FOR the administration of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, the nagging issue and the fight against poverty can be won through the empowerment of the people.
Moreno in his State of the City Address (Soca) Sunday morning underscored increased opportunities for the poor by providing them the necessary training and education and access to both the local and international job markets, as more concrete solutions to uplift the lives of the Kagay-anons apart from the efficient delivery of social services and assistance which can supplement the needs of the indigent and physically challenge citizenry.
He reported that with the city’s thrust to address the unemployment problem, job fairs were held every month since August 2013 through the Public Employment Services Office (Peso) that has so far employed 6,804 applicants.
Aside from the job fairs, the Peso has ongoing postings of jobs and a continuing program to assist job seekers and jobless constituents to find employment.
Moreno said that the “heart and conscience of the city,” which is the social welfare services, has done tremendously in addressing the protection and the development of the less privileged.
“My administration with the Team CdeO, are working closely for the marginalized and the vulnerable sector of society to become self-reliant, breaking the chain of servitude to a sustainable total development,” Moreno said.
In combating malnutrition among the city’s children, the Moreno administration sees a decrease of the recorded malnourished from 487 male and 532 female from the previous years to 247 male and 232 female at present.
“We are determined to achieve the ‘zero street kids by 2015’ program... we have already rescued 139 street kids delivering them from becoming children in conflict with the law,” he said.
The rescued street children were given shelter and counseling services, received medical treatment and are now reunited with their respective families, while the sexually and physically abused children are undergoing the needed intervention by the experts on the field.
More than 60,000 women, children and the elderly received the attention they deserved under the Moreno administration through the supplemental feeding program, educational and medical assistance, benefitting from the facilities and care of the Boy’s Town, Social Development Center, Tahanan ng Kabataan, Residential Care for the Elderly and Mental Patients, Home Care for Girls, among others.
The more than 20,000 elderly in the city are now well organized that their concerns, especially on benefits are addressed, particularly the 380 social pensioners, those who are 75 years old and above.
The city’s support to the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca) and the creation of the Council of Elders for Senior Citizens has renewed the faith of the elderly in government for the protection of their rights and general well-being, at the same time forging unity among them.
The persons with disability (PWD) were given their shares to purchase discounted medicines and grocery. They were issued wheelchairs, assistive devices, food assistance for the visually impaired and also oriented on skills training.
“No more like Sendong will hurt us,” was a campaign promise of Moreno turning the city from being a reactive to a proactive local government protecting its constituents from human-induced and natural disasters.
In line with this, identifying evacuation centers were undertaken; capacitating volunteers and rescuers were massively done; and the standardizing of camps and centers were given extra attention to protect the internally displaced persons from human rights violations.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) has been working to keep city residents out of harm’s way through the creation of hazards and risk assessment, strengthened weather monitoring capability, maintenance of flash flood alert system and well-defined plans and programs in prevention and mitigation.
Peace and order
Moreno emphasized the professionalization of the police force and an efficient emergency response program, which answers calls for police protection against criminality, fire, and natural disasters. They have been placed to ensure peace and order.
A unified command system has been established to act during disasters, criminality and other events that need government response.
Constructing a building for the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (Cocpo) and providing logistical support is what Mayor Moreno deemed necessary for a strong and responsive police force in the city.
A landmark achievement of the Moreno Administration is the increase in revenues enabling the city to fund its operation and effectively deliver the needed services of the Kagay-anons.
This year, business tax collection increased by 33.62 percent from the previous year translating to a total increase of P101,165,826.
The increased collection was achieved through information campaigns and proper implementation of tax laws, efficient tax mapping and business tax inspection, close monitoring of compliance of existing ordinances, among others.
The modernization of the City Treasurer’s Office through the Kiosk Billing System and Digital Queuing system was done through the assistance of the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID).
The Treasurer’s Office now serves over 1,000 taxpayers per day, which yielded faster transactions, increase in collection, and more efficient services.
Taking the cue from Moreno’s instruction to increase the city’s revenue, the City Assessor’s Office has embarked on vigorous campaign to completely and efficiently appraise to assess building, machineries, and other real properties, which resulted to an increase in the city’s real property tax income.
On infrastructure, the City Government through the City Engineers Office spent a total of P209,519,088 for the classrooms, covered courts, roads, drainage, building, barangay halls, perimeter fences, and others.
On education, the Moreno administration is committed to provide free and quality education that is at par with the best private schools.
He reconstituted the Local School Board by expanding and empowering its members from seven to 15.
The city has projected to avail the public schools of enough classrooms within the year where a total of 209 classrooms for elementary and secondary levels in the different schools which constructions are ongoing.
From 11 national high school annexes, eight are within their own school sites now.
Scholarship grants through the reconstituted scholarship committee and the introduction of the conduct of qualifying exams have benefitted 827 scholars for the City College Scholarship Program taking up college and vocational programs in the various private schools in the city.
“I hope that there will be more funding through the city council and other donors so that we can increase the number of qualified students for the program.” Moreno said.
The City Government through the Community Improvement Division and in cooperation with TESDA has produced a total of 1,726 scholars for the six-month program on commercial cooking, food processing, beauty care services, dressmaking, bread and pastry production, among others.
On the environment, the city through the City Local Environment and Resources Office (Clenro) continues to reforest inland and the shorelines.
Among the actions taken by the Clenro are the incessant operations in the illegal logging and mining campaigns apprehending illegally transported forest products and eight illegal mining operations by issuing stoppage orders and the conduct of 22 operations resulting to cases filed in court pending deliberation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Education and training programs are ongoing with barangay folks and other stakeholders.
In championing his mission to provide an excellent health care program, especially for the poor, Moreno’s first directive was to strengthen the City Health Office and rehabilitated the city hospital that is now fully operational and serving hundreds of patients mostly indigents.
Despite the lack of resources, the city government has enrolled more than 50,000 PhilHealth members and families.
As a result the PhilHealth capitation fund per family-payment rate worth P12.5 million was reinstated and used to purchase medicines, rehabilitate/renovate health facilities and general medical equipment.
Pregnant women need not go far to deliver their babies as the Maternal Care Package in 18 barangay health centers are duly accredited by PhilHealth. The accreditation of another 10 barangay health centers is also on-going.
The J.R. Borja General Hospital (JRBGH) was renovated and the commissioning of the 3rd floor south wing with the additional 66 beds with air condition wards for senior citizens, government employees, pediatric, medical, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardio patients, as well as health facilities, private rooms, doctors quarters, nurse’s station and a multifunction room.
The Point of Care System enrollment of the PhiliHealth is a respite for the poor patients who need not worry of hospital bills.
The rehabilitated JRBGH recorded an increase in income by 52 percent, from P1.3 million to P2.7 million, as its income from PhilHealth claim increased by 12 percent.
Housing and resettlement posed a big challenge to Moreno as he inherited the land problem from the previous administration coupled with the Typhoon Sendong victims’ ongoing relocation.
With the collaboration of generous donors, local and international agencies, and partner governments the Moreno administration awarded a total 6,343 houses to the Sendong victims and the incoming 3,400 houses will soon be distributed.
The processing for documentation ready for titling to five associations of the controversial “Piso-Piso Program” beneficiaries is also ongoing.
The agricultural and fisheries sectors in the city have served 46,539 farmers, beneficiaries of the various programs that the city is implementing aside from the improved farm to market roads and implements.
Moreno in his speech enjoined the city council to do its part for the people of Cagayan de Oro and set aside politics.
“I do not need your political loyalty, what I need is your collaboration so that we can do more in serving the people of Cagayan de Oro,” Moreno said.