Rep. Pedro ‘Jun’ Acharon Jr., Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, guests, friends ….a pleasant and good morning.
More than a year ago,the people of General Santos City voted me into office on the platform of Change.
Change nga atong gipangandoy.
Change we believed and change we all wanted.
Today, we have all felt and are feeling the changes happening around us.
Daghan pa ang umaabot nga pagbag-o.
I must admit that there were some frustrations, humbling realizations and more than a handful of surprises as your humble servant transformed himself gikan sa pagka-konsehal ug karon mayor sa fastest growing city in Mindanao.
My dear colleagues in government, fellow residents and friends – I have always made known my desire to help develop our city not only for its potential ilabi na sa katawhan sa atong dakbayan
Those are the reasons — ug magpabilin nga rason — why I am putting premium and priority to education, health and finding jobs ug oportunidad alang sa tanan.
Although I made change as my overriding slogan, I also focused on maintaining stability and tried not to drastically disturb the status quo and order.
At the same time, we introduced a handful of reforms towards addressing and delivering the output of my social contract with the people – TO CREATE A LIVABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL GENERALS TOWARDS NATION BUILDING or as we put it in this administration CLEAN-GENSAN.
Human nga ako milingkod isip mayor, the first area I gave attention was the shape of our city hospital and health services.
Naguol kaayo ko sa state of neglect and mismanagement of our hospital and our overall chaotic city health services.
Our city health office and city hospital were not operating in sync, – nagkayamukat sa ato pa – jeopardizing our ability to render quality service given our already very limited resources.
I then ordered an inventory and an audit of our programs and services including the financial health of the General Santos City Hospital.
The Commission on Audit team has already submitted its preliminary findings. We are going to pursue appropriate actions against those who the COA found to have committed serious infractions.
I know our city hospital is catering to patients other than residents of this city. Dili nato mahikaw ang atong hospital kanila. But at the same time, we have to streamline our operations to be able to respond to the increasing needs of immediate and accessible health care.
Along this line, we sought the help of the Department of Health’s hospital management information system bureau to help in the computerisation of our city hospital transactions.
And we all have to thank ‘Nanay’ Lita Nuñez. Siya ang kusganong nagpaluyo ug nagduso sa mga kabag-uhan sa city hospital. By the way, our condolences to Councilor Nuñez whose husband Dioscorro ‘Dodong’ joined our Creator on Friday.
I ordered Dr. Benjamin Pagarigan and his team to make proper inventories of medicine and medical supplies and future purchases. And to immediately release and dispense them with dispatch where they rightfully are needed and where they should and properly belong.
For over a decade, our hospital was without an ICU. Mao kana ang sitwasyon sa General Santos City Hospital. Today, I am happy to announce that we now have an operational intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU can now accommodate 3 patients at any given time complete with ventilators and electro cardiogram machines, 12 infusions pumps and other critical emergency and life-saving equipment.
Dugang pa, we completed the additional Operating Room Theaters; the Hemodialysis Center Building; the Medical Isolation Unit and renovated the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Clinic.
Nahuman nato ang pag-renovatesa maternity ward ug nagdugang kita og 27 more beds to bring the total to 63. We likewise increased our hospital beds with refurbished and brand new hydraulic ones.
All these were made possible with the P67-million budget we were able to secure from the Department of Health. On top of that, the city government allocated P47 million this year for the procurement of drugs, medicines and other supplies.
Although these are marked improvements in just over a year, we still have a long way to go to decongest and address overcrowding at the city hospital. Usahay gani tulo (3) ka pasyente ang naga-share sa usa ka hospital bed.
I have also directed the city hospital administrator to make sure at least a doctor is on duty at any time of the day, 24/7.
Sa pagkakaron, ato nang hingpit nga nakab-ot ang pag-apud apud og 38,274 Philhealth cards ngadto sa pinakakabus nato nga mga lungsuranon. All 7 barangay lying-ins are now also accredited with Philhealth and we have successfully worked out zero billings for qualified beneficiaries of our coverage program.
We likewise signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Mahintana Foundation Inc. for the establishment of Health Plus Program. Under this program, we will open a pharmacy at the city hospital. We will eventually open pharmacies in all of the 26 barangays in the city.
