8th State of the City Address
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“GOOD GOVERNANCE AND INCLUSIVE GROWTH, A CONTINUING LEGACY”
The 2015 State of the City Address of Honorable Evelyn T. Uy, City Mayor of Dipolog
14 April 2015; 2:00 P.M.; Atrium, Top Plaza Hotel, Dipolog City
HONORABLE VICE MAYOR and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, DR. HORACIO B. VELASCO;
HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD;
Our distinguished Representatives at the Lower House of Congress, HONORABLE ROSENDO “DODOY” LABADLABAD of the 2nd District, and HONORABLE ISAGANI S. AMATONG of the 3rd District of Zamboanga del Norte;
HONORABLE ROBERTO Y. UY, Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Norte;
HONORABLE VICE GOVERNOR SENEN O. ANGELES and the DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN;
MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY;
Our hardworking BARANGAY CAPTAINS and COUNCIL MEMBERS of the twenty-one barangays of Dipolog;
Heads of the different national line agencies and offices;
Officers and gentlemen of the uniformed service, Col. JESUS MANANQUIL, Commander of the 101st Army Infantry Brigade; Police Superintendent Rannie Hachuela, Chief of Police of Dipolog; OIC-PNP Provincial Director
Our active partners in development: the members of the Business Community led by the Dipolog Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Non-Government and Peoples’ Organizations, Civil Society, the Religious Sector, members of the Media;
My fellow workers in the City Government;
Mga pinalangga kong Dipolognon,
MAAYONG HAPON KANATONG TANAN!
Last year, I stood before you and declared that the success of Dipolog is a result of our people’s journey to good governance. As we gather here this afternoon for my 8th annual report to the people, I would like to start exactly where we left off a year ago.
Sa miaging tuig, gihimo ko ang usa ka panaad isip Mayor ug inahan sa dakbayan nga ako mahimong usa uban kaninyo ug magkuyog ta sa kalambuan.
From that day, we have had so many successes in a lot of fronts. Today, I can sum up the condition and the state of our city as stronger and bolder. Development has definitely arrived in Dipolog.
Our city is no longer the sleepy, backward town of 20 years ago. Our city is now facing the same challenges typical of a growing, developing urban center: High and rapid population growth, heavily increasing population density, space congestion and rising resource consumption, among other concerns. Add to it the limitation on resources — financial and others — which strains the capability of the local government to properly and expeditiously address said concerns.
We are a relatively small city of 134,000 people but we have seen remarkable growth as our population has nearly doubled in just 25 years. And our city’s population density is the highest in the Zamboanga Peninsula region at nearly a thousand people per square kilometer.
This fact can largely be attributed to the rapid economic growth that our city has seen in the last decade. From seven urban barangays and 14 rural barangays ten years ago, the landscape has dramatically changed. Dipolog now has 14 urban barangays and only seven remained rural.
Of course, accompanying development are the multifarious concerns that we have to face. But believe me when I say that life in Dipolog is still getting more exciting by the day. In fact, people have never been this excited about Dipolog — Businesses and banks are opening left and right; the volume of new business investments is on a steady increase; the first commercial passenger marine vessel, the MV Lady of Good Voyage of Medallion Transport, is on its third week plying the direct Cebu-Dipolog route using our very own Dipolog Sea Port in Galas; the Dipolog Airport’s new terminal building will be operational very soon; as well as the Corazon Aquino Hospital; plus many other public investments on infrastructure and facilities.
So you may ask, how are we able to manage to be this vibrant despite our limited local resources?
I say, in our belief that INNOVATION is key to addressing resource problems. Local governments are now challenged with an increasing demand from its constituency to address growing societal problems and at the same time people are now expecting greater transparency, efficiency and a more effective delivery of public goods and services from civil servants.
I would like to give special emphasis on the resource partnership that our City has forged with the national government. For the first time in decades, Dipolog has gotten the important attention in terms of the volume of projects poured, the amount of which runs in the hundreds of millions of pesos. We can’t thank enough His Excellency Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for all of these. President Aquino made sure that the people of Dipolog and Zamboanga del Norte will benefit from the country’s inclusive economic growth.
