CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The City Council of San Fernando was recently adjudged as the best in Central Luzon in the component city category.

Vice Mayor Edwin Santiago said the City Council garnered a near perfect rating of 99.5 percent in terms of its overall performance, including the number of beneficial ordinances and resolutions it has enacted.

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This city's legislative body has bested several other councils in Central Luzon, including recent grand slam awardee San Juan Del Monte in Bulacan, which got a rating of 97.5 percent in 2009, Santiago said.

“Ang nag-evaluate and nag-validate niyan ay ang Department of Budget and Management, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Social welfare and Development, Department of Education at iba pang lead government agencies plus iyung private sector led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the regional chapter of the Philippine Councilors League," Santiago told Sun.Star Pampanga.

He said that the City Council, composed of councilors Nelson Lingat, Raul Macalino, Bernie Castro, Jimmy Lazatin, Alex Patio, Reden Halili, Dein Henson, Ruping Dumlao, Ato Agustin, Rose Calimlim, Melchor Calauag and Czarmaine Laus, is proud and happy to be cited as the region's finest as it moves toward the national finals in the search for the best legislative body in the country.

"We are very happy and proud of the citation since it proves that our city council is doing its job of legislating the proper laws and fulfilling its responsibility for our constituents' welfare," said Santiago.

He added that the search body, based on its criteria, found the harmonious and good relationship between the executive, headed by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, and the legislative.

"They found out that we co-supported the joint executive and legislative agenda (ELA), which is based on our comprehensive development plan. Iyun ang ating road map na for three years, iyung annual investment plan that includes all projects, programs, plans for the delivery of basic services and infrastructure are being implemented by the executive," he said.

Santiago said the executive department could not implement such projects and programs if the legislative does not enact ordinances.

Participatory Legislation)

He said the legislative body initiated the updating of all ordinances and resolutions since 1945, which resulted to the creation of a unique legislative tracking system.

"Before, our legislators doing research and trying to obtain a copy of past ordinances took them a week. Pero ngayon, three to five minutes, one could readily get a copy of the needed ordinance. Additionally, our councilors now have their own offices where their constituents could see and talk to them on a regular basis and their own staff that make their respective committees work proactively," said Santiago.

"Ang pinakamahalaga dito ay ang pagdadaos namin ng sessions sa mga barangays kung saan inilapit natin ang council sa mga taong bayan at kasama sila sa sessions sa pagbuo ng ordinansa at batas natin. Participatory legislation ang ating ginagawa dahil importante sa atin ang ating mamamayan at ito ay nakita ng search committee sa kanilang pagpili sa ating city council," Santiago said.

(Transparency)

Senior Councilor and third district board member wannabe Nelson Lingat, for his part, said that the award reflects the "true picture" of what is going on with the city council.

"Ito ay nagpapakita ng true picture sa ginagawa natin through the leadership of our Mayor Oscar Rodriguez and Vice-Mayor Edwin Santiago. Last year, third place lang tayo but this year, we are number one in the region and probably we could win in the national level. At ito ay nagbibigay sa atin ng lakas ng loob na patuloy at pag-ibayuhin pa ang ating paglilingkod sa bayan," Lingat told Sun.Star Pampanga.

Lingat said that he hopes to bring this experience to the provincial level having served the city council for three terms as chairman of various committees.