Santiago to Fernandinos: ‘Think big, dream big’

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Mayor Edwin Santiago urged Thursday all Fernandinos to continue “thinking big and dreaming big” as his administration sets into motion the grand master development plan for the city in the next two years.

Exactly 400 days in office, Santiago -- branded by Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin as the Jesse Robredo of San Fernando because of similar simple styles in governance and love for the masses -- delivered his “Ulat sa Bayan” or State of the City Address (Soca) at Heroes Hall before supporters, city leaders, private sector representatives and government officials, who gave the mayor 36 rounds of applause as he went on with his report.

“Naaayon lahat ng pagkilos natin sa isang master development plan, kasama ang capital investment plan at tourism development plan dahil nais natin na ang kaunlaran ng san Fernando ay makakalikasan at pangmatagalan. We want an urban renewal that is based on green development. We want to progress without sacrificing the environment. Imagine San Fernando as a green and sustainable city. Sino ang hindi gustong magkaroon ng parks, library, livelihood center, senior citizens’ center, terminals, mass transport at iba pa? Let us think big and dream big. Magtulong-tulong tayo sa pagsulong ng ating siyudad. Samahan ninyo ako sa pagtupad ng isang pangarap para sa ating siyudad,” Santiago said.

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“Akayin natin ang isa’t isa. Kung bawat Fernandinong nakakaangat sa buhay ay magtataguyod ng isang kapos---isa lamang---walang mahirap sa San Fernando. Walang maiiwan. Dahil higit sa lahat, Fernandino first!” he furthered.

Baring his accomplishments anchored on his administration’s 12-point agenda, Santiago disclosed that the city’s employment program has been doing well. The mayor said that some 75 percent of those who trooped to the city’s job fairs this July alone are already decently employed.

“From those who graduated from our City College, some 85 percent are now employed,” Santiago said.

The city’s “No Segregation, No Collection” policy has also gotten a big boost as the mayor highlighted the city’s intensified environment program. The city has planted some 17,000 trees since July last year with the city’s 35 barangays and many private villages and schools with functioning materials recovery facilities.

The former dumpsite in Barangay Lara here is now being turned into an “eco-park” with some 700 mahonagy trees planted by the city government.

Santiago also announced that the city now has 13 PhilHealth accredited facilities for affordable health services for the needy. He also highlighted that dengue cases in the city, which has been on the rise in previous years, and have now gone down by 140 percent.

“We have attended to 44,000 patients and have distributed some 951,000 units of medicines to those in need,” Santiago added.

The city has also achieved good ratings in the National Achievement Test (NAT). The City of San Fernando was hailed as rank 2 in the whole of Central Luzon, in the NAT exam results. The result is hailed as a sharp contrast from the previous poor performance of city schools.

Santiago also stressed that there is “no tax increase” in the city but merely an intensified campaign on expanding the tax base on investment promotion, discovery and identification of taxable units, and proper collection and payment of taxes.

“As of June 30 this year, ang nakolekta sa ating 2014 Projected Income ay 55 percent or P649 million. Tumaas ito ng nine percent kumpara noong nakaraang taon. Pero nananatiling mababa ito kaysa sa 19 percent ng ating Projected Increase of Income for 2014,” Santiago said.

Santiago also said that the city has registered some 7,000 business renewals with a combined investment of P57 billion and translates to some 35,000 jobs.

Santiago said that he is pushing for the 12-kilometer Aquino Byway Tourism Road. The P500 million project will start from the FVR Megadike here and will run from San Fernando’s barangays Calulut and Del Rosario and intersect the North Luzon Expressway until it goes out into Mexico town.

“It’s all convergence as we bring the City of San Fernando to a new and higher level of development with values and excellence as our core advocacies,” he said.

Simple, selfless like Jesse

In the press conference that followed his address, Santiago expressed elation over Lazatin’s comparison of him with the late Interior Secretary Robredo, who was also a former mayor of Naga City.

“Maybe it’s because we come from the same school of thought at dahil nakasama ko rin siya ng matagal. That is honestly our unique foundation: selfless service,” he said.

Santiago added that he and Robredo have the same approach, purpose and shared the same vision and mission as “transformative leaders.”

“Para sa akin, walang nakaka-pagpalakas ng loob kundi ang makasama ang aking pinagsisilbihan. Sa kanila ko hinuhugot ang inspirasyon upang mapalawig ang aking serbisyo bilang lingkod bayan. Efficient and effective governance na may puso. Ito ang prinsipyo ng aking pamamahala as we continue to think big and dream big. Kasama ko ang mga Fernandino at ating kabalen sa pag-abot ng mga pangarap na ito,” concluded Santiago. (With JTD)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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