This year, we will be seeing the completion and progress of various big-ticket infrastructure projects in our city.
* The Corazon C. Aquino Hospital with a total project of cost of 250-Million Pesos will be inaugurated later this year after we have completed the acquisition of hospital equipment and fixtures.
* We have recently completed the 8-Million-Peso Phase I of improvements at the Cogon Eco-Tourism Park using
funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise
Zone Authority or TIEZA.
* The rehabilitation of Dipolog Communal Irrigation System worth over 58-Million Pesos. The funding from this project came from the Agrarian Reform Communities Project II, the Performance-Based Incentive Award from the Department of Finance and local counterpart from the city government.
* The Department of Tourism has likewise spent 100
Million Pesos to start the extension of the Dipolog
* Ongoing implementation now is the rehabilitation and
extension of the breakwater at the Dipolog Sea Port in Galas. A total of 45-Million Pesos was allocated by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for this project.
* Likewise, DPWH Region 9 is implementing a number of other infrastructure projects to include widening of various roads in the city; completion of the River Control worth over 200-Million Pesos; as well as the concreting of the Cogon-Diwan Road leading to Sungkilaw Falls. These tourism-support infrastructure, which also include the Linabo Road, are worth more than 300-Million Pesos.
Magpasalamat kita sa atong pinalanggang Presidente Noynoy Aquino gumikan sa dakong tabang nga iyang nahatag sa pagpalambo sa Dipolog.
Dipolog’s story is getting better by the day. Now, we are starting to see the results. This afternoon, we look back at what we have accomplished and achieved last year.
Our experience in Dipolog is that innovation calls not only for improvement but the greater work of TRANSFORMATION. The Dipolog that we are seeing and experiencing now is a product of a number of innovative practices, ideas and programs.
Last October, our city was bestowed with the prestigious Gawad Galing Pook for the Dipolog Urban Renewal Program. Our city’s urban development and renewal was cited for being one of the ten most outstanding and model local governance programs in the country as it embodied multi-dimensional objectives not only for environmental protection, but socio-economic and cultural development, as well.
We all know the story of how Dipolog was able to transform the lives of 500 families who were former informal settlers at the coastline of the city. Many fisherfolks and a greater number of migrants from other places have built shanties over the coast creating a slum out of a very important natural resource of our place. We used to call it as Dipolog’s longest toilet. It was unsightly but more over it was definitely a degrading and unsafe living condition for the families in that slum.
A strong political will and the sincerity to uplift the lives of the people made the difference. People had to be relocated from the coastal slum which is both a disaster to the environment as it is also a disaster for the people who were perennially affected by storm surges during typhoons.
Fast-forward to present time, from slum, the coastal area has been transformed and is now named as the Dipolog Boulevard, the hub of community events for leisure, sports and wellness, entertainment, cultural heritage promotion, among other diverse uses.
Our Boulevard has become the city’s magnet to attract businesses to develop and locate in the area and the city’s business district. At present, 15 businesses have opened shop at the two-commercial buildings — most of these businesses are owned by young local startup entrepreneurs. Aside from contributing an additional 5-Million Peso annual income for the city coffers in the form of space rentals at the commercial building, the boulevard has provided a sustainable source of income for local micro-entrepreneurs such as balut and barbeque vendors, fruit traders and other small food stall operators.
In early February of this year, I was able to present our success story in Singapore before a panel of urban infrastructure international experts and they were awed by the transformation that we were able to achieve. Likewise, only last week, the Philippine Political Science Association had their professional conference here in Dipolog and a number of them were one in saying that what we have is a perfect example of how local governments can innovate and forge collaborations to realize inclusive growth and felt development by the people.
The innovative transformation story should not end here. Let’s look at the 500 families whose lives were dramatically changed after they were relocated from the coastal slum.