Since June last year, we have organized six (6) medical missions conducted by international health groups like Starkey Hearing Aid Mission, Jacksonville Florida Medical Mission, World Surgical Foundation, Canadian Medical Mission Society, Arkansas Medical Mission Inc and Tsu Chi Medical Mission.
But we could do even more once we begin the reorganization and re-integration of our city health office. We will soon integrate our city hospital operations with our city health office and barangay health centers to be more responsive to the health and medical needs of our residents
Sa natad sa edukasyon, we tapped private individuals and entities to help fill the gap in classroom inadequacies such as chairs and tables, construction of additional rooms as well as renovation of old and dilapidated school buildings.
Sa atong gipatawag nga education summit last year, gi-ingnan kita sa Department of Education (DepEd) that the city has a backlog of 352 classrooms as of this school year. That means at least 15,000 pupils and students are either holding classes under the trees or covered courts or they are sharing rooms with other grades and sections.
Gawas pa ni-ana, we have a shortage of 14,000 armchairs. Those numbers will continue to increase if we cannot address the situation. As of June, we already have a total of 139,422 students and pupils in our public schools and 15,369 more in the private schools. If we cannot find solutions to the lack of classrooms in our public school system, the quality of teaching will suffer the most and our students will be the ultimate losers.
Duna na kita mga gihimo aron kini matubag ug hatagan og pamaagi. Together with DepEd, we built 40 classrooms during my first year in office and had already distributed 4,000 armchairs through our “Edukasyon Mo, Kabuhayan Mo” project which we launched in October last year.
Ang South Cotabato Filipino- Chinese Chamber of Commerce nag-donate usab og pito (7) ka building nga dunay duha ka classrooms ang matag us aka building. Nagkantidad kini og P5.6M. Bag-ohay pa lang gipirmahan ang MOA kalambigit niini, sumala kay Kagawad Monching Milleza.
PAGCOR also committed to donate 40 more classrooms for the city. We will continue to institutionalize our Early Childhood Care Development program. Atong panigurohon nga ang mga day-care level nga mga bata will learn to read and write at least five words before they are enrolled in kindergarten. Duna na kita kurikulum nga gigambalay ubos sa maong inisyatiba.
Gilakipan pud nato kini og feeding program. As of today, we have 160 day care centers spread throughout the city with about 6,000 children attending day care classes.
Sa sunod tuig, atong kining dugangan uban pa sa pag-istudyo sa uniform nga benepisyo alang sa mga day care teachers nga kasagaran karon mga barangay paid.
In partnership with SMART Communications Inc, we also launched the Community Teach Project last April 30 together with DepEd. This project is primarily focused on improving reading proficiency of public elementary school students in Grade 3 level among the city’s bottom 10 schools. Atong gitagaan og pagtagad ang mga bata nga tungod sa kalisud naapektuhan ang ilang oportunidad nga makakat-on mobasa. The same project will now continue as a remedial class for these students starting August 15 and every Saturday onwards.
We are happy to announce that our new partner shall be the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University though their Community Involvement Service ug ang Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges. They shall provide volunteer student teachers for this endeavor. A few minutes from now, we shall ink another initiative. This time focusing on our out-of-school youth.
Alternative Learning System (ALS) Lingap sa Kabataang ayaw sa DROGA or LIKAY DROGA is our initiative to bring the anti-drug abuse campaign among our out-of-school-youth. Kini nga program gisugdan sa Philippine Drug Enforcement Agencies (PDEA) ug DARE officers of the Philippine National Police. We tapped DepEd, NDDU, RMMC and the ALS Teachers as our partners. We have also partnered with DepEd to identify select 400 high school students from each of our public schools who will be trained early on entrepreneurship.
We cannot focus solely on educating our students to become employees and professionals. Kinahanglan pod nato ugmaron ug palambuon ang ilang entrepreneurial skills and passion to help and become engines of our economic growth. We have to train young our students to become producers and sellers sama sa pag-ugmad nato og sales clerks and other service providers.
Before proceeding, allow me to give my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our overworked and underpaid public school teachers.
Ma’am, sirs – I am with you in your passion and commitment for public service.
Let me also assure the different Parent Teachers Associations in the city nga akong padayon nga i-donate ang tanan nakong suweldo – in tranches of P20,000 rotated among them matag bulan. My administration has taken the opposite direction in as far as opening the city to quality education.
