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Bongat reports to the people: Getting there

Bicol Mail

BONGAT delivering his State of the City Report.

click to download 2012 State of Our City Report.pdf  | 158KB / 13 pages

Stressing that Nagueños continue to have many reasons “to smile” to the world, City Mayor John G. Bongat in his 2012 State of the City Report delivered last Tuesday during the Sangguniang Panglunsod’s regular session at the People’s Hall of the City Hall here declared that Naga “remains at the forefront of many good practices and innovations in local governance, especially when enabled and empowered by the fundamental principle of stakeholdership.”

He assured that only by working together as a team, with every citizen pitching in his share, can the city build a happier Naga, a truly maogmang lugar.”

The city mayor made a report on the state of the city for the last two years since he assumed office in 2010 by answering the question that he himself threw in:  “(A)re we getting to where Naga wants to go?”

GOOD GOVERNANCE. Naga City’s stakeholders listen intently as Mayor John G. Bongat delivers his 2012 state of the City Report.  Photo by JOSE V. COLLERA

Mayor Bongat provided the answer by summarizing his accomplishments through the development agenda, also known by its acronym “H2ELP your CiTy” that he first outlined during the first six months of his office.

H2ELP your CiTy stand for the following target indicators: Health and Nutrition; Housing and the Urban Poor; Education, Arts, Culture and Sports Development; Livelihood, Employment and Human Development; Peace and Order and Public Safety; Cleanliness and Environment Protection; and Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance.

Health and Nutrition. The city registered a 47% reduction in infant death between 2012 and 2011 by improving infant mortality rate from 14.7 to 7.62 per 1,000 live births, compared to Bicol regional average of 10.2. The same progress was also registered in under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality rate ratio.

The city also registered gains in nutrition, its 4.8% rate of malnourished preschool children in 2009 to 2010 was further reduced to 4.6%, the lowest in the region whose average malnutrition rate is 16%. The mayor announced the upcoming establishment of the Naga City Center for Health Development and Nutrition that will house the first ever Institute for Health Development and Nutrition Studies in the country.

Also noted is the number of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children which shot up by 73%, from 1,774 in 2010 to 3,064 in 2011.

The mayor said that while the city officials had to contend with the fact that Naga suffered an unfortunate casualty due to dengue, the situation could have been worse if City Hall did not declare a local “state of calamity” early on which therefore allowed the City Health Office, in partnership with the Liga ng mga Barangay, to implement necessary containment and preventive measures against the dengue-carrying mosquitoes that have been plaguing all parts of the country.

Housing and the Urban Poor.  The city has added 15 projects sites to the Kaantabay sa Kauswagan (KsK) (a social housing program), raising to 68 as of June 2012 from only 53 in 2010. These new additions will benefit some 453 urban poor families more who have been waitlisted by the Housing and Settlements Development Office of City Hall, bringing the total number of beneficiaries from 9,191 in 2011 to 9,375 on the first semester of 2012.

Education, Arts, Culture and Sports Development. The city focused on effective education support programs, including the conversion of Sabang High School into the Naga City Schools of Arts and Trades and the strengthening of Alternative Learning System (ALS) to provide second-chance learning to out-of-school youth. It also supported the schooling of 457 college students under Iskolar kan Ciudad, helped by a P10M annual funding allocation.

The creation of Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (ACTO) has enhanced efforts to promote culture and arts. Under the CIDA-funded Local Governance Support Program, the city is currently doing cultural mapping aimed at enhancing awareness of local cultural heritage and as input to the promotion of heritage tours that will boost the city’s tourism efforts. The city also established the first-ever Naga City Art Gallery with local artists and created the “Harong kan Literatura asin mga Tataramon Bikolnon” to promote the development of Bikol literature in its various forms and as repository of all Bikol works, among others. The city further put in place enhanced training programs for athletes, purchased more sports equipment, initiated more sports tournaments, and saw the full utilization of sports facilities, like the Metro Naga Sports Complex, Naga City Coliseum, and the Naga City Civic Center.

Livelihood, Employment and Human Development. Despite jitters in the global economy, the number of registered enterprises in the city increased by 4%, from 907 in 2010 to 944 in 2011. New constructions improved by 12.6%, from 95 to 107 during the periods mentioned. The city is looking at 2012 to be an even better year, as indicated by the fact that during the first semester of this year alone, the city had already attained 86% of total investments relative to the 2011 level. The mayor sees the coming of new big-ticket investments, such as the setting up of GMA TV Network regional headquarters for Bicol, a solar panel plant rising in Barangay Pacol, and several new hotels sprouting in strategic corners of the city. Tourist arrivals in the city, combined with Camarines Sur, as reported by DOT increased by 31.7%, from 1.9M in 2010 to 2.5M in 2011.

On employment, the city government’s employment facilitation services registered a 38% increase in number of workers placed, from 2,768 in 2010 to 3,825 in 2011, and an even higher 92% increase in foreign placements, from 79 to 152, including those hired by an Australian firm involved in livestock butchering.

Peace and Order and Public Safety. Crime volume went down by 21%, from 723 in the first semester of 2011 to only 523 during the same period in 2012. During the same period, cases of theft went down by 22%, from 277 to 216, robbery by 32%, from 110 to 75. Riding in tandem theft plummeted by 71%, from 28 to only 8. Crime solution efficiency (CSE) doubly improved by 33% between 2011 and 2012. From January to June 2011 when the police solved 227 of the 723 crimes committed or a CSE of 30%, it rose to 63% when it solved 352 of the 573 crimes committed during the first semester of 2012.

Cleanliness and Environment Protection. Under ‘Clean Air,’ the city conducted intensified drives against smoke-bleching and regular air quality monitoring. Under ‘Clean Water,’ the city completed the CDIA-funded pre-feasibility study for the Integrated Naga River Revitalization Project (iNRRP), which drew up a P2.2B package to carry out then project. Already, the city has secured P20M to fund the Naga River transport system from the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) of the DILG, and P27M from the National Disater Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) for the first phase in a series of allocations for flood protection.

The city hall, out of local funds, had completed a total of P63.7M worth of infrastructure projects in 2011, another P9.7M in the first half of 2012, and had bidded another P34.8M for the remaining part of the year. This P110M infra package includes two major storm drainage projects, from Sta. Cruz to san Francisco and along Mayon Avenue, plus several million pesos more for smaller drainage lines across the city.

On ‘clean surroundings,’ the city upped garbage collection from 58.3 tons/day during the first semester of 2011 to 70.3 tons/day this year, or an increase of 20%. This came after the city acquired more garbage trucks and introduced railroad-based garbage collection. The higher garbage collection puts the city in better position to meet the daily requirements of the CJ Waste-to-Energy facility when it finally operates two years from now.

Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance. The city has kept the momentum in ensuring that Naga sustains its reputation and tradition for good governance as shown by the following recognitions received during the period: Seal of Good Housekeeping for Local Governments by DILG in recognition of Naga’s exemplary performance in internal housekeeping for CY 2011 in Good Planning, Sound Fiscal Management, Transparency and Accountability, and Valuing Performance Management, earning for the city a P20M grant; Award of Excellence, in recognition of unparalleled leadership, dedication and service in health Emergency Management being the first to establish an Inter-Agency Communication Center given by the DOH during the 2nd Salud Bikolnon Awards in Legazpi City; “Dugong Bicol” award, LGU category, for initiative to promote and uphold the National Voluntary Blood Service Program given by the DOH; Two consecutive “Outstanding Local Project Monitoring Committee Awards for 1010 and 2011 given by the Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) of the Bicol Regional Development Council; and more.