“I HAVE fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

These are the words of Saint Paul that Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo conveyed as he capped his inaugural address in yet another momentous occasion that marked the history of a Negros Occidental locality once envisioned and now being kept as a haven of every Bagonhon’s dreams.

Yulo led the members of the 20th Sangguniang Panlungsod in taking their oath of office as the newly-elected officials in a solemn rites held at the Bago City Community Center on Friday afternoon, June 24. They were sworn in by Bago City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Mary Jennifer Protasio - Arches.

The third-termer mayor recalled that six years ago, he stood before the people of Bago humbled by the trust and confidence they bestowed in him which he considered as one of the significant moments of his life as he took the mantle of leadership of the city.

“I thanked the Bagonhons and dedicated that mandate to sincerely serve their needs. I promised my kasimanwas that I will double and intensify my efforts to provide them with what they truly deserve,” he said, adding that “in so doing, I sealed with them an unwritten covenant that still binds us together in continuously dreaming and working for a much progressive Bago City.”

Recalling further, Yulo said that three years ago, he stood again before Bagonhons whom he was tasked to lead and sworn to serve. He considered his reelection as a validation of his first term as the mayor of the city, the kind of service and the brand of leadership he offered.

Among the key areas of local governance his administration had given focus during his second term in office included health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, environment, fiscal management, peace and order, disaster management, trade and industry and vulnerable sectors.

For Yulo, these are big dreams but with the continued and undivided support and contribution of each and every Bagonhon under the binding covenant they have, the mayor was optimistic that these dreams will come to fruition and will move the city further to greater heights.

“And so today, I stand once more before the people of Bago humbled having repeated the same oath I pledged in 2016 and in 2019,” he said, adding that “I am thankful more than ever for another term as local chief executive.”

The mayor reported that despite the turbulence caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the city government was able to achieve what he promised in his inauguration three years ago.

In terms of education, Bago City College, he said, now has an improved school library, renovated Criminology Department laboratory, and a newly constructed common canteen.

In the field of agriculture, the city’s programs and projects on farm technology and mechanization have greatly modernized and improved the local farming sector.

“Our hall of fame award given by the Department of Agriculture as the top rice-producing city in Western Visayas can best speak of our common effort,” he said, adding that “as I always emphasized, all these were possible because of our covenant of sharing and working together for the common good of our people. This covenant of ours was even proven effective during the distraught of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Yulo underscored that Covid-19 was a war that Bago, like any other cities in the world, must fight from within. “I know this war is quite far from over but our resilient city is I believe winning it, slowly however surely.”

A proud mayor said the city’s best practices against Covid-19 have been recognized and replicated by other localities all across the county.

The champion of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health award was given to Yulo and six other local chief executives (LCEs) by the Department of Health is a testament that the city’s common purpose is not put in vain.

“Hence, it is just fitting that I mention the men and women who were our warriors in our battle against Covid,” the mayor said, highlighting the contribution of his fellow officials, barangay captains and frontliners, among others.

“You will always be remembered as our Covid warriors -- our heroes and she-roes. Thank you for your great services and ultimate sacrifices,” he exclaimed.

Taking their oath as councilors were Marina Javellana - Yao, Maria Josefa Matti, Imelda Precion, Jake Patrick Torres, Victor Michael Javellana, Carlos Mondia, Maria Femmy Alvarez-Martir, Joseph Colmenares, Jobert Tagobader and Robert Javellana .

Yulo called on them to remember the oath they all have sworn. For the department heads and employees, he urged them to continuously render their selfless dedication to the service of the people of Bago to whom they pledge to serve.

“As the father of the city, I implore my fellow Bagonhons to rally behind your elected city officials, participate in public discourse, and always be a part of the solution. I believe these are the best formula to improve our community and the lives of our kasimanwas,” he said.

Reaffirming his commitment to serving the people of Bago, Yulo added: “Through it all, as I said in the past, Bago City will always be a place of peace and harmony, of happiness and stability, of sustainable development and progress, and most especially a haven of all our dreams.”

Meanwhile, the mayor was accompanied by his wife, Jeanne Louise “Jarie,” and other members of the Yulo family. Reelected Vice Mayor Ramon Torres, on the other hand, was represented by his family and relatives.

Also present during the inauguration and oath-taking ceremonies were outgoing officials, barangay captains, department heads, family of the elected officials, and guests.

Bagonhons and Negrenses at home also witnessed such a historic event as it was also streamed live on Facebook and aired via 101.7 Radyo Bago.