I had already made known my approval and unconditional support for the establishment of University of Santo Tomas campus in the city. My administration will not stand in the way in providing and accessing quality education for all residents of the city as I also once sought a better school and quality education in Cebu.
If we can have them here, nganong mo-adto pa man ta og Davao, Cebu o Manila? Indeed, why not here?
Unfortunately, I was told some national agencies are yet to act on UST’s application for the conversion of its 82-hectare property in Barangay Ligaya. Hugot akong pagtuo nga sa edukasyon kita kinahanglan mo-invest ug mag-focus if we are to progress and develop. Opening up our city to quality education will also attract investors and spur economic activities.
Still our No. 1 revenue earner
Speaking of our local economy, tuna production and fish landing will continue to be the No. 1 revenue earner. It will continue to be a vital source of income for the city of General Santos.
Tuna and other fish landings rose by 14.5 percent during the first 6 months of this year compared to the same period in 2013. (for a total volume of 104,310.96 metric tons or an increase of 13,238.69 MT from the 91,072.27 MT previous period totals). Makit-an kana ninyo sa slide sa atong video wall. Mi-usbaw usab ang ginadunggo nato nga mga isda, kasagaranan niini tuna, sa milabay nga tulo (3) ka tuig.
Total fish landings in 2013, which reached 167,578.75 MT, likewise improved over 2011 [112,890.81MT] and 2012 [139,613.34 MT]. The volume of tuna and other fish landings have long reached optimum production. We will no longer be able to produce the same quantity of tuna catch we enjoyed more than a decade ago.
Our production volume may not drastically diminish, but it will not also post significant increases in the future. Pero dili buot pasabot nga mo-undang na ang atong industriya sa pangisda. Ang mga dagkung producers from the city have been in the continuous lookout for new fishing grounds beyond our exclusive economic zones. Tungod kini sa depletion of tuna stocks ug nagkahugot nga protectionist policies of countries in the Western and Central Pacific. Dugang pa niini ang runaway production costs primarily triggered by prohibitive fuel costs.
This means Filipino fishing companies have to resort to expanding their operations beyond our shores and borders. This has led to some capital flight but it is a necessary strategy in order to prevent the collapse of our fishing industry. Our canneries here have to continue to run. Mao nga over the last 10 years, we have been steadily importing frozen tunas to augment local catches and landings.
In our search for new fishing grounds, we need to comply and abide by and with the rules and regulations of world fisheries and other governing bodies. Nag-una niini ang tulo (3) ka bulan nga ban on FAD fishing and closure of several pockets of high seas imposed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission of which we are a member and a signatory.
The Philippines was fortunate enough to have been granted and extended exception beginning 2012. Tungod sa atong pag-implementar ug pagsunod sa mga conservation measures, hinay-hinay nga nanumbalik ang kadasig sa atong fishing industry.
Apan sama sa gika-ingon ko na, we have seen better days of our tuna industry. But let me assure you that talks that our city is no longer the country’s premier producer of tuna is premature and even whimsical. Dili tinuod nga gilabawan na kita sa Mindoro.
On the contrary, many yellowfin traders are bringing their catches in the city where they command better prices. Ang unom (6) sa pito (7) ka canning factories sa tibuok Pilipinas anaa lang gihapon sa atong siyudad ug padayon nga nag-operate.
We are still the country’s Tuna Capital.
Increased local revenue collections
A big chunk of our Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), which stood at P958 million for 2014, is derived from the tuna industry. But over the last 10 years after the phenomenal rise of our tuna industry, new investment opportunities were also opened up in our city. Since I took office, increased business activities in the city have been noticeable. For the first 6 months of this year, the City Treasurer Office has already collected 82% for this year’s local tax collection target which amounted to P205.94 M from the 2014 target of P251 M. That figure is an improvement of almost 15 percent over last year’s collection over the same period.
Business tax collections from January to June this year also already amounted to P125.59M against our target of P155 M for the whole year. Our collection efficiency for general income account derived from permits and licenses is now at 77% with collections amounting to P20.3 M as against our target of P25.3M
The fiscal health of our city has never been very healthy as it is today. Atong palakpakan si Acting City Treasurer Rodilon Lacap for a job well done. Kabalo na mo karon nganong I want him to finally be appointed city treasurer.