They now live in a better and functional community complete with public utilities, education and health facilities, livelihood and income opportunities. The local government’s sincere intent to save these people from imminent danger of natural disasters and environmental decay far outweighed the political risks that accompanied such transformation.
Our successes will be in vain if we are not able to sustain the conditions that prevailed when we worked for it. This is where the importance of maintaining our peace, order and security get into play and we appreciate the efforts of the men and women of our police, military, fire and rescue units.
A growing local economy coupled with lack of public vigilance is often an ingredient of rising crimes. A good foresight and a working plan is therefore needed to avert the proliferation of criminality.
Last month, the Dipolog Police Station under the leadership of P/Supt. Hachuela, presented to the City’s Peace and Order Council what they call as LACAP or the Localized Anti-Criminality Action Plan against Theft and Robbery. This particular plan calls for a 60% massive reduction, if not total elimination, of theft and robbery cases against present crime statistics. We need to support PNP and AFP programs like this as it will definitely benefit everyone.
I have always said that the heart of our governance transformation is the effective and efficient delivery of various social development services to our people.
Our performance in the health sector is one that is worthy of admiration. We have maintained in the last three years — that is from 2012 to 2014 — our ZERO MATERNAL DEATH record. Likewise, our infant mortality rate has declined to a measly 0.007 percent. Also, our tuberculosis cure rate remains high at 90 percent, surpassing the Department of Health’s 85 percent cure target.
Our steadfast dedication over the years to keep the general health needs and welfare of our people has rewarded us. In 2014, Dipolog City was bestowed the honor of being awarded the Red Orchid Hall of Fame for our resolve to implement the NO SMOKING campaign in all public places and conveyances.
Likewise, Dipolog City holds a Hall of Fame and has the singular honor of being the only Mindanao city to be nominated in the national level Child-Friendly City Award.
But these recognitions would spell bigger meaning if we can likewise improve our nutrition record. As I speak now, we still have 205 Dipolognon children who are suffering from malnutrition. While this represents only a meager 1.1% of the total child population of the City, we definitely should not stop until we arrest this problem. We cannot stop until the last malnourished child becomes healthy.
I therefore challenge our City Nutrition Office, City Health Office, the City Social Welfare and Development Office, other relevant units of the city government and our barangays to work hand-in-hand and to work thoroughly to address this problem.
I challenge you that instead of the target to lower malnutrition by 0.1 percent this year, let us do a breakthrough by erasing malnutrition cases in Dipolog before I end my term as Mayor. Let us target ZERO MALNUTRITION in Dipolog.
A growing city also has growing health needs. It is the dream of my administration, with the full support of our doctor-Vice Mayor and the Sangguniang Panlungsod, that we are able to provide quality medical services to our people. This dream will come true this year as we are set to open very soon the Corazon C. Aquino Hospital of our city government.
This 150-bed capacity hospital follows the so-called Four As of effectiveness of a hospital system, namely: Accessibility, Availability, Affordability and Acceptability. The new city hospital has the following facilities: Emergency Room, Operating Room, Out-Patient Department, Pharmacy, Delivery Room, Labor Room, Recovery Room, Nursery, Laboratory, Diagnostic Center and others.
Again, we express our profound thanks to President Aquino for bringing our dream into a reality. Finally, Dipolognons will have a hospital that we can call as our own.
Last year, I promised that the city government will continue investing on our people through education. And that’s exactly what we did. That is actually what we have been doing ever since the onset of this administration.
In close collaboration and partnership with the Department of Education, the DPWH, Governor Roberto Uy, Congressman Dodoy Labadlabad and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, we set out on a mission to close the gap of classroom deficit in our city. Among others, let me cite the partnership that we are trying to forge with the Provincial Government for the construction this year of an 80-classroom, three-storey building at the Zamboanga del Norte National High School.
While we are gaining grounds on classroom provision, we are set to face yet another formidable challenge: The K-to-12 Program which requires Kinder plus two additional years in our basic education program.
