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At Close Range
Sunday, August 19, 2012
MABALACAT City has all the reasons and options to move forward and prove its existence, its raison d'etre, or reason for being.
"We are now in the Big League," so exclaimed Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales as he unfurled his master development plan on what he described as the Makati, North of Manila or Manoma. So, how would he go about this ambitious plan? And what is his time frame?
First, Mayor Boking says, a better system of government will be put in place, starting with tasking of the different departments and clothing their heads or chiefs with mission, vision and values. A streamlining of operations, procedures and processes and manpower complement is de riguer as only the qualified personnel should man the city's operational deck.
A study of the style of management of the city of San Fernando and even that of Angeles City may prove helpful for the fledgling city and would benefit from such study.
As it enters the league of cities, Mabalacat expects a much bigger tally of revenues, mainly from its share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) pie and from its reinvigorated internal and recurring sources. The current budget is placed at P527 million and the projected income for next year is about P569 million according to the City Budget Officer Roger Tanglao, while the Gross Income Earned remains constant at some P200 million.
The new city expects to generate as much as P700 million within the next year operations although Republic Act 10164, Section 56 delimits increase in rates of local taxes thus: No increase in the rates of local taxes shall be imposed by the City within the period of five (5) years from its acquisition of corporate existence. So, there, klarong klaro.
Mayor Boking who plans to run for reelection in the 2013 elections for his third and last term under the relevant Constitutional limit, wants to make the city more investor-friendly and a financial hub or center.
Accessible from all directions via a good road network, including the SCTEx, Mabalacat City is an ideal site for manufacturing, industrial and mixed-use plants and infrastructure.
As previously envisioned by the AIM-trained city executive, there shall be established a Central Business District composed of some 3,000 hectares at the northeastern portion of the City and the good mayor wants it to function better than Dau and will be home to more industries, residential units and business enclaves.
I suggested that flyovers be erected at the city proper intersection in Barangays San Francisco and Poblacion to decongest traffic there and a more effective traffic management at the Dau intersection to enhance the flow, especially in front of Jenra Jumbo.
Other projects being looked into by the mayor are: a hospital within the Mabalacat College compound for the prospective Nursing students, a memorial park, a materials recovery facility or a sanitary landfill at Sapang Balen, another transport terminal perhaps and more programs, projects and activities for agriculture and transport associations and automation at the City Hall. In an agreement with its depository bank, the regular employees shall henceforth draw their salaries via an ATM to be installed near the Treasurer's Office headed by Myrna S. Ocampo and Marlene Molina-Mendiola. A CCTV system is now operating and which installation was overseen by the City Administrator Rosan Paquia.
These are ambitious plans for the city. I just hope they will be implemented in earnest, even though one at a time. Of course, the most important of all, the city's finances should be prudently handled and disbursed with the strict guidance of the Local Finance Committee and the Internal Control Unit, headed by Jun Magbalot.
I learned that the teachers and workers had been paid their so-called allowances or honoraria last Friday, with DepEd Mabalacat South District Supervisor Carmelita P. Sotto assisting Mayor Boking in the handing out of the pay slips. There is no more reason that they gripe or be disgruntled for not being paid for services rendered. I even received an unsavory text message bewailing the delay of payment of the allowances. The good mayor explained that the Mabalacat Comelec office had submitted the payroll only on August 6. Remember, the weather did not cooperate on August 7 and the day after, thus causing delay in the processing of the payroll. Mayor Boking stressed that it was never his intention to withhold payment of what is due the plebiscite workers.
I tried to contact Erik Gomez of Paradise Ranch last Saturday. While he agreed that I together with Rogie Pangilinan and Ody Anicete of the Voice can come to see him Sunday, I was surprised later that I received a text message stating that we should first see one Atty. Dizon. It became clear to me therefore that Gomez had already obtained the service of a lawyer to prepare for the legal battles ahead concerning the facility and even the Philippine Children's Fund of America. I presume that this Atty. Dizon is from Tarlac.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 20, 2012.