Beng’s first SOCA focuses on innovations for progress PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 January 2014 11:21

Mayor Beng Climaco delivered her first State of the City Report before members of the City Council yesterday morning, focusing on the innovations that the city government under her administration has initiated for the past six months, those that it intends to do this year and onwards.

Among these innovations, Climaco said, is the streamlined business permit renewal system, shortening the process to 30 minutes after payment of taxes through Executive Order 28, a move that is expcted to increase the local revenues and pump prime micro and small enterprises and employment.

“Con el ayuda del diferente Chambers of Commerce, junto kita implimenta maga inovacion para progresa el ciudad,” Climaco said in her 27-minute report.

She also asked the Sangguniang Panlungsod to study the enactment of laws that will institutionalize the firecracker ban and to revisit the master plan, the tourism, investment and tax codes and all ordinances that deal with social services.

Climaco said the city government had caused the return of the 15% mobilization fee for unimplemented infrastructure projects that led to the recovery of P2.01 million from three erring construction firms.

The present administration has also initiated a health program for city government employees that includes the “Fitness Friday,” free annual medical check-up during employees’ birth month, blood pressure monitoring and random blood sugar screening every first Friday of the month.

Another innovation is the conduct of “Dia del Alcalde” during the fiesta celebration in the barangays, wherein complete government services from health care to agriculture and civil registration are given for free to all residents.

The Forced Evacuation Ordinance, which saved lives and prevented further destruction during the 23-day siege last September, was another innovation cited by the United NATIONS High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for following the international standards.

The prompt conceptualization and implementation of the Humanitarian, Recovery and Rehabilitation Coordination Structure has been cited by the UN and used as model in its interventions in Hanoi, Vietnam and other calamity-stricken areas.

Barely four months after the September siege, Climaco said the city is now in the early recovery stage. From food packs, the relief operations shifted to food and cash for work programs.

“The city gears for the rehabilitation phase following the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) with a funding of P3.5 billion that was approved by President Aquino last Dec. 22,” she said, adding that the city had also facilitated the transfer of over 200 MNLF detainees from Zamboanga to Manila.

With the “Build Back Better” concept, Climaco said the Z3R will construct a new, safer and better community within 6-18 months period. Force safety and convenience, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been gradually transferred to four transitory sites in Tulungatung, Taluksangay, Rio Hondo Elementary School and the bunkhouses at the grandstand. The 5th temporary shelter will soon rise in Upper Calarian, where the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (PTSI) has allowed the free use of its one-hectare property for the IDPs.

Climaco has also expressed her gratitude for all the help the city continues to receive. As of January 8, monetary assistance for rehabilitation has reached P27.8 million, “the record of which is open to the public in line with our thrust on transparency and accountability”.

“We will work on the possibility of opening new roads to decongest our city. We support Pres. Aquino’s peace programs, we maintain the stand of the people of Zamboanga for exclusion in any and all proposed Bangsamoro entity because of the two plebiscites,” the lady chief executives declared as she urged everybody to work together and support the police and military to prevent a repeat of the September siege or similar incident.

Security, Health and Education (SHE) are the priority thrusts of the administration, and when assumed office on July 1, 2013 the first order of the day was the issuance of an executive order reconstituting the City Peace and Order Council during a meeting with stakeholders.

On the same day, the first nine Toyota Hi-lux vehicles, purchased through her previous congressional PDAF, were turned over to the police. Soon after, the Comprehensive Security Plan was formulated as earlier initiated by then Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo with Task Force Zamboanga.

It was also during this administration that the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan and the CDRRMC Investment Plan were approved, including the purchase of necessary equipment for use in times of calamity and emergency situations.

Meanwhile, Climaco said the city government will work with so much effort this year to secure the people of Zamboanga. Foremost of which is the aggressive campaign on road safety and responsibility, proper cleanup and sanitation.

The sanitary landfill system in Salaan is expected to start operation soon, while the controversial Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) in Divisoria initiated by the previous administration of now District 1 Rep. Celso Lobregat has resumed construction.

Notwithstanding the September siege, Climaco pointed out that Zamboanga remains a strategic location for trade and commerce in the region and BaSulTa areas. “Even after the siege, we are happy to have first time visitors to the city with tourist inflow in 2013 hit over 358,000 with Sta. Cruz Island recording an 87% increase in tourist visits. — Vic Larato