State of the City Address
February 28, 2006

The Honorable Presiding Officer, Vice-Mayor Senen O. Angeles,

Esteemed Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dipolog,

Chiefs of Offices of the City Government of Dipolog,

Members of the Fourth Estate,

Honored Guests,

My Fellow Dipolognons;
 

“This administration is now in its twilight years of humble service to our community. For eight years now, we have given our best efforts in working for the greatest good of our people. And for this last remaining year of service, we shall do no less.” – Mayor Roberto Y. Uy

            A pleasant afternoon to all.

            Year Two Thousand and Six, the year of the Firedog, is my eighth year as Chief Executive of our beloved city. One more year to go and I shall take a bow and bid adieu till the next successor shall have been elected and installed. I firmly believe that whenever we share the goodness of our hearts, we always end up winners because public service, like real life itself, is an echo. It gives back what we have given in a thousand and one wonderful ways. With God’s loving grace and support, this public servant shall, in a capsule, once again enumerate before you the past year’s share of sweat and toil in the form of services rendered to the people.
 

AGRICULTURE

            First stop is in the field of agriculture. This administration firmly believes that the enhancement of our productivity in agriculture lies in the application of modern agricultural technologies through the assistance and supervision of our agricultural technologists assigned in the different barangays. Thus, we have required strict compliance with our directive for our technologists to conduct farm visitations and regular or special meetings in order to closely monitor agricultural production and/or impart vital technological transfer to our farmers. Some people may have had misgivings with how this administration enforced its policies, but the statistics bore the effectiveness of our methods. Last year alone, more than 250 farmers were involved in various agricultural technology trainings as well as on alternative means of livelihood. Special programs were also conducted for other members of the farmers’ household in order to help augment their family income. For coconut farmers, hybrid coconut seedlingss had been distributed to farmers in several barangays in the city. Various kinds of fertilizers had also been distributed to over 700 farmers either for free, on discounted rate, or under a soft loan program.


The mayor revealed that the P2.4-million fund is under INFRES, a livelihood component program under poverty-reduction concept funded by Japan which is intended for 133 farmer-beneficiaries who are already identified.

            A big boost to the agricultural sector is the INFRES project’s livelihood component which had already started implementation with the valuable assistance of the Center for Social Concerns and Development (CESCOD). Around 2.4 Million pesos worth of livelihood assistance in various forms had already been approved for release to 133 farmer-beneficiaries.

            With respect to the livestock dispersal and sagip-hayop programs of the city government, a considerable number of swine, cattle and carabao had been distributed and made available to more than one hundred farmer-recipients. Close to 300 farmers had also availed of vaccination and other livestock treatments in order to minimize livestock mortality rate.

            On the fisheries sector, this administration had taken steps to strike a balance between the need to preserve our marine resources and of promoting the welfare of our small fisherfolks. And I am pleased that our constant dialogues with the concerned sectors had led to a mutual understanding, and the full cooperation of concerned fisherfolks had been obtained in our fight against illegal fishing. The active self-monitoring activities of the seven fisherfolk associations organized in the coastal barangays has now paid off with the apprehension of some fishermen employing illegal fishing methods.

 

LIVELIHOOD & SKILLS TRAINING

            It has been said that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; but if you teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. This administration acknowledges the wisdom of this age-old adage and thus earnestly continues to strive to provide our people with ample opportunity to learn new skills and develop their capabilities for economic self-reliance.

On this score, the active participation of concerned government agencies and NGOs had been most helpful in bringing this priority agenda of this administration to the grassroots level. Community-based livelihood programs were made available especially to household members of small farmers and fishermen, the women and youth sectors, the disabled, and the indigent families at the two relocation sites in barangays Olingan and Dicayas.

            The Local Council of Women (LCW), a partnership between the city government and local non-governmental organizations, had been in the forefront in capability-building and skills training for these sectors. Among such programs implemented last year were in the production of bottled sardines, beauty soaps, candles, Christmas decors, bags and other novelty items made of indigenous materials, and in the processing of food products and other native delicacies. In recognition of this endeavor, the Local Council of Women in Dipolog City was, for the second consecutive year, adjudged “Most Outstanding LCW” from among all local government units in the country.

            In another successful cooperation between the government and the private sector, a new grocery store and wet market had been put up at the relocation site in Barangay Olingan. From the same collaboration which produced the two bakeries at the relocation sites, a third bakery had been established in Barangay Punta. For these, we wish to acknowledge the cooperation and valuable contributions of the National Council of Women in the Philippines (NCWP) Dipolog chapter, the CESCOD, as well as the local office of the Department of Labor and Employment.