And also, I am giving the budget and accounting departments the same credit for keeping our financial and fiscal positions very healthy. I am happy to announce also that as of June 30, 2014, the total capital infused by newly registered businesses in the city already reached P871 M more than P300 M higher from the P535.5M investments over the same period last year before I assumed office.
The gross sales receipts of business renewals in the city already reached P42.57 billion for essentials and P28.93 B for non-essentials. Both these figures are improvements of the gross sales receipts of P41.60 B and P25.8 B for essentials and non-essentials respectively for the entire 1st semester of 2013. Simply put, business has never been this good in General Santos City.
Sayod ug kabalo ako sa dugay na nga pangandoy ug mulo sa atong mga drayber. Gusto na ninyong ma-release ang inyong pending franchise applications. We could have done so overnight. But it could also mean immediate displacement of hundreds of tricycle drivers kay dili tanan atong ma-accommodate.
That is why I ordered a study of the transport and overall traffic situation in the city, including how many public utility vehicles can be allowed in our major thoroughfares, in secondary as well as mercenary routes. Gisultihan ko nga dunay 7,000 tricycle units nga nagadagan sa atong siyudad although we have so far only issued 934 franchises.
I am carefully weighing all my options before deciding which course of action we will take and measures to adopt to rationalize the city’s transport system. But we will make sure alternative sources of livelihood and other income will be made available and accessible to those who cannot be accommodated.
By October, the study done by the League of Cities in the Philippines will be presented during a transport summit that I have ordered to be scheduled. Duyog sa mga nagkalain-laing transport groups in the city, we shall formulate a 5-year city transport rationalization plan.
Naghangyo ko sa inyong pasenysa, gamayang panahon pa. We are a growing city, sooner or later our thoroughfares will be clogged by vehicles of all make. And if the trend continues, we soon could become the motorcycle capital in the Philippines.
There are pros and cons about it. Pero angayon usab nga dawaton sa atong transport workers nga kinahanglan nato og sound traffic rerouting plan and develop our mass transport system if we are to advance and become competitive with other urban centers in Mindanao and beyond.
I am also glad to announce that we already have completed the initial lighting of our city’s major thoroughfares. From DARBCI Village to Makar Wharf. Then from Hadano Park to Katangawan and Buayan, a total of 727 streetlights were installed. This has cost us P27M, so far. On July 21, we lighted the stretch of the national highway from DARBCI to Makar Wharf. The next step will be to light up our inner streets and alleys down to the purok level.
We want our people to feel secure. Properly lighted streets and alleys are deterrent to petty crimes and felonies. We are in the process of gathering the list of our city’s informal settlers and housing backlogs in the city. Sama sa akong gika-ingon, the city is prepared to acquire relocation sites for informal settlers especially those living along river banks and flood-prone areas.
The recent closure of Silway Bridge in Barangay Labangal is a reminder for the local government as well as residents living in those areas. Nanawagan ako sa atong mg ka-igsoonan nga nagpuyo sa mga danger zones – please relocate. The last thing we want to happen is to lose lives in a preventable tragedy.
We have already identified a 40-hectare property in Siguel, Barangay Bawing for our new relocation site. San Miguel Corporation recently agreed to relocate some 450 families occupying their property in Tambler to a 7-hectare relocation site. Aron malikay ang atong mga igsoon sa mga kalamidad ug uban pang emergencies, we launched Rescue 727 together with SMART Communications and our very own City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council early this year.
We also completed the geo-hazard mapping of the city and adopted Noah’s Ark project for early disaster warnings. Alerts and advisories are issued every signs of weather disturbances among mobile phone users and are dispatched to various media outlets in the city. We are now on our 3rd module for the 8-month training program under our Noah’s Ark.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that through a study conducted by the French Development Agency, we now have the baseline for our geo-hazard maps.
Karon sayod na kita kung asa nga barangay ug dapit ang una natong tutukan aron sa pag-abot sa kalamidad atong maprotektahan ang katawhan. In line with this, we already formulated our Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan. We now have a working DRRM office with a full time Emergency Response Team.
