Puentevella trumpets changes, bares plans-A A +A
Thursday, July 3, 2014
BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella gave Bacolodnons on Wednesday a rundown of the “significant changes” initiated by his administration in the past 12 months as he bared his plans for the city in the next two years.
During his State of the City Address dubbed “Ulat ni Monico” on Wednesday, Puentevella said the City Government under his watch introduced improvements in matters related to solid waste management, traffic management, tourism, health, police, education, and sidewalk and street vendors.
He also made special mention of the Office of the Building Official (OBO), headed by Engr. Isidro Sun, saying that despite the controversies faced by the office, it was still able to bring in revenues amounting to P29.3 million from regulatory fee collections in just 11 months, higher than the past administration’s maximum of P23 million in revenues.
"I congratulate OBO head and his staff for this achievement," the mayor said.
Puentevella, who also celebrated his 68th birthday Wednesday, spoke before a crowd of government officials, business leaders, representatives from the academe, barangay officials, and religious leaders, among others.
As he noted the changes brought by his administration, Puentevella lamented the indebtedness of the City Government which he considers one of the obstacles that constrained the take-off of his administration.
Puentevella said his administration inherited P665.5 million in loans, including P391.3 million with the Philippine National Bank for the government center, P33.8 million with the Development Bank of the Philippines for the sanitary landfill, and P240.3 million for the relocation sites.
“The almost P100 million in debt payment every year could have been used for our roads, traffic lights, closed circuit televisions, books for our children and classrooms,” he said.
The mayor added that the City Government was billed by Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital P6 million for the services it rendered to the indigents of Bacolod; P26.7 million, by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for 14,000 beneficiaries; P254.9 million, by Central Negros Electric Cooperative for unpaid arrears; and P77.6 million, by Bacolod City Water District.
"This is one of the reasons why we have to tighten our belts, sacrifice for the meantime many of our infrastructure projects and refocus whatever is left of our limited budget to programs and services that matter most at this time," the mayor said.
For the past 12 months, Puentevella said he dedicated his focus in learning the ropes of running the city with the aim to put the People's House in order.
His partners in government have been very kind in the process that his administration is undergoing, he said.
“But now that the internal engine is already running, we are all ready to bring the government down to our communities in the barangays,” Puentevella said.
The mayor said he plans to focus more on having a comprehensive housing and relocation program for the poor, better slaughterhouse facilities and northbound and southbound terminals, and construction of coastal roads going to the north and south of the province.
He also plans to come up with an Integrated Development Master Plan for Bacolod and will push for the establishment of Metro Bacolod Development Authority that shall have coordinative initiatives for water management and waste to energy efforts.
Puentevella also extended his thanks to his family, especially to his wife Josefa, for all their support, love and understanding.
He also mentioned his brother-in-law, the late Bro. Rolando Dizon, who was the one who encouraged him to run for mayor and to whom he promised to make Bacolod a better place to live in. He acknowledged as well his friend the late Atty. Andres Hagad for his support.
Moreover, Puentevella asked the cooperation of the Bacolodnons as well as the City Councill members headed by Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya to help him realize his “One Dream, One City, One Bacolod” vision.
Meanwhile, Puentevella’s address drew mixed reactions.
Businessman Eduardo Alunan, member of the National Board of Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, said the mayor gave a very straightforward presentation about the state of the city.
“It is not embellished with sugar coated words and there was no window dressing in the presentation of the figures,” he said.
Alunan added: "I congratulate Mayor Monico and his administration and also the City Council for being good performers. We look forward to a brighter future for Bacolod and it is my sincere hope that politics will be reduced in Bacolod. Everybody should work hand in hand.”
Frank Carbon, president of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who rated the mayor's performance as satisfactory, said “they did what is basic and doable for the city.
“Of course, there are things to be improved. We are very happy that the mayor has mentioned about the Metro Bacolod Development Authority plan where Bacolod will be working with the cities of Bago, Talisay, Silay and town of Murcia. I think that is the way to go now. You have to present Bacolod in that set-up with a huge market in terms of investments to jumpstart jobs creation," Carbon said.
On the other hand, Councilor Caesar Distrito said they have not seen any actual development that the city government has implemented under Puentevella.
"There is still a lot of room for improvement. On the debts of the city, that cannot be paid in three years. It is payable within 15 years. The debts are necessary because this government center is the seat of power,” he said.
Distrito gave Puentevella a grade of 6 out of 10 with reservation that he will do more in the next two years.
Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez said although the mayor focused on what he accomplished, many were already accomplished during the past administration.
"He should focus more on the actual projects that were really undertaken by his administration,” Lopez added.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 03, 2014.