State Of the City Address

The Hon. Reynaldo S. Concepcion delivered his first State of the City Address (SOCA) on April 1, 2017 at Osmeña Park, during Tanjay City’s 16th Charter Day Celebration.

 

Exactly nine months ago today, I swore an oath to take the helm of local governance of our beloved City, before God and man, with a pledge to bring about the needed change for the betterment of Tanjay and of her people.  Because change had been my battle cry during the campaign trail, and it was also change that the people yearned for the longest time.

Change.

And change for the better.

However, to achieve this, radical behavioral and systemic adjustments had to be made, for change can be accomplished only by actions and not bare words. Immediately, at the onset, it was plain to see that moving forward with this goal can be a daunting task, given the inherent challenges that beset this fledgling administration.

For example, as of July 1, 2016, the local government still did not have an approved Investment Plan for the 20% Economic Development Fund. This means that the new administration under the mayoralty of Reynaldo S. Concepcion began with a total of zero resources for new development projects.  Second, the apparent reason for this non-approval of the 2016 investment on time was the fact of the politically strained relations between the executive and legislative branches of the previous administration.

Be that as it may, as the incumbent City Mayor, I am required by law to make a report to the people of Tanjay and to render an accounting of the initiatives undertaken by the present administration that is reflective of the true and actual state of our local government. As it had been my commitment to perform my duties in accordance with the law, I shall therefore present now my report exactly as the law requires. Nothing more, and nothing less.

I. Call for Unity

It had always been my belief that unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, great things can be achieved. Accordingly, I have made it my first order of business to reach out to the legislative branch, regardless of the political affiliations of its individual members, if only to forge a strong and lasting alliance between the two branches of this local government, and foster a harmonious working relationship between these departments, while keeping a dynamic atmosphere of check and balance.

In the past elections, out of the 24 barangays, I won only in 11.  It was as if the elections had split Tanjay in halves.  But good governance is not only for half of the city’s population, but for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or political inclinations. Thus, my message to all the barangays, their leaders and constituents, is that my administration will treat everyone equally and fairly, without regard to any political colors.

It was likewise noted that, in the past, the Church and others in the religious sector have kept a suspicious attitude towards the affairs of the local government, and at times have been critical about certain policies of the administration, which at one point, almost led to a bloody clash between local government personnel and some church-led protesters.

However, I strongly believe that, while the religious sector may be at liberty to criticize the actions of the government, a cordial relationship between the two institutions is vital to the achievement of our determined goals. Accordingly, right upon my assumption of office, I extended a hand of friendship and cooperation with the religious institutions, so that by their prayers and our efforts we shall achieve our mutually formed aspirations.

Indeed, enjoying the full support of local legislature, and the blessings of the church, and despite the limited financial resources, we were able to successfully celebrate the month-long festivities in July of 2016.  With the same amount of success, the local government unit of Tanjay was able to showcase the rich culture of its people, and its immense tourism potential, during the provincial Buglasan Festival in October 2016, thereby redeeming the City and her people from the ignominious presentation of the previous administration during the preceding year’s festival.  Came December 2016, and yes, this administration once more was able to put together a marvelous month-long celebration, filling the air with festive music, and the night sky with mesmerizing show of lights, gaining the adoration and respect of the people from the neighboring localities.

The successes that we achieved during the 2016 Fiesta Celebrations, the 2016 Buglasan Festival, and the 2016 Christmas Presentations, are clear manifestations that with good leadership and cooperative action Tanjay can really reach greater heights.

II. Instilling Discipline

If unity and cooperation be the vehicle that we take towards reaching our goals and achieving our objectives, then discipline should be its fuel.  Indeed, among the first courses of action that the present administration took a very serious consideration on is the instilling of discipline on each and every employee of the City, from the highest position to the lowest, without any exception. That everyone in the government service, including all the job order workers should perform and do their respective jobs in accordance with the law.  This is the call that I continuously make on all concerned. This is the call that I continue to lead by example.  Because I truly believe that if we can do this, we can never go wrong.

Yes, it is through discipline that we are now known as one of the cleanest Cities in Negros Oriental, if not the whole Negros Island Region.  It is through discipline that we have made significant progress in the implementation of our anti-littering and anti-smoking ordinances.

III. Projects and Policies

Finally, the Annual Investment Plan for 2016 was approved on September 26, 2016.  But barely a month before that, the Office of the City Accountant declared a net operating surplus of around 27 million pesos.  Next, the newly convened Sangguniang Panlungsod timely approved the 2017 Annual Budget and the AIP for the same year.

With these developments, the present administration was then able to initiate and implement socially relevant infrastructure improvements.

LED lamps

For example, out of the 2015 operating surplus, we were able to provide now for the acquisition of 280 units of LED Street Lamps that now illuminate the National Highway that passes through Tanjay City from Brgy. Polo to Brgy. Sta. Cruz Viejo, as well as our nine Poblacion Barangays.