            Other offices of the city government likewise implemented other livelihood programs and initiatives related to their field. They include the Office of the City Agriculturist, the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the Nutrition Services Division under the Office of the City Mayor as well as the Department of Education through its Non-Formal Education Division. Under the Nutrition Services Division alone, more than 1,500 families from all 21 barangays of the City had been organized into groups, and given sustainable livelihood projects. This administration has always been committed to help our people help themselves, and it shall spare no effort in order to create more and better opportunities for our people to improve their lives.

 

HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

Among the multifarious needs of an individual, none may be more basic than those concerning his health and that of his family. This administration had provided and shall continue to provide our people with these basic services and such other necessities for decent living.

            In the ever-continuing battle against malnutrition, never did we stumble and fall. For three consecutive years, Dipolog City coveted the “Green Banner Award” for its outstanding nutrition program from among all local government units in the region. For this feat, Dipolog City was consequently bestowed the “CROWN” award with One Hundred Thousand Pesos in prize money given by the Regional Nutrition Council and another Fifty Thousand Pesos cash award from the Department of Agriculture. Another distinction reaped by our City was the “Most Outstanding City” award during the monitoring and evaluation of local level plan implementation held in June of last year. The city thus qualified for the National Honor Award, the highest recognition that can be conferred to a local government unit for the effective implementation of its nutrition program in the community.

            Other child health services had been provided by the City Health Office. Among them were the Comprehensive Maternal and Child Health Program which was availed of by more than 5,000 beneficiaries last year, and the expanded program on immunization which recorded almost 3,000 infants and children immunized. Medical examinations as well as dental health services had been daily routine at the City Health Office with a total of over 50,000 patients having availed of such services. The special needs of married and pregnant women were taken cared of at our Reproductive Health Clinic at the Motorpool compound. Compulsory smear examinations were required for those women employed in high risk establishments in order to closely monitor and check the spread of sexually transmissible diseases. Environmental sanitation services as well as laboratory examinations were among those services regularly provided and availed of by our constituents. Medical and dental outreach activities continued on a regular basis in order to cater to the health needs of those in remote barangays. Aside from the above-mentioned, 25 more major health programs of the Department of Health had been implemented by the City Health Office, all aimed at promoting the health and welfare of all members of the community.

Last year, this administration spent more than 2 Million pesos for the purchase of medicines intended for indigent members of our community. Again some people had denounced such policy of this administration, especially those who had been denied access to such services by reason of their comfortable economic status. Today I reiterate our guiding principle, that those who have less in life should have more in terms of basic services from the government.

            Special social services had been regularly provided by the City Social Welfare and Development Office. Provided various forms of services by said office were mostly children, the youth, women, the elderly, the disabled and individuals in crisis situations or emergencies. The 50 Day Care Centers throughout the city had catered to the educational needs of over 2,000 children last year. More than 50 cases were also handled by the Social Welfare and Development Office involving abused and/or abandoned street children. Through its Pag-asa Youth Movement program in the barangays, 17 of our youth had been provided with self-employment assistance. More than 400 others had also availed of summer camp, sports trainings and other forms of assistance from the city government. In its assistance to women organizations, the CSWD office provided among others, skills trainings, livelihood, and self-employment assistance to more than a thousand women-beneficiaries in the barangays. Assistance to senior citizens were mostly in the form of financial support in the conduct of their assemblies and in their procurement of booklets, medicines, and other goods. For persons with disabilities, support given by the CSWD office include financial or material assistance, social enhancement, self-employment assistance and manpower skills training which were availed of by a total of more than 300 recipients. Under the Disaster Relief Program, the bulk of support services provided were in aid of individuals in crisis situation and for the emergency relief assistance. For this program alone, almost a million pesos had been utilized last year.

 

EDUCATION

            This administration is of the belief that education is among the best and most effective means of empowering the people. This is why we have always extended adequate support and cooperation to the programs and projects of the City Schools Division. Aside from extending financial assistance to the curricular, sports and cultural programs of the Division, this administration provided much-needed educational support structures and facilities. Last year, several school buildings, outdoor stage and other facilities had been constructed in various city schools. In recognition to their generous assistance to a number of these projects, we wish to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Inc. We also wish to thank Dr. Ruben Manriquez, a concerned Dipolognon now based in Florida, for his valuable contribution in the construction of another 4-classroom school building which is now nearing completion.

