ANGELES CITY -- The infrastructure projects of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration will have a big impact on the development of the city, said Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan during his State of the City Address (Soca) at the city hall on Tuesday, July 25.
“Sa ngayon po, ang Angeles City ay nasa bungad ng makasaysayang pag-unlad at tiyak na pakinabang mula sa mga programa at inisyatiba ng administrasyong Duterte, sa unang taon pa lamang nito sa kapangyarihan,” Pamintuan said.
The city mayor cited the impact of government’s drive against illegal drugs and programs on economic development, saying that the country’s growth rate of seven percent, under the Duterte administration, surpassed previous figures and is the highest in Asia.
“Ang resulta, napanatili at nahigitan pa ang pag-unlad ng ekonomya, na ngayon ay sumasampa na sa pitong porsyento, ang pinakamataas sa Asya,” Pamintuan said.
This development is evident in the city where business has greatly increased, according to the mayor.
“Makikita natin ito sa Angeles City, sa pagtaas, pagdami at paglaki ng pagnenegosyo dito sa ating syudad. Nitong buwan ng Hulyo 2017 ay mayroon tayong labindalawang libo at siyam na raan at walong (12,908) nirehistrong negosyo, at isang libo at limang daan walumpu't siyam (1,589) ang mga bagong negosyo ditto,” Pamintuan said.
“While these figures may not be as impressive yet, let us wait until the 'golden age of infrastructure' in the Philippines reaches us through the program 'Build, Build, Build!' that allots a total of P8.4 trillion for infrastructure, the highest ever,” he added.
The President and his economic team believe that infrastructure is the most effective engine for economic growth, according to the mayor.
“If the past administration, for reasons many do not understand, withheld government spending, resulting in stunted infrastructure development, this administration is pouring it all to 'build, build, build!',” Pamintuan said.
Central Luzon, Pampanga, and Angeles City will be the first beneficiaries of big-ticket projects to be rolled out under the program, he said.
These include the P211.43-billion Malolos-Clark Railway Project, and the P12.55-billion expansion of the Clark International Airport, as approved by the National Economic Development Authority, Pamintuan said.
“The railway will open up many parts of Central Luzon, primarily Angeles City, to greater development. The rail will not only decongest traffic in Metro Manila, but will open up the tracks for investments rolling to the growth centers north of Manila,” he said.
The expansion of the Clark International Airport, specifically the building of a new terminal that can accommodate eight million passengers, in addition to the current capacity of 4.2 million, will also directly impact on our city, Pamintuan said.
“We are a tourism and entertainment destination and our industries and enterprises in relation to tourism, entertainment, food, among others, will benefit immensely from a more active international airport in our neighborhood,” the mayor added.
Pamintuan also lauded the Clark International Airport Corporation for bringing in international and domestic flights to Clark.
“Under the very able leadership of our colleague, Alex Cauguiran, the Clark International Airport has grown in terms of passenger and flight traffic tremendously in so short a time. Alam naman ninyo na yang si Alex Cauguiran ay aral at sinanay ni Pamintuan. That is why he is doing good,” Pamintuan said.
There were only 558 local and international flights a month as of May 2016, carrying 88,000 passengers, according to Pamintuan. But as May of this year, 1,167 local and international flights carrying 146,000 passengers flew out and in via Clark, he said.
Because of this, many tourism stakeholders are now very optimistic of and bullish about the industry, the mayor said.
“The more tourists to come, the more jobs and business opportunities for our people,” Pamintuan said.
The mayor also mentioned the local projects which are included in the pipeline of the Regional Development Council, which he also heads.
“Kabilang dito ang NLEX-SCTEX Connecting Road o Abacan Expressway; East Circumferential Road; Furniture Village Bypass Road; Angeles Livelihood Road sa EPZA; Angeles SCTEX Toll Exit Interchange sa Margot; pagpapalawak ng Clark-Angeles Perimeter Road; Upland Watershed Reserve; pagpapalawak sa Manila North Road; Pulung Maragul bridge; pagpapalapad sa Pulung Cacutud Bridge at Cutud Bridge; flyover sa MaCarthur Highway sa Kanto ng Angeles-Magalang Road; Telebastagan-Friendship road at Angeles-Porac-Dinalupihan road at pagsasaayos sa gilid ng Abacan River sa Hensonville, Malabanias,” Pamintuan said.
With these developments, the city’s capabilities including its budget should be adjusted, according to the mayor.
“For 2017, our budget has risen from P1.61 billion last year to P1.76 billion this year. Even without raising our local fees, our expected locally generated revenues of P917 million will still be more than our 2017 internal revenue allotment of P845 million,” the mayor said.
Local officials need to strengthen the city government’s revenue generation, Pamintuan said.
“We now need to seriously work on the codification of our mandatory and compulsory legislative actions as required by the Local Government Code, particularly on health, the environment, market, gender development, sanitation, among others,” he stated.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on July 26, 2017.
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