NEW tourist attractions are in the works in Toledo City. But that’s not the only thing Cebuanos can look forward to this year, as the midwestern Cebu city is also putting up transport, sports, health and other facilities that would benefit not just its residents but those of neighboring cities and towns as well.
In her State of the City Address (Soca), Mayor Marjorie “Joie” Perales, who is in her second term as mayor, announced that work on the Ibo Mangrove Park in Barangay Ibo was well underway.
This would be made part of the city’s tourism trail along with the Bato Marine Sanctuary in Barangay Bato that is a tripartite collaboration among Barangay Bato, Therma Visayas Inc. (TVI) and the Toledo City Government; and a boardwalk, which Carmen Copper Corp. would build for the city in Barangay Ilihan, she said in her Soca delivered at the Toledo City Sports Center on Jan. 6, 2024, video of which the local government unit (LGU) posted on its Facebook page.
The Ibo Mangrove Park is an environmental conservation project of the LGU in partnership with MGen (Meralco PowerGen Corp.) Global Business Power.
Last Feb. 5, Perales visited the site for the mangrove park and deemed it 40 percent complete, with the railings and a cemented footbridge already in place.
On the other hand, the Toledo City Marine Sanctuary Development Project, of which the Bato Marine Sanctuary is a part, was turned over by TVI to the City last Dec. 28. The project is among the corporate social responsibility projects of TVI, which operates a 340-megawatt power plant in Barangay Bato.
The multi-phased sanctuary project includes landscaping and the building of cottages.
In her Soca, Perales said a land transportation terminal to be located across the sports center in Barangay Sangi was scheduled for bidding.
Just three weeks later, on Jan. 25, the City Government announced that the Toledo Land Transportation Terminal would already have its groundbreaking on Feb. 16.
Project contractor Duros Development Corp. will build the terminal, which will have spaces for lease, including office spaces, ticketing areas and waiting areas.
Transport operators moved out of the old land transportation terminal in August 2022 after the area was identified as the site for a new public market. They relocated to a temporary site beside the Toledo City Sports Center.
The new terminal will be situated across the soon-to-rise Cebu Technological University (CTU) Toledo Campus.
“The lot for CTU has been expropriated,” the mayor said during her Soca.
Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district) authored the bill to put up a regular campus of CTU in the city. The bill lapsed into law on May 29, 2022 as Republic Act 11788, or the Cebu Technological University-Toledo and Asturias Campuses Act.
With a campus in their own city, the youth would no longer need to travel far, such as to Cebu City, to get an education from CTU, Garcia said on the law’s passage.
To cater to the growing population of students in basic education, Perales said that for the Department of Education, the Local School Board of the City had approved the Special Education Fund for 2024 in the amount of P100 million to be used for the construction of new classrooms and the provision of information and communications technology equipment, among other things.
These are on top of the educational facilities turned over in 2023.
She said that in 2023, school buildings were turned over to Don Andres Soriano National High School, and New Bucao Elementary School, and that instructional covered courts were completed that were intended for elementary schools in Barangays Awihao, Capitan Claudio, Canlumampao, Sangi, Fulgencio Dolino Elementary School and Matab-ang National High School.
For the athletically inclined, she announced that the City was pushing forward with plans for a new “covered tennis court in the amount of P125 million to be implemented by the regional DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) through the funds of Sen. Mark Villar.”
It will be located in the sports center. The mayor said they would also look for ways to build a track and field oval and an Olympic-sized swimming pool to complete the city’s sports facilities.
“The clubhouse and badminton courts located just beside our sports center are currently in progress,” Perales added.
Super Health Center
To safeguard residents’ health, Perales said the construction of a Super Health Center (SHC) near the city’s evacuation center was “currently under process.”
She said the P10 million health center was “made possible with the support of Sen. Bong Go.”
Groundbreaking for the SHC took place on March 24, 2023.
An SHC is a medium type of polyclinic that will be turned over to the LGU, which can then choose to expand it to include equipment or incorporate a dialysis center, for instance. The services offered in Super Health Centers include out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit; eye, ear, nose and throat service, oncology, and physical therapy and rehabilitation, according to Go’s office.
As for the P33 million evacuation center that doubles as a quarantine facility, the DPWH funded and built it in Sitio Tunnel, Barangay Poblacion. The center opened on July 26, 2023.
For sustainable waste management for the economically thriving city, Perales said the LGU had entered into a public-private partnership with Far East Fuel Corp. for an engineered sanitary landfill in Barangay Sam-ang that has the capacity to collect 500 tons of waste per day.
“All collected waste will be converted into a fuel source. Remarkably, this project incurs no cost to the government, and the LGU will earn its share income once operations commence,” Perales said. “This innovative approach not only tackles our waste issues but also provides an effective alternative for our electricity needs, being once more a sustainable city.”
Groundbreaking for the Toledo City Sanitary Landfill, Methane Recovery and Power Generation Facility took place on June 26, 2023. The facility is expected to be completed 10 months after all permits have been secured.
In the area of security, the City purchased a state-of-the-art video surveillance system featuring facial recognition and automatic plate number recognition capabilities to help in “addressing threats, monitoring accidents and criminal activities and responding swiftly to emergencies within our city,” the mayor said.
The city has 62 CCTV cameras. Days after her Soca, Perales voiced plans to buy more cameras.
In 2023, the City also provided the Toledo City Police Station with seven new patrol cars.
The mayor said the City had also allotted P7 million for the installation of street lights, from S. Osmeña St. to the Cemetery Road, from Hinulawan Bridge to Talavera Bridge, from Ilihan to Sangi Rotunda, Bus Terminal and Barangay Sangi, Sitio Lawis to Barangay Daanglungsod, and Sitio Alimango, Barangay Cantabaco, Barangay Cabitoonan to Barangay Bato, and also for lighting government facilities.
Perales said around P230 million worth of “vital infrastructure projects” were completed in 2023, including the construction of drainage systems on Sergio Osmeña Sr. St., Sitio Tal-ot in Barangay Ilihan, Sitio Banana Chapter in Barangay Poblacion and in Barangay Capitan Claudio.
“In addition to that, we have around P26 million ongoing projects for the construction of drainage systems in Barangays Cabitoonan, Das and Luray 2. These projects are essential in minimizing the impact of flooding in certain areas in Toledo,” Perales said.
Perales said last year also saw the completion of the Ilihan Bridge improvement and restoration in Barangay Ilihan, along with the repair and improvement of the seawall starting from the former Days Hotel up to the pier area in Barangay Poblacion. The bridge had been damaged by typhoon Odette in December 2021.
She reported that improvements, reblocking and pavement resurfacing, concreting, opening and widening projects were undertaken in Barangays Poblacion and Sangi, Cantabaco diversion road, Sitio Lawis to Barangay Daanglungsod, and Barangay Subayon and Tungkay.
“Additionally, a sum of P263 million is allocated for projects currently in progress,” the mayor said.
She also said the slaughterhouse in Barangay Cantabaco had recently been officially turned over.
It was turned over by the contractor on Jan. 4, 2024 following the repair and improvement of its roof, walls and other parts.
Toledo City has 38 barangays. As of the 2020 Census, the city had a population of 207,314.