FOR the past few days, Mabalacat City has been the talk of the province for its efficient programs in Covid-19 response and in vaccination process. With IATF citing the city that has the highest vaccination rate in the whole Central Luzon and that attaining the herd immunity is within arm’s reach, many Kapampangans including some Tarlaquenos would like to be Mabalaquenos during these times. And thanks to the city’s efficient Covid-19 Response and Integrated System or CRIS program, Mabalacat had seven days of zero new cases of infection making it to just 0.2 percent in active cases with an impressive 96.7 percent of recovery rate.
Mabalacat city had launched various “first” subprograms within the CRIS program. Its walk-to vaccination for the convenience of the senior citizens, the missed second dose vaccination, and its unique pediatric vaccination are some to name a few that left officials from the national government amazed but its efficacy.
But aside from its effective strategy against the pandemic, the local economy of Mabalacat city has remained strong despite the world health crisis with revenues increasing from P1.77 billion in 2019 to P1.8 billion in 2020. Its local income sources also rose from P214 million in 2019 to Php234 in 2020 despite the series of mobility restrictions that impacted the local economy due to the coronavirus. The collection of local business tax also peaked from P122 million in 2019 to P167 million in 2020.
And through the leadership of Mayor Cris Garbo and the City Council presided by Vice Mayor Geld Aquino, significant achievements in social services, livelihood and health programs have been evident throughout the current administration.
Garbo understands the immediate needs of his “kabalens” and his vast experience in public service makes it easy for him to make crucial decisions, and his prioritization to the programs and services are on point. Just to cite an example, the city’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation or AICS Program had served thousands of Mabalaquenos and these include persons in need of medical assistance, those who needed burial assistance, and the beneficiaries of educational assistance. The less fortunate who cannot afford hospitalization can now use the services of partner private hospitals like the The Medical City in Clark care of the city government.
With this kind of setup, who needs a public hospital? The way he sets his programs and services are aimed in holistic approach. Indeed, he covers from womb-to-tomb.
The recently concluded State of the Children’s Address of MCG highlighted his preparation of the Mabalaqueno children for the “better normal.” In fact, the Mabalacat City Government has garnered a satisfactory score of 80 percent as an outcome of the Child-Friendly Local Governance Audit. Moreover, Mabalacat city had also been chosen by the National Council for the Welfare of Children as one of the pilot LGUs on the localization of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children.
Nobody is left behind in Mabalacat... even those who are non-Mabalaquenos get the benefit. With a leader who shares the blessings not only to his constituents but also to his neighbors, how can you not like that? To say that Mabalacat is a thriving city is already an understatement. Mabalacat is a city that soars. And as it spreads its wings across Central Luzon, the LGUs adjacent to it also gain from its glory and blessings.
Kuya J Pelayo IV is a Kapampangan broadcast journalist. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.