Wi-Fi

From the same source, we were also able to provide for the now functioning free wi-fi service to the public, which enable our constituents to interact and communicate for free with their friends and loved ones from anywhere in the country and all over the world.

Solar Power, CCTV, and Elevator

Further, 20 million pesos is allocated to establish a solar power generation capacity for the two [2] buildings within the City Hall Complex.  This is expected to significantly reduce the enormous monthly electric bills of the city. Another 2 million pesos is reserved for the initial phase of the installation of a citywide CCTV monitoring system, to further enhance peace and order within the city center.

In order to make the Annex Building of the City Hall more elderly and PWD friendly, we have earmarked 8 million pesos for the installation of an elevator unit for that building.  As I have stated, the funds for all these projects are already available, and it is just a matter of time that they can be fully implemented.

Brand-New Vehicles

One of the things that I have noticed upon assumption of my office is that the city government is spending a lot of money on spare parts in maintaining our ageing fleet of vehicles, just to keep them in barely running condition. But that is not enough. As far as I am concerned, this local government deserves more than the dilapidated and antiquated vehicles that were acquired by the previous administrations as surplus.

3 Buses

Accordingly, out of the savings from the previous year’s operations, I saw to it that we shall be able to acquire three [3] brand new buses. One had already been delivered, and is presently dedicated for use by the Sangguniang Panlungsod; another one is due to arrive in the next month or so; while the third one was scheduled for re-bidding by the Bids and Awards Committee.

6×6 Dump truck

We have likewise acquired and are now awaiting the delivery of a brand new heavy duty 6 x 6 dump truck, an all-terrain, all-weather vehicle capable of reaching the farthest sitio of the farthest barangay of this city, and which shall be the means of bringing the needed essential services there, and anywhere else in the city.

Prisoners’ Van

A provision had likewise been made for the acquisition of another brand-new vehicle, a 20-seater capacity prisoners’ van for use by our friends at the BJMP. With it they can say goodbye to their old and rusting multi-cab that often times stalls on their way to the court during hearing days.

Mini Dump trucks

Still more about brand new vehicles, currently subject for procurement through competitive bidding are two mini dump trucks for use by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, to augment their existing fleet for garbage collection and disposal.

DSWD Van

All in all, that brings the total to 8 brand new vehicles, including the one acquired for use by the City Social Welfare and Development Office, less than one year of this administration.

Social Services

But good governance goes well beyond the simple act of purchasing brand new vehicles.  Good governance is about putting these vehicles to good use so that the most essential of social services can reach and can be felt by the vast majority of our constituents.

Financial Assistance

In the previous administrations, the allocation for financial assistance only amounted to 1.5 million pesos on the average per year.  This amount is now raised by this administration to 6 million pesos for this year.  This allowed us to give more assistance to ever greater number of clients. Accordingly, under our Emergency Assistance Program, from July 2016 to March 2017, we were able to extend assistance to almost 2,500 clients.

Senior Citizens

For our senior citizens, this administration has spent around 16 million pesos, in the form of cash assistance and social pension.  More than that, as the incumbent City Mayor, I saw to it that these forms of assistance and social services shall reach our elderly constituents from the farthest barangays of our city.  In the month of December, and with the assistance from the employees and staff from the CSWDO, we visited our elderlies in Brgys. Sto. Niño, Bahi-an, Pal-ew, Sta. Cruz Nuevo, and San Miguel, to personally deliver to them their much-needed benefits.

In total, we have extended service and assistance to, more or less, 6 thousand of our elderly constituents.

Women, Children, and Day Care Services

Provisions have likewise been made for our programs on Women and Children, which allowed us to extend the corresponding services to a total of more than 1,500 women and children.

Labor and Employment

We are happy to receive information that the proposed construction of two-storey Sugar Cane Workers Livelihood Center at Barangay San Isidro, Tanjay City in the amount of 13.5 million pesos, donated by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Health Services

Headed by our very productive City Health Officer, the City’s health services is extended through three major conduits, such as, the City Health Units 1 and 2, the Urgent Care Clinic, and City Pharmacy or dispensary.

With accreditations for Primary Care Benefits, TB DOTS, New Born Screening and Maternity Care Package, CHU 1 and 2 have provided Maternal Care, Immunization, and family planning services, in addition to the Tuberculosis Detection and Treatment Program, sponsored by the National Government.

On the other hand, the Urgent Care Clinic is continuously providing purely curative services on a 24-7 basis, with a licensed physician on 24-hour duty cycle.

Meanwhile, our City Pharmacy has served approximately 3 thousand clients from July of 2016 up to the present.

Emergency Response and Preparedness

While we can consider ourselves as blessed, considering that since the beginning of the term of this administration, the City had not been visited by any serious natural calamities, the men and women assigned at our City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have not been out of work. On the contrary, they have devoted themselves to responding to traffic related trauma cases.  As of this reporting, there have been a total of 126 incidents responded to by our quick response team. These incidents do not only involve residents of Tanjay City, but also of other localities.