I am proud to announce that in our desire to fully prepare all concerned, Dipolog was selected as one of the ten pilot cities of the League of Cities of the Philippines for their Senior High School (SHS) Program. In fact, our City Schools Division Superintendent Victorina Perez prepared an impressive budget proposal and action plan for the implementation of Senior High School in Dipolog City. This will serve as the model action plan for other LGUs in the implementation of SHS.
I am also committed to continue extending full support for poor but deserving youths so they are able to continue their schooling. We have at present a total of 40 scholarship grants made available through the Alay Lakad Council. Those who cannot afford college degree programs can be accommodated in the Alternative Learning System of DepEd .
We have set our sights, together with DepEd, in ensuring that our young people can have the best shot at education. Our goals are: Every 6-year-old must be able to read; every 12-year-old must be able to go to high school; every 16-year-old must be able to go to college or to skills training centers; and every adult Dipolognon must be able to keep on learning for a lifetime.
Part of the city’s collaborative innovation in delivering education for all is the partnership of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA and the Dipolog City Livelihood Skills Development and Enhancement Center (LSDEC).
A total of over 1.5-Million Pesos was invested by TESDA last year in the form of scholarships under their Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) and the Training for Work Scholarship Program or TWSP. In 2014, a total of 224 people benefitted from this partnership. These figures are in addition to the 185 scholar grantees of the city government through LSDEC who were trained and certified in Welding, Plumbing, Wheel-loader, and Electrical Installation and Maintenance. These are no longer numbers, no longer statistics of unemployment but individuals who now have a greater chance of improving their stake in life either as workers or entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, a total of 1.9-Million Pesos was poured in by the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) through various programs benefitting Dipolognons. Four-hundred young people, including the one-hundred-forty out-of-school youth scholars of the city government, benefitted from DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).
Also implemented in 2014 are the Bicycle and Kayak Rental Services Project for Out-of-School-Youths of Barangay Barra and Estaka, respectively, and garments-making project at Barangay Olingan.
Dipolog’s economy is growing by leaps and bounds. This is no longer a cliche but a reality that is founded on hard evidence supported by economic data.
Our 2014 figures reveal that new businesses registered during the year posted a total of 138-Million Pesos of fresh capital infusion in the local economy. Likewise, collection of business taxes and fees for last year totaled 40.2-Million Pesos which is 7.6 percent more than the collection in 2013. We thank the local business community for religiously paying your business taxes.
Meantime, while the local economy remains bullish, property development is also picking the upbeat pace. Last year, a total of 619 new buildings were constructed in our city at a total cost of 370-Million Pesos. Of these, 202-Million Pesos were for new commercial and industrial buildings.
It is therefore not surprising that banks have trained their sights on Dipolog for their expansion. Aside from the 4 new banks which opened in 2013, three others have located in Dipolog during the first quarter of 2015.
Dipolog’s viability as a business brand has been tried and tested over the last couple of years and the challenge now is how we are able to sustain investment interest. One way is for government to give the kind of service that businesses deserve. Over the last few years, your city government has seriously been working out innovations and transformations to make processes more business-friendly and to scale up our city’s business competitiveness.
One important breakthrough towards achieving this is the further streamlining of our Business Permits and Licensing System or BPLS. Starting with our Business-One-Stop-Shop in January of this year, we have reduced the number of business registration steps from the previous 11 to only FOUR STEPS.
With the reduction in steps, processing time has likewise dramatically reduced. On the average, we can expect that processing time from submission of complete application to releasing of computation of taxes and fees to be about 2 hours per application. Permit applications filed in the morning will more likely be approved and released the same day.
To avert reliance and heavy dependence of the local government on its internal revenue allotment, there is a conscious effort to improve generation of local income from our established Public Economic Enterprises. In 2014, we were able to generate more than 88-Million Pesos from our economic enterprises. Allow me to recognize the following income centers in terms of their annual collection:
* City Public Market contributed a total of 18.2-Million Pesos;
* Land Transport Terminal, 9.2-Million Pesos;
* Fishport, 5.7-Million Pesos;
* City Slaughterhouse, 3.6-Million Pesos;
* Motorpool, 2.7-Million Pesos; and
* Ice Plant, 2-Million Pesos.
