, we have committed to improvement of educational chance and facilities for children here.
We now have five school buildings with 33 classrooms for 1,374 students and 56 teachers. As you can see here that the school buildings would comprise of all three levels of education – primary, junior secondary and senior secondary. With this facility in place, I am sure, children of our people in the community, not just those of the handicap soldiers, would have access to a nine year education (that is a requirement stated in the Constitution).
For children who would pass the senior secondary education, they stand a chance to be provided with a scholarship for furthering their education too. I have been receiving some one thousand scholarships or so per annum. I would set aside some of them for children of our handicap soldiers. Whenever they need in addition to qualifications they possess that are suitable to the standard set for a person to attain the scholarship, my cabinet, especially my son who is directly in charge of the scholarship will see to that.
As I have come this far I am so certain that your children have access to education not less than when they were with you at the handicap centre at Kien Svay district. In addition to that we have a clinic here specially built and prepared for child delivery. As you all may know that delivery before was being attended in general ward. As of March 1, if I am correctly reported, there was this first delivery in the new building. My wife said before arriving here that if anyone is to deliver while she is here she would attend to the delivery herself.
It is an encouraging result that the general ward here, as is reported by Gen. Tit Meng Long, has been providing treatment for some 12,195 patients in addition to 101 women who came for delivery. It is a satisfaction for us that in our society no one is being disregarded for physical reason and/or background when it comes to wedded pair. Take for instance my wife disregarded my handicap to get married with me. And it is also the case here where families of handicap soldiers are marrying their kids, or sometime between handicap soldiers’ families and those from outside the handicap soldier centre.
Today I have asked the Minister for Water Resources and Meteorology to come along. It should be recalling of the past experiences in Prey Veng province where there was a big flood in 1994 and drought in 1995. As of now, as far as I am informed, some wells have gone dried already. To say it in other words, the water table underground has gone further down and various ponds, including those at my place at Takhmao, have had the lowest level of water. It is amazingly bizarre because in October 2010, 600 mm of rain in 48 hours had been recorded. Now, only a slightly little water level remains. This has warned us of how to go about preparing for a water shortage both for consumption and for irrigation.
It has been the case here that only eight wells have maintained water level that is catering to need for washing and cooking. In 2010, the Ministry of Rural Development provided 33 drilling wells that are sufficient for household use but not for irrigation. The Ministry has indeed requested to me to drill some 30 more of the wells plus a 100 m by 200 m at the depth of 3 meters. That would include also a number of ponds for fish culture. Let me now instruct that this task of supplying water will be conducted by two ministries involved. I would permit the Ministry of Rural Development to continue its project of drilling some 30 wells more in order to increase coverage area with wells.
Since this service provision would only respond to household consumption need for water, I would leave the issue of searching for a more potential sources of water supply for irrigation to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. The Ministry must have received my instruction in writing already, but because the Minister is here, I would like to clarify the duty of providing water for irrigation not only for the Handicap Soldier Centre but also for areas in the vicinity. Water is second in line to be addressed here. We have to go beyond water availability for household consumption to addressing agricultural development demand.
It has been requested to me by HE Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior, to establish a new commune boundary and authority here. I would ask HE Khoy Khun Huor, Governor of Kompot, to consider placing the commune authority out of the Handicap Centre. My reason is for the centre not to be plagued with incidents that may arise from electoral campaign season. Some opposition candidates may enter and reprimand handicap persons, who may, directly or indirectly, return with anger. I think it is best to put a commune office out of this centre.
Some people are so disrespectful that they may say scornful words to handicap people in general not to mention only those soldiers who have been handicapped for national defense. I am one of handicap person in Cambodia and I take that as disrespectful and immoral acts to do. In fact, handicap people deserve to be treated well. Let’s look at our law on handicap. The state and private institutions are obliged to set a quota in their workplaces for handicap people. Buildings must be accessible by handicap. For instance, the office building of the Council of Ministers, we have access roads and stairs for handicap persons too. I hope our people will be able to distinguish and make good judgment as with whom to entrust the job of leadership.
In fact we have here some houses ready in preparation for handicap soldiers in the war of defending our territory at Preah Vihear area. Yesterday, a letter has been sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia and Thailand and also all Foreign Ministers of ASEAN. Cambodia has accepted completely what is proposed in the letter and has pointed out 14 locations, more can be decided later, and a timeframe of twelve months, with possible extension, for the observation team. The Minister of Indonesia is considering proposing meetings of the General Border Committee and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary in Indonesia.
How come (the Thai side) continues to insist on bilateral (negotiation)? It is true that the two will finally be the ones who make decisions, but what about the party who has convened the meeting? Indonesia will host and co-sign the outcome of the meeting. (Thailand) claimed to be welcoming (the Indonesian observation team) and also challenged Cambodia to do so as well. When Cambodia accepts and goes forward, they are backtracking so as to consider the option./.