Celso reports P3.3B worth of projects completed, vows still more are coming PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 January 2012 13:26

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday reported to the local legislative body that the city’s development continues to surge ahead with 2,045 projects amounting to P3.29 billion had been completed within a span of three-year period (2009-2011), surpassing his administration’s record-breaking performance last year.

“So much has been done in my first term, so much more has been done in my second term but the best is yet to come.” These, Lobregat said, were the very words he highlighted in his State of the City Report last year.

“Now I tell you, part of the best is already here and more of the best is coming soon and still to come,” Lobregat declared in his 1 hour and 26-minute State of the City Report during the City Council’s maiden session held in a local hotel yesterday morning.

While he admitted that in 2011, the city’s peace and tranquillity was disturbed several times, the chief executive said “we were tried and tested but forged ahead as our people remained united and resolute and resolved not to allow ‘the bad guys to dominate their lives’”. “As we took one step backward, we took two, three, four and even more steps forward in bringing about the good, the positive, the best and the beautiful of Zamboanga City.”
“What will happen in 2012,” he said “will depend on us.” “Are we going to spend our time thinking, talking and preparing for the next elections which are still so far away? Are we going to just bide our time, do the popular thing and wait for the next mayor to confront the difficult and controversial issues and make the hard decisions that need to be made?” he asked with reference to his political detractors in the local legislature.

“No! Ladies and gentlemen,” he strongly countered, and declared “let us do things right with a sense of urgency.”

Building on the successes his administration had made in the last eight years, Lobregat stressed his administration continues to be prudent and judicious in the allocation of the city’s revenues and resources.

“We continue to ensure that this money is spent wisely and sensibly,” Lobregat said in his speech applauded 34 times by the multi-sectoral audience.  
He recalled that when he was first elected mayor in 2004, the annual budget of the city was P1.034 billion, but for 2011 it was P2.110 billion and for 2012, the projected annual budget is P2.156 billion, more than double the budget in 2004.

According to mayor, the city’s annual budget for 2012 has increased despite the reduction of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of all cities brought about by two factors—low collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2009 and the Supreme Court’s flip flopping decision to convert the 16 municipalities into cities.

To cushion the huge decrease in IRA and sustain the momentum, Lobregat said receipts in local taxes for 2012 are projected at P620 million or an increase of P52.55 million compared to that of 2011. Also included in 2012 Annual Budget is a reversion of continuing appropriation in the amount of P96.34 million and P30.44 million from prior years’ surplus.

Again, with sound fiscal management, he added the city government will have a well-balanced mix of a conservative Personal Services (PS) of 31%, a manageable Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of 36% and ensure an impressive Capital Outlay and Equipment (CO&E) of 33%.

In terms of expense classification in 2012, Social Services have the highest allocation at 40%, followed by General Public Services at 33%, and Economic
Services at 27%.

“As we look around the city—desde Limpapa hasta Licomo—na costa este, na costa weste, na centro, adentro y apuera, we see the projects and we see real and tangible progress. The best is already here and still so much more is coming,” Lobregat emphasized as he enumerated the various projects implemented by his administration, foremost of which were 536 projects amounting to P759.5 million for concreting of farm to market roads, concrete overlay, reblocking and asphalt overlay with a total road length of 187,752 linear meters or 187 kilometers.

Furthermore, Lobregat said the city’ s support to the education sector continues to surge with the completion of 331 projects amounting to P592.28 million, mainly for the construction of school buildings and other education-related infrastructures.

Development of parks and gardens accounted for 19 projects worth P89.9 million. This year saw the completion of the rehabilitation and improvement of Plaza Pershing with the construction of multi-patterned fountain and the completion of Laminar Shooting Jets fountain at Jardin Maria Clara.

“And in a matter of weeks we will be witnessing and enjoying the musically gyrating fountain at Paseo del Mar. The best is already here and more is coming very soon,” he reiterated. (More on Lobregat’s State of the City Report in the succeeding issues—Ed.)

Also giving their respective reports of accomplishments and plans to implement this year were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, House Deputy Speaker Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar of District 1 and Rep. Erbie A. Fabian of District 2.

Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde also reported the significant accomplishments of the City Council during the year in terms of ordinances and resolution. — Vic Larato