I am challenging our legislators, down to the barangay, to cooperate with our initiatives under Noah’s Ark and our Rescue 727 project. File and approve legislative measures that will make our communities ready and resilient from the effects of calamities such as Ondoy, Sendong or most recently Yolanda. To cap this, we just concluded the Climate Change Adaptation Summit last week.
We hope to accumulate data, formulate and adapt measures for cooperation with stakeholders and neighboring provinces such as Sarangani, South Cotabato and Davao Del Sur. Together we shall make our city climate change adaptive.
Our city is steadily progressing and as we continue to march, we are seeing our environment being strained by the enormity of this progress and development. Kanunay na kitang mabahaan. Ang atong mga canal ug waterways barado ug puno na. We have to immediately formulate and implement our drainage master plan. We have estimated that it will cost more than P658 million to pursue our drainage master plan. To execute this one, we divided the implementation of these plans and we already started executing the same together with our partner the DPWH.
Construction of the Bula-Lagao Road drainage canal, the national highway and the Baluan-Buayan drainage projects have resumed. Even as we fulfil the task of delivering basic social services to our people, we are also bringing government and governance to the people. We did not only continue but also improve bringing the city government to the villages though our Barangayan program. I also opened up city hall every Tuesday for our weekly People’s Day.
As economic hub
Like many of us in public service, we all dream of having a city worth living in. Taas pa ang dalan nga atong latason ug paga-baklayon. We are at least 20 years behind our neighbor Davao City and at least 25-years behind most urban centers in the Visayas and Luzon.
Hinuon, we have become the hub of economic activities in Region 12 – communication, transportation, banking and finance, manufacturing, services and others. We will reinforce this status by formulating our own development road map as the economic and cultural center, as well as tourism gateway of the region. We will continue to work and engage neighbouring provinces.
It is for this vision that I am calling on the Sangguniang Panlungsod to help prepare and legislate a new comprehensive land use plan of the city. Kinahanglan na natong bag-ohon ang landscape o dagway sa siyudad. I opened talks with the University of Asia and Pacific to help gather data, statistics and information preparatory to the drafting of a comprehensive city development plan nga nakasentro sa atong land use plan.
We need to redefine our city zoning ordinance, amend our real property tax schedule and review our local investment code. We also have to anticipate and brace for the ASEAN integration in 2015. How it will affect the local economy and our tuna canning and processing sector is our lookout given that Thailand is a major competitor and is even a bigger canned tuna processor than us.
We also want to anticipate the effects and the opportunities it will present to our small and medium enterprises. Sa gusto nato o dili, we have to brace ourselves for this eventuality. The local government must take the lead in defining our development agenda by laying down the foundation and defining where investments and business opportunities are most welcomed.
Times are, however, also a-changing.
We now have to look beyond the tuna industry in order for the city to march towards further prosperity. Bag-o ta gibantog nga Tuna Capital of the Philippines, ang atong siyudad nailhan nga dakong supplier of hogs and cattle for the Metro Manila market – some 20 percent of its requirement. While our cattle industry is now virtually non-existent, we still have the infrastructure to revive it.
We are still among Mindanao’s biggest producers of hogs. And while agricultural production has gone down due to urbanization, General Santos City is still the preferred destination and gateway of agricultural products in the region. Daghan pa ‘tang mga potential sama sa palay production, vegetables growing and even cottage industries.
We may have lost potential revenues when Dole Philippines Inc chose to ship their canned and fresh pineapples in Davao rather in our port due to cost-saving measures. Usa na niini ang kamahal sa atong cabotage fees. But if we can build an integrated food terminal in the city, our ports will again be a shipping hub in this part of Mindanao.
We could house a Triple A abattoir, warehouse, cold storage and chilling facilities for agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat products. The region’s ever-expanding and now producing mango industry will tremendously benefit if we can also house a vapor-heat treatment plant as well as processing facilities.
If Cebu is noted for its processed mango products even if it has no large mango plantations, walay rason nganong dili kini mahimo sa General Santos. These may take time. But we will pursue them and will not lose hope that someday all of these will be in place.
We need to create a new brand for the city. We have to look beyond being the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Beyond being the Home of Champions sama ni Congressman Manny – ang atong Pambansang Kampeon. We could become Mindanao’s agri-industrial hub given our wide avenues and highways, open and idle spaces, excellent location and available infrastructure such as our sprawling airport and seaport.
