TALISAY City’s Covid-19 response and its “womb-to-tomb” program for its indigents, among others, were the highlights of the third State of the City Address (Soca) of Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

The young mayor’s SOCA, which lasted for more than 40 minutes, was held at the People’s Hall of the Talisay City Hall.

Due to quarantine restrictions brought about by the pandemic, only Gullas, his wife Rhea, members of the Talisay City Council and concerned City Hall department heads were present during the mayor’s Soca.

During his SOCA, Gullas highlighted his city’s ongoing Covid-19 response, including its efforts to vaccinate their constituents.

Even though its city’s confirmed cases have already reached 4,924 as of Monday, Oct. 11 and with only 78 active cases left, Gullas said their contact tracing measures have greatly helped in ensuring that their cases won’t balloon.

Gullas attributed this success to his city’s Emergency Operation Center and their contact tracing teams.

“My pride is that we, in the City of Talisay, through the Emergency Operations Center, have an effective and efficient contact tracing mechanism. Our contact tracing team from the police, DILG and barangay health workers are swift in identifying Covid patients in less than 24 hours,” he said, in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Gullas also lauded his City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, particularly its Incident Command System, in the immediate transportation of Covid-19 patients to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

As part of their response, the City converted the Talisay Central School as quarantine facility for suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients.

It also tapped the services of two hotels in the city to serve as temporary treatment and monitoring facililities.

When the Covid-19 vaccine became available, the city established and maintained four local vaccination sites at the Lagtang Gym, in Gaisano Capital in San Roque, in Starmall at Barangay Lawaan 1, and at South Town Center in Barangay Bulacao.

It also had off-site vaccination site at St. Scholastica Academy in Barangay Tabunok and deployed its mobile vaccination clinic that goes around all the barangays in Talisay City together with the Philippine Red Cross.

“We have already completed all 22 barangays in our mobile vaccination efforts but it will continue until the last person in the barangay gets his or her COVID-19 shot,” he added.

From June 2021 to present, the city have assisted 90,000 individuals through the Online Registration and Vaccination Hotline.

As of this time, the city inoculated 123,886 individuals.

Social Services

In terms of social services, Gullas said his city spent millions of pesos to provide “womb-to-tomb” services to his constituents.

During the start of his term on 2019, Gullas established an “Aksyon Agad Desk” at the Cebu South Medical Center (formerly the Talisay District Hospital) as a way to bring the city’s financial assistance closer to his constituents.

As of Oct. 13, their Aksyon Agad Desk has extended P13.6 million worth of cash assistance to 20,098 constituents whose relatives are admitted at the said hospital.

On the same year, Gullas said the city’s partnership with a private diagnostics firm to provide free laboratory testing for his constituents also bore fruit as well.

From 2019 to present, around 469 individuals have availed the private diagnostics firm’s services with the City spending around P1.2 million to pay the firm.

To provide free burial services, Gullas entered into an agreement with two memorial service providers during the start of his first term. As of present, the City spent around P5.6 million for burial assistance and with 1,022 individuals having benefited from the service.

Gullas added it also extended P4.2 million worth financial assistance to their constituents who sought their assistance.

For their senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs), Gullas said their city is planning to increase their quarterly aid.”Next year, our senior citizen assistance will be increased from P6,000 to P6,600 and PWD assistance from P3,000 to P3,600, quarterly,” he added.

Before his first term ends, Gullas hopes to see the completion of their dialysis center which will be established at the City Hall compound by next year.

Anti-illegal drug efforts

In terms of law enforcement, Gullas boasted that their campaign against the illegal drug trade in Talisay City has show its positive effects.

From July 2019, the month Gullas assumed office, to August this year, the city’s police has conducted 684 anti-illegal drug operations.

And for the first time since the national government’s war on drugs began, Barangay Tapul became the first village from Talisay City to be declared as drug-free by the Regional Anti-Drug Abuse Council.

Aside from arresting drug peddlers, the City also focused on rehabilitating those who wanted to get out of illegal drugs through its Drug Aftercare Program.

From 2019 to this year, around 302 individuals have completed the city’s drug aftercare and rehabilitation program.

Gullas said ever since President Rodrigo Duterte called his city as a “haven” for illegal drugs, he has not stopped his efforts to clean up his city.

Gullas also discussed other accomplishments in his Soca including their scholarship programs for poor but deserving students, infrastructure and agricultural projects and his “Aksyon Agad” services.

Gullas will no longer seek a second term as city mayor in next year’s elections, opting to run for congressman of Cebu’s First District.

His wife, Rhea, will be running as city mayor in his stead. (JOB)