Agriculture

In the area of food production, through the efforts of our City Agriculturist and City Veterinarian, we were able to increase the capacity of our local farmers through the following activities:

  • Livestock treatment and vaccination;
  • Artificial insemination;
  • Livestock dispersal;
  • Distribution of quality seeds; and
  • Various farm support programs

Education and Employment

As of the present fiscal year, financial allocation is provided to finance the education of the city’s 337 college scholars under our local government scholarship program.  On the other hand, our Public Employment Service Office, through the Tulong Pangkabuhayan for Displaced Workers Program, the summer job program, and special recruitment activities, had helped find employment for no less than a hundred job seekers.  In the near future, we hope to increase this number through our special agreements with such national agencies as the POEA, OWWA, and the TESDA, which provide additional employment opportunities for our constituents, both local and overseas.

Infrastructure

Farm to Market Roads – Novallas, Sta. Cruz Nuevo, Pal-ew, Bahi-an, Sto. Niño

It seems that from time immemorial, the perennial problem that haunted the previous administrations of this local government is the poor road conditions in the hinterland barangays.  Due to the enormity of this problem, it is admitted that the same cannot be solved over a short period of three years.  However, this cannot prevent this administration from addressing it in whatever way it can in order to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters living in those barangays.  Accordingly, for the 2017 annual investment plan, we have included a total of 12 million pesos for road rehabilitation and concreting for barangays Novallas, Sta. Cruz Nuevo, Pal-ew, Bahi-an, and Sto. Niño.

Lawton Drive

The deteriorated condition of Nono Limbaga Drive, from the national highway to the Urgent Care Clinic did not go unnoticed by this administration. Thus, at any time within this year the implementation of a 10 million pesos rehabilitation and repair of that particular street shall be commenced.

Boulevard

In addition to the 10 million pesos appropriated for the continuation of the boulevard project in barangays 4 and 7 last year, which is currently on-going implementation, there is another 10 million pesos allotted for this year. Indeed, this administration is intent on finishing this project once and for all so that it may serve its intended purpose for everyone. Otherwise, if left unfinished, this can be an awful waste of taxpayers’ money.

Motor pool Fencing

Also, presently on-going implementation is the 9 million pesos worth of perimeter fencing project around the motor pool area in Barangay San Isidro.  This is primarily intended to regulate the persons who can get in and out of the property, and eventually check or put to a halt the thievery of the city-owned properties placed and stored there.

Revenue Generation

Of the almost half a billion pesos of total income of this city available for use in 2017, only 7 percent of that, or around 35 million pesos, is internally or locally generated. This means that this LGU is 93 percent dependent on Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA.  Because of this our efforts along this line had been focused on increasing the generation and collection of revenues in the local level.  For this reason, we have supported the implementation of the one-stop-shop licensing during the month of January.  Because of this, we were able to achieve an increase in our revenue collection by 30 percent.

Compared to other cities in the province, Tanjay might be considered as smaller.  But the good thing about being small is that there is always some room for growth.

Moving Forward

Indeed, we have made headways in some areas, and improvements in others. But status quo is not enough.  For it is our sworn obligation to better the lives of our constituents without any distinction of their political inclinations.  For this reason, I continuously call on everyone concerned that we should walk together, and work together, in bringing forward the interests of our dear Tanjay.

In the near future let us all strive hard to provide our people with:

Better Education

Indeed, we are very near the finalization of an agreement with Polytechnic University of the Philippines, regarding the establishment of a Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Open University in Tanjay City.  With its establishment in the city, the PUP – Open University in Tanjay will be the first of its kind in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Better Health Services

A few weeks ago, we went to Manila to ask the Department of Health for an establishment of a mother and child hospital in the City.   But, with the help of some of our friends, we may be given, not only a mother and child hospital, but a general hospital. After all, this had been the dream of many of our constituents that we shall have a hospital of our own.

Better Roads

For the twelve years that I served as councilor of this City, there is not a single year that I do not hear complains about how poor the road conditions are in the hinterlands.  Now, with my present position, I believe that it is time that something should be done about this perennial problem, so that we may not have to pass through other towns and cities in going to the farthest barangay of our city.

Better Environment

As of this reporting, we are finalizing the requirements for the grant of a loan from Land Bank of the Philippines, which shall be utilized for the design and construction of a level 3 Sanitary Landfill in this city. It is expected to be completed before the next election.

Conclusion

Indeed, the challenges ahead are formidable, the obstacles overwhelming. But it is only through these challenges, and it is only by confronting these obstacles, that we as a people and as a community can achieve our common goals.  And if we work together   in unity, and with prayers and discipline, we can never be wrong.

This has been Reynaldo S. Concepcion, your City Mayor, reporting.

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