SANTA ANA -- Outgoing Mayor Rommel "Omeng" Concepcion is leaving a development legacy for this town as he led the groundbreaking of the new and soon-to-rise municipal hall here on Friday.
Concepcion, who will be completing his nine-year term next year, initiated the transfer of the municipal hall in a 1.5 hectare land in Barangay Sto. Domingo here.
Concepcion said the construction of new town hall will be the start of development of the town branded as the "Sleeping Municipality of Pampanga".
"Ngayon na nakikita nila na gumagalaw na tayo, businessmen will surely be encouraged to invest in our municipality which will bring progress and growth," said Concepcion.
"Hiniling ko din sa mga investors natin na gustong mag-business dito katulad ng Savemore na as much as possible, lahat ng empleyado manggagaling sa munisipyo at pumayag naman sila," Concepcion added.
Concepcion, however, explained that the transfer is not for the sole purpose of encouraging investors. He said the current town hall is too small and crowded since fire and police stations, trial courts and all national government agencies are housed there.
The move will also help decongest the traffic problem in the Poblacion area where the current municipal hall stands, said Concepcion. Aside from the town hall, the local government is also eyeing the transfer of the public market to comprehensively decongest traffic. He said a multi-purpose hall, mini-park and a sports complex will also rise in the area.
Concepcion disclosed that they bought the property at P1,100 per square meter using the savings of the municipal government.
Meanwhile, the local government availed of a P25-million loan from the Landbank of the Philippines for the construction of the new town hall.
To ensure that their new office will not be flooded, Concepcion said they will be elevating the buiding one meter above the road.
Concepcion added that once the local government transfers, the then-old town hall will possibly be transformed into a museum or a public library.
Concepcion was accompanied by Vice Mayor Medy Nolasco and Councilors Rameses "Tek" Concepcion, Rhodora "Oday" Nacpil, Arthur Diaz and Rey Montoya.
Several officials from the Third District including Congressman Oscar Rodriguez, board members Rosve Henson and Dinan Labung and wannabees Rolly Macalino and Jun Canlas also showed support to the municipality's new project.
They lauded the efforts of the local chief executive for coming up with such a move to develop the town.
Officials from Landbank of the Philippines Manager Rannie Jimenez and Accounting Officer Jing Perez were also there to witness the groundbreaking. The construction of the town hall will immediately start today, Saturday, as ordered by Concepcion. The estimated time of construction will be around six to seven months, the mayor said.
"Ayaw ko ng pa-pogi lang. Kaya ginawa na namin 'to dahil sisimulan na talaga ang construction," he added.
Concepcion asserted that this is the right time to construct the town hall while the cost of materials are low and there are enough resources.
"Ito na po ang tamang panahon. Kung matutulog pa tayo ng tatlo o limang taon, baka di na natin kayanin ang gastos," he said.
Under the term of Concepcion, the full payment of the loan for the construction of the current town hall was already paid.
Concepcion belied the allegations of his critics that he will just “pocket” the budget for the construction of the town hall.
"Imposible yun kasi ang mahigpit ang kalakaran sa Landbank. Pine-present muna ng contractor namin yung budget sa kanila bago nila i-release ang budget," Concepcion said, adding that the release of loan is staggered, based on the expenses needed.
Concepcion further said that all the documents are presented to and validated first by the local Commission on Elections.
For transparency purposes, the local government also presented the Notice of Loan before the people to inform them of the terms and conditions.