I congratulate the men and women of our economic enterprises team headed by our City Administrator for their continuing effort to reach their income goals and targets. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
A good leader knows that if performance is good, the worst thing that can happen is for people to relax and lose the steam. That is what we are always trying to avoid. I have therefore instructed our City Investments Promotion Center to study the creation of an Economic Development Board that will oversee the business sustainability of our city’s economic enterprises, as well as the overall business competitiveness of Dipolog.
Of course, our marginalized farmers would not be left out. Still in line with our goal of bringing inclusive growth to our people, our Agriculture Office has launched last year the Dipolog Nature Farming Program which aims to produce organic rice and vegetables as a viable livelihood.
At present, the program which is implemented in partnership with DAR and DA has benefitted a total of 120 farmers. These farmers underwent technical training on organic vegetable and rice production. Their organic produce serves as a steady supply of required food items for the 120-day feeding program of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
An important ingredient to securing economic growth is the massive investment by government in public infrastructure. This is necessary not only to serve the requirements of growth but also to generate mass employment, provide better access and deliver services to the populace.
In 2014, the City Government implemented and accomplished various infrastructure development projects to include roads and bridges, school buildings and facilities, public buildings, drainage and irrigation, amounting to a total of 103.5-Million Pesos.
Funding for these projects came from the national government, the 20% economic development fund and other local sources.
Allow me to once again express our city government’s appreciation to our national leadership and to our Governor Roberto Uy and Congressman Dodoy Labadlabad for their unwavering support to help us develop our beloved city.
Our winning of the Gawad Galing Pook for our Urban Development Program has made us realize that investing for the welfare of our people will bring remarkable rewards as it will also have lasting impact on the many lives touched. The development of the boulevard is an important infrastructure project as it is also a significant undertaking on good governance, social and economic development.
This realization was further validated when our city underwent an investment prioritization and programming exercise in early February of this year under the supervision of the Cities Development Initiative in Asia or CDIA.
The investment programming exercise identified as our top priority and flagship project the Integrated Urban Development Program. This will take from the initial success of the first phases of the Boulevard Foreshore Development Project.
The master development plan to complete the boulevard includes the reclamation and construction of an additional 2-kilometer stretch of protective seawall and boulevard concourse. The additional area will provide us the space to construct other amenities such as additional commercial buildings and tourist facilities to further boost business vibrancy and to generate additional income opportunities for the people. Next to these is the completion of the Dipolog Sea Port on one end of the Boulevard in Galas and the rehabilitation and improvement of the existing Dipolog Fishport at the other end.
This Port-to-Port Development as part of the integrated urban development program will kick off the further development of our city into an important hub for agri-aqua-and-light manufacturing industries, as well as further boost our tourism arrivals.
(A COMMON VISION AND A SHARED FUTURE)
While it may be clear for me from my first day in office that I am to make a difference as Mayor of this City, the entire bureaucracy lacks the focus and the strategy to secure the growth that is at our doorstep.
A common vision and a shared future is what we developed as one city when we took that first bold step in a long transformation journey which began in late 2009 as we install Performance Governance System (PGS) in the Dipolog City Government.
Five years ago, we crafted our long-term goal of becoming a God-centered, peaceful and self-reliant super city by the year 2030. We all know this as our City’s Swigapore vision.
By 2014, we were selected as part of the 10 Philippine cities that will pilot the Islands of Good Governance (IGG) Program. IGG is a program that will prepare a showcase of cities highlighting the competitiveness of the Philippines in time for the country’s hosting of the APEC Summit later this year.
IGG required a sharpening of the city’s focus and identified a unique and niche advantage for each of the participating city. From there was born the Basecamp 2020 or medium-term vision of Dipolog as the Center of Outdoor Sports of the South.
In the next five years, we expect to turn Dipolog as the preferred venue of various outdoor sports competitions and events in the country.