            Among the commonly aired gripes of teachers and principals in our city schools are the recurring looting, vandalism and other mischief perpetuated by young delinquents in school premises. To address this complaint and in order to secure the safety of our young pupils and students, this administration had caused the construction of adequate fences in practically all city schools constantly faced with such nuisance. At the Barra High School, site development works had been introduced. Still on-going are the construction of additional classrooms, the concrete fencing of the school premises and other ground improvements costing the city around 7 Million pesos. All these are part of our preparations for the future Dipolog City High School.

            The Division of City Schools maintained its highest literacy rating of 96% throughout Region IX for the school year 2004-2005. Landmark achievements in the education program include the revolutionary method of utilizing optical media in teaching English, Mathematics and Science subjects to our elementary schoolchildren, and the integration of enhanced computer literacy program in the curriculum. An indicator of the level of success of these programs may well be the fame, honor and glory the city had reaped through the various achievements of our young students in several regional and national competitions in sports, academics, culture and the arts.     

With the solid support of our citizenry, the Alay Lakad Council of Dipolog managed to stay afloat and continued its grant of scholarship programs to less-privileged but deserving out-of-school youth in the city. At present, some 70 Alay Lakad scholars are enrolled in various schools in the city. In this connection, I would like to implore the active involvement of all sectors of our community, so that a lot more of our out-of-school youth may be able to avail of this opportunity to complete their education.
 

TOURISM

            The tourism industry in the city continued to grow despite the subsisting negative travel advisories of some foreign governments with regards to our region. The regular visits of Japanese businessmen and students to our city continued, thanks to the active support of our adopted Dipolognon, Mr. Hiroshi Ikeda. Total tourists arrival last year recorded a significant increase, attributed in part to the various national and regional conferences held in the city. With the increasing number of such gatherings being held here, Dipolog City is now among the most favored convention sites in this part of the country.

            Development works continued on the Sungkilaw Falls and the Cogon Eco-Tourism Park with the end in view of making these natural wonders a wholesome tourist attraction for the city. The park’s biological diversity continued to draw a number of students and researchers from nearby regions for their forestry and environmental studies. An Eco-Tourism Development Plan had been formulated with the able assistance of personnel from the DENR regional office, and which is now under consideration by the Regional Eco-Tourism Council. Its final approval would enable to the city to secure valuable tourism development and marketing assistance from the national government.

            Last year, residents and visitors of Dipolog were treated to the biggest and longest-running celebration ever of the Pagsalabuk Festival. Previously marked with only a week-long celebration, last year’s Pagsalabuk Festival ran for more than six weeks and was studded with more and bigger sideshows and events. Trade fair exhibitors posted record sales and tourism support establishments enjoyed brisk business during the affair, as throngs of people crowded the wide space of our new boulevard. Going into its eighth year of existence this year, the Pagsalabuk Festival is expected to produce yet another successful celebration. Preparations have now begun to add new attractions to the festival and expand its promotion, in order to sustain the momentum of a flourishing tourism industry in the city.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

            Another area that this administration considers vital to the sustainable development of the city is on the preservation of the ecological balance. Our country has time and again witnessed the deadly and terrifying wrath of nature when people simply disregard the negative environmental impact of their pursuit for progress. This administration has been careful not to fall into such a trap. We shall not trade temporary economic benefits for the exploitation of our environment which would bring further imbalance to our ecological system. With this in mind, this administration has embarked on an environmental protection program with the end in view of restoring harmony between man and his surroundings.

            Perhaps the most visible of the environmental protection measures undertaken by the city government were the tree planting activities. In trying to arrest the disappearance of our natural forest covers, aggressive promotion of tree planting and reforestation activities had been carried out in various sections of the community. In order to lead by example, the participation of city government employees and barangay officials in such activities had been institutionalized. Active cooperation especially from the academic sector had also been crucial to the success of the said activities. For the year 2005, a total of nine educational institutions had, on separate occasions, planted various species of hardwood and fruit trees in designated tree-planting areas. Also among those who shared precious time and effort in support of the program were civic-oriented people’s and non-governmental organizations. All in all, more than 17,000 seedlings of various tree species had been planted within a six-month period last year. Clean-up activities had also been conducted in coastal barangays as well as in some designated creeks and side streets within the city, in order rid the areas of non-biodegradable wastes and other environmental pollutants.

            Despite the seeming apathy of some officials and personnel from other government agencies, this administration continued its vigilance against illegal logging activities perpetuated within the city’s territorial jurisdiction. A number of round timbers and several flitches of illegally-cut trees had been seized in various occasions with the assistance of our barangay officials. A lone crusader may this administration be in this fight, yet our resolve shall not waiver. For ours is the noble mission to use properly, develop wisely, and preserve carefully what God has given us in trust, in order that future generations may experience and enjoy the beauty and wonder of His creation.

 

PEACE & ORDER

            The peace and order situation in Dipolog City in the year 2005 had been the subject of much discussion and debate. While some may be honest-to-goodness assessment of the situation by concerned citizens, others were nothing more than tools of a black propaganda designed to discredit this administration.

On the illegal numbers game, this administration had not exactly been very pleased with the results. Thus, we have taken the task of conducting a multi-sectoral information and awareness campaign to boot out this menace to society. Relevant IEC materials developed by the City Information Office last year have just been delivered, and we are now ready to push through with this campaign against illegal gambling.

There had also been comments that this administration was putting too much emphasis on the campaign against illegal drugs. Here before this august body and in front of my beloved constituents, I hereby plead “GUILTY” to the charge. I shall not make excuses on this, for indeed there are none. I shall only express that this administration believes we can never be too careful, nor be vigilant enough, against this particular threat. Its potential to cause damage to our community is as great as any other threat. And while we have strongly supported the fight against illegal drugs, this administration had never deprived our local police of full backing in combating other forms of criminality. All the resources this administration had at its disposal had been made available in support of our local police. And it shall be the same complete support and cooperation we shall provide our new chief of police.

Even as we speak, a new strategy is now being developed to counter criminality and other threats to the safety and security of our people. And I wish to convey my appreciation to the honorable members of this august body for their support on this comprehensive multi-sectoral initiative on peace and order. With this in place, and the full support of this administration behind it, we are banking on the new leadership of the Dipolog City Police Station to deliver what the public expects and deserves in law enforcement.     

 

REVENUE GENERATION

            Local revenue is considered the life source of every local government unit. The quality and quantity of the basic services that the government can provide for its constituents depend, in huge part, on the capacity of the government to generate funds to keep the governmental machinery running in tiptop shape. The more funds available at the government’s disposal, the more projects and services it can afford to provide for its constituents. Thus, tax collection efficiency had been continuously pushed on one hand, while the other is kept open for new and better means to improve revenue generation. 

 
 
 

Mayor Uy also mentioned of the recent approval by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the P150-million for the expansion of the Dipolog airport to accommodate bigger types of plane.

Last year, collections on real property taxes as well as on business and licenses both posted increases compared to the previous year’s collections. Total local revenues netted more than 30 Million pesos last year, after deducting the respective amounts of the Special Education Fund and revenue shares of concerned barangays. Total revenues from the economic enterprise of the city posted an increase of almost 25% from the previous year’s figures. From total collections of around 20 Million pesos in 2004, total collections last year jumped to a little over 25 Million pesos. Collections from other revenue sources likewise posted slight but steady increases compared to the previous year.

            The Office of the City Assessor had conducted a comprehensive field tax mapping operation throughout the City. It led to the discovery of undeclared buildings and improvements which, after the appropriate adjustments have been made, stands to bring in additional revenues to the city coffers.

            Still on the effort to continuously improve its revenue generating capacity, the city last year enrolled in the Transparent and Accountable Governance (TAG) program financed by the USAID and implemented by the Asia Foundation. Slated for completion in the middle of this year, the program in essence would work on new and improved Real Property Tax Administration System for the purpose of increasing revenue collection and improving transaction efficiency for a more effective delivery of public service.

            The planned implementation this year of the computerization or automation of some vital offices of the city government is also expected to greatly contribute to increased revenue generating capacity of the city. Along with certain revenue measures recently passed by this august body and the cooperation of our people, the chances of attaining fiscal autonomy and independence for our local government unit may no longer be such a remote possibility.
 

INFRASTRUCTURE

            This administration has always maintained that infrastructure is the backbone of development. The development of each and every sector of the community revolves around a solid infrastructure base which serves as the catalyst for a more dynamic economy. In pursuit of this mission, this administration has continued its thrust to maintain and enhance basic and vital infrastructure facilities in the City.

Mayor Uy also revealed that the Galas feeder port is now ready for operation but the city is only waiting for the approval of the Philippine Ports Authority for its opening to business.

Locally-funded projects which were completed and/or nearing completion as of the end