We will again be hosting the 23rd Mindanao Banana Congress. This, after we played host to the National Hog Convention (April 2014) and the National Dairy Congress (May 2014).
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala recently turned over the newly built P8-million soils laboratory in the city. We are now waiting the DA’s approval of our proposed Integrated Food Terminal, including the proposed Mango Industrial Development Study even as we prepare ourselves for future re-development and rehabilitation of the Makar Wharf.
We have also stepped up linkages and exploratory talks with different chambers of commerce – the likes of the American Chamber of Commerce, the chambers of Japan, Canada and Australia in the country – for possible investment opportunities in our city. Many businessmen from these chambers have expressed interests in investing in our city.
In the following months, we shall see a steady influx of businessmen making due diligence into the city’s business climate. Our status as the premier convention center in Region 12 should encourage more business locators in the city. From January to May this year, we hosted seven (7) big national conventions, four of them with delegates of more than 2,000 each. Sunod bulan, we will again be hosting the 16th National Tuna Congress and the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference.
We are positioning our city to become the tourism gateway in the region even as we proud ourselves with our Tuna and Kalilangan festivals. Ang Tuna ug Kalilangan festivals gikatanyag na sa tibuok kapupud-an. The Kalilangan Festival has been a perennial and consistent winner as a cultural and tourism event and our Tuna Festival is unique and incomparable in the country. These are excellent opportunities for the hotel and restaurant sector. Let us build on the goodwill and momentum of these annual spectacles by expanding and improving our amenities and services.
Speaking of providing the proper climate for business to bloom, I instructed the city planning as well as the city engineer office to immediately act with dispatch the construction permit of Robinsons Land. Makit-an na man nato ang paspas nga construction niini diha sa Barangay Labangal. A new mall will also soon rise in Calumpang.
If problems in putting up business are within the purview of my office and the city government, I assure investors that they will be attended to with proper haste and dispatch. We cannot allow investors leaving in huff and frustrated because of the cumbersome and circuitous requirements and inaction by our city employees.
This is where the computerization program becomes even more important. If we can reduce business processing and other licensing requirements from months to just weeks, by all means we should do it now. In return, I urge our businessmen and investors to tap into our reservoir of human resources.
Sa survey nga atong gihimo, bagbutyag nga 15,000 young people are out of school. If we can provide them employment opportunities, you will help reduce poverty incidence in the city which, at 25%, is still alarmingly high. I urge the Sangguniang Panlungsod to look into providing additional incentives to greenfield projects that will be able to employ certain number of employees.
The incentives could be proportionate to the number of new jobs created. Allow me also to congratulate the Sangguniang Panlungsod for having been a true partner of my administration. Without your support, we would not have achieved all our accomplishments.
We will soon resume operation of our existing dumpsite and landfill. I earlier ordered a review of the contract entered into by the previous administration and found a handful of provisions that are not in consonance with the interest of the city. We are now also pursuing a development study for our landfill with representatives from the World Bank.
Ginatutokan na nato ang makanunayong pagbaha sa siyudad matag mokusog ang ulan. Gimando na nako ang usa ka study on comprehensive drainage system lakip na ang sewage and sewerage system.
But, along with others, these should be integrated with our development road map. Our public market also needs major renovation after years of being in the state of disrepair. Apan ginatan-aw usab nato ang posibleng pag-relocate sa atong public market along with our bus terminal.
We are in regular consultation with Socoteco II in finding solution to our power supply deficiency. It will take time before power supply will stabilize as supply coming from Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) will not come until the last quarter of 2015, at the earliest. We have met with Socoteco II officers and have made known our support for the 20 MW bunker-fired power plant that it is being built by Peakpower Socsksargen Inc. This will go on commercial stream by end of September this year.
The 15MW modular generating sets of Socoteco II are now likewise running when supply is curtailed by NPC. Without this and the 15 MW supply from Mapalad Diesel Power Plant, we would still be experiencing daily rotational brownouts today.
I was given assurance by Socoteco II that unless power is curtailed by NPC, we will have ample supply for the city – for now. I am also calling on Socoteco II to anticipate and improve its foresight as we will need an additional of at least 5MW every year of power supply even after the projected operation of the Sarangani Energy Corporation’s power plant in Maasim, Sarangani. We should not have a repeat of the 2010-2013 power supply crises that brought untold losses to our economy.