The core innovation here is that the vision will use outdoor sports as a hook to raise awareness, investments and generate economic impact and sustain the city in the long term. Dipolog Sports City is expected to facilitate the influx of visitors — in large groups, as opposed to the traditional tourism promotion approach of targeting individual tourists, families and small groups.
From here, it will now be easy for Dipolog to take off and work on achieving its greater aspiration and realize the Swigapore future.
PGS has set a new pulse, a drumbeat that changed not only the pace of things at City Hall but also, and more importantly, a new perspective of how to better address process improvements and deliver goods and services with excellence.
Our early wins can be summed up by updates on some of our key strategic initiatives.
1) Maabi-abihong Dipolognon (Tourist-Friendly Barangay Accreditation Program)
Following a criteria developed by the City Tourism Office, Barangays worked on adopting and complying with the clean, orderly, safe and congenial environment or COSCO requirement to be accredited as a tourist-friendly barangay. Just a few weeks ago, Barangay Olingan and Barangay Cogon were adjudged as the Most Tourist-Friendly Barangays of Dipolog.
2) Development of Dipolog Sports Complex and Cogon Eco-Park
Master development plans for the Dipolog Sports Complex in Olingan and the Cogon Eco-Park were developed aligned with the aim of preparing these two areas as investment-ready facilities. Various outdoor sports facilities are being planned for these two areas either for PPP or external funding.
3) Hapsay Kanunay (BPLS Improvement)
This particular initiative worked on improving the service delivery for business permits and licensing system at City Hall. From a previous total of 11 steps, an improved BPLS now only has 4 steps.
4) Dipolog’s Best
This initiative is being shared by the City Cooperative Office, LSDEC and the City Agriculture Office. A total of 8 community associations were organized and registered by the Cooperative Office with DOLE. These organizations were then trained by LSDEC on the production of following Dipolog’s Best products: Pancit fortified with Moringga and Squash, Cassava Chips and Bottled Sibuying Pickles.
After production, the City Agriculture is helping the associations with marketing their products. Among the marketing agreements entered by these community associations include the supplying of pancit to DSWD for use in the latter’s feeding program. It is hoped that in the long-run Dipolog’s Best can be sustained and provide a steady income opportunity for the associations and its members.
5) Sporty Dipolog
This particular initiative is an ongoing advocacy campaign which results in the engagement of each and every Dipolognon in at least one sports activity. Offices assigned for this advocacy targets for specific sectors such as business, youth and women. The Office of the Vice Mayor is an active proponent of Sporty Dipolog through the conduct of regular zumba exercises at Plaza Magsaysay.
Each and every employee at City Hall associates himself or herself to at least one initiative. This ensures that everyone aligns and claims ownership and belongingness to one common vision however small the contribution may be.
In a few weeks, I will be personally presenting before a Public Revalida in Manila our activities and gains in relation to our city’s transformation through PGS. I am positive that we will be able to pass Proficiency, the second to the last stage of the PGS governance pathway.
In closing, I have always believed that good governance bear fruits. After planting the seed of good governance, we are now ready to harvest.
I would like to stress that innovation is a function of leadership and governance to create and inspire transformation for local development.
I express my gratitude to our Sangguniang Panlungsod under the able leadership of our Vice Mayor for their commitment and for playing an important role in steering the wheel of progress through enactment of legislative measures for the betterment of each and every Dipolognon.
After today, I will only have a little over four hundred days in office as City Mayor. I will devote that one year in ensuring that I leave a continuing legacy of good governance and inclusive growth.
As I leave the post of City Mayor next year, I can tell myself that I have been successful in my try to inspire my fellow Dipolognons to rally behind their government and work towards that legacy, towards one common vision and towards a shared future for all.
Dipolog may be a small place in terms of sheer size but our dreams are big. Let me tell you the good news: WE ARE GETTING THERE.
Daghang salamat ug maayong hapon sa tanan.
Read full text of SOCA speech here here: