Officials praise Toledo City for overcoming hardships

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Saturday, January 7, 2012


TOLEDO City celebrated its 52nd Charter Day yesterday.

Vice President Jejomar Binay was guest of honor, together with Gov. Gwen Garcia and Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district).

A brief program was held inside the Barba Sports Complex. But before that, Binay led the wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the monument of the late congressman Manuel Zosa, father of the city’s charter.

He was accompanied by the governor, Congressman Garcia, Toledo City Mayor Aurelio Espinosa, Vice Mayor Arlene Espinosa Zambo and city councilors.

Binay, in his speech, commended local officials for not tolerating illegal logging and for giving importance to the environment.

He likened the city to the strong roots of the 52-year-old “dakit” or “banyan” tree near the new City Hall building in Barangay Ilihan.

“Against the current that crosses our paths, let our roots grow deeper,” he said.

Trials, tribulations

When it was Congressman Garcia’s turn, he recounted the trials the City had to overcome.

He said the government and lawmakers recognized the then municipality of Toledo’s success, progress and achievement so they granted it cityhood.

He said the government recognized Toledo’s achievement even in the face of economic hardship. Apparently, he was referring to the dark times when one of the biggest mining firms in Asia, located in the city, shut down.

He said city officials at that time, despite belonging to another political group, “were able to bring back investors in Toledo, and we did not block them but supported them.”

Finally, he said cityhood is not about being granted a charter, “but a continuous and evolving process.”

“Dili jud mapukan bisan unsang kalisdanan (No difficulty can bring us down),” said the governor in her speech.

She said Toledo ranks first in tax collection among 16 cities in the region.

The governor cited the Bureau of Local Government Finance July 2011 report where out of four categories, Toledo made it to the top three in three categories and ranked first in two categories.

Toledo City was the most efficient local government unit among all cities in Central Visayas in the collection of real property tax, with an actual collection of P46.2 million in 2010.

It surpassed its annual target of P12 million, or a collection efficiency of 374 percent.

In the collection of various government fees, Toledo City topped all cities in the region with P62 million. This is more than seven times its target of P8 million.

The City was third in the business tax collection category with P48.2 million in actual collection, following the cities of Bais and Canlaon.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2012.

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