Peace and order
The one important area I would like to address with dispatch is the continuing illegal drug menace we have been fighting for years now. Kanunay ako makadawat og report nga nagkakusog na usab ang iligal nga mga activities sa mga drug syndicates sa siyudad.
I am giving our city police force up to December to produce concrete results and once and for all clean our city from illegal drugs. This menace should simply stop. Undangon na nato kini. In the same manner that I am putting to task the city police force to identify, apprehend and prosecute people behind the summary killings and assassinations in the city, including the alarming increase in rape cases.
The buck stops at me but I am also warning the city’s police force. Do not wait until I cut you off from the support we have been giving the city police office. We need results. We need to make people safe in the city. That is why I have ordered policemen detailed under my office to go back to their mother units. The safety of the people is paramount to me more than protecting the city mayor. I do not want to further reduce the police-population ratio in the city.
We are in in this together
We cannot meet and achieve these development agenda without us in the local government working together and in harmony. Along this line, we are speeding up the computerization of city hall. We shall be opening talks now for partners who shall provide ready systems that will computerize our operations inside City Hall. When I assumed office, I do not even have an intercom line connected to our department heads.
All data and statistics in the office of the city mayor were missing. I had to start from the scratch, from the bottom. If you find my decision making taking time, it is because I want all relevant information on hand. They should be in the tip of my fingers. And that is what the computerisation is all about – transparency and real time access to information.
I recently signed the CNA with our local government employees and I will take the extra step to grant allowable benefits to our city employees. In return, I expect and require from you transparency and performance. I know how the bureaucracy has made some of our employees less productive over time. I have given others more than a year to shape up.
Expect some major revamps in city hall. There will be reshuffling and new and fresh faces coming in.
For starters, we are already institutionalising the Strategic Performance Management System for all employees where each is required to make their individual performance target, in line with a departmental plan. Rating then for every department shall be made by the collective achievements of targets.
In line with this, the grant of performance incentives will then be commensurate to what is the performance given by our employees. The purpose: give the public what is due them.
I am not into a witch hunting mode. Neither am I becoming vindictive. I am beyond that. All I want is for the bureaucracy to be of service to the people, to be accountable to authority.
Our task ahead
As we continue with our journey, let me capsulize what we intend to accomplish in the next two years.
We will turn our vast idle lands into more productive use and will create new town sites and economic zones where business will bloom and people will find employment.
Together with the Sangguniang Panlungsod, we shall transform our city into a more competitive, well-balanced economy and hope to see more investments coming in as we review, revise and amend our city land use plan.
I am therefore calling on members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to address the bottlenecks in the implementation of infrastructure projects in the course of your oversight functions.
This appeal is also address to the different offices. It appears to me that there are major hiccups in the procurement processes that cause the delay of these projects.
It bothers me no end to see that only 4 percent of the P644-million infrastructure projects already programmed and funded by the previous administration has been implemented.
We will intensify our revenue collection as we respond to these development challenges that lie ahead of us.
We will provide the necessary infrastructure and streamline processes and requirements for existing as well as new businesses.
We will continue to institute reforms and rehabilitate our city hospital as well as drastically re-orient our city health services.
We will continue to build schools, provide arm chairs as we address the backlogs accumulated throughout the years.
We will address our city transport situation and will be coming out with a comprehensive transport management and traffic plan.
We will institute reforms within city hall to make our employees more service –oriented and responsible public servants.
These are visions I intend to keep and fulfill.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are other accomplishments which are worth enumerating but we do not have the luxury of time.
To all department heads and countless personnel who have worked so hard to make our city a livable place, I can only offer my thankless appreciation.
Those whose accomplishments I did not cite, please do not despair. It does not mean the people and I did not appreciate what you have done.
We are all in this together.
To the people of General Santos who gave me their stamp of approval and mandate, rest assured that I will reciprocate your trust with unqualified and faithful public service.
Dili ko kamo pakyason!
As we journey our way to genuine progress and development, let us keep track and be reminded that there are greater tasks ahead of us and that the job is an endless quest for a better future.
Padayon! Maayong adlaw kanatong tanan!