AMID the continuing pandemic, better revenue sources, sustained livelihood assistance, improved medical benefits and social services have been posted in the past year as Mayor Crisostomo Garbo reported in the State of The City Address (Soca) that also hinted on an early attainment of herd immunity.
In the Soca delivered Wednesday, July 28, before members of the City Council and other city executives, Garbo said the local economy remained strong with revenues increasing from P1.77 billion in 2019 to P1.80 in 2020.
The figures include IRA, local business taxes and fees, and Mabalacat City’s share from Gross income Earned from Clark locators where two percent accrue to Mabalacat being the host local government unit (LGU).
“I would like to thank everyone, especially our business sector for assisting our city to bounce back to progress and stability,” Garbo said in his speech.
Garbo reported that local income sources also rose from P214 million in 2019 to P234 in 2020 despite the series of lockdown and mobility restrictions that impacted the local economy due to Covid. Collection of local business tax also peaked from P122 million in 2019 to P167 million in 2020.
The local chief executive, bearing in mind the commitment last year to improve on social services in previous Soca, also chalked up significant achievements in social services, livelihood and health programs.
Under the city’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program, about 9,000 individuals from the P76.3 million funding. This includes 7,246 persons in need of medical assistance, 392 needing burial assistance, and 1,200 beneficiaries in need of educational assistance.
“On health program, a total of 7,865 persons were checked for their health conditions in our rural health units and health centers. On the other hand, our Central Pharmacy had dispensed medicines, vitamins and supplements to 10,538 Cabalens,” Garbo said.
He also reported that there have been 250 beneficiaries of P4,000 financial assistance, most of whom are bed-ridden he visited and personally prayed for in their homes.
“As also pledged last year, recipients of social pension also increased to 1,000 individuals. Due to Covid-19, we are bringing these social pensions right at their doorsteps,” Garbo said.
As of May 2021, a total of 2,000 senior citizens aged 85 years old and up were assessed and were already provided with social pensions amounting to P500 per month or P1,500 quarterly.
Meanwhile, a total of 103 senior citizens who have reached 85 years old and above were also given assistance of P20,000 each, stipulated under Ordinance 86.
In the continuing fight against Covid-19, Garbo said that more than 34,000 have been given their first dose of vaccines against Covid-19 and about 9,000 people have already completed their second doses.
The city has a population of 293,244 based on the 2020 Census of Population and Household of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Its target herd immunity level is pegged at 60 percent of the residents or a total of 174,000 Mabalaquenos.
Under its Covid 19 Response and Integrated System (CRIS) Program, the city makes use of new modalities in the detection and treatment against the virus.
“This is a holistic and a ramp-up program marking a well-defined Covid-19 response framework in four important facets – Prevention, Tracing, Isolation and Reintegration,” he said.
The mayor also noted the success of digital hubs (DigiHub) he pledged in last year’s Soca. These are computer centers in clustered barangays that have dual usage -- for learning as well as for registration of residents for vaccination.
These facilities have also been cited as the basis for Mabalacat City College to be the only Philippine school to be in the shortlisted nominees in The Times Higher Education Awards in Asia. The DigiHub also won among 156 entries in the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Congress 3 months ago.
For the past year, Garbo also recalled the recognition given to the city. These include its fifth Seal of Good Local Governance from DILG, Highest Polio Coverage City Level from DOH, Best Practices on Social Services, Model LGU Implementing Day Care Services, and Aliw Awards for the Caragan Festival staged shortly before Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in February 2020.
The mayor also disclosed that the city is gunning for the Galing Pook Awards 2021, a competition for the most innovative and time-responsive programs implemented by LGUs across the Philippines.
The DILG and the Local Government Academy (LGA) have formally confirmed the receipt of the entries, which tackle the importance of health, education, and social services programs in countering the impacts of the pandemic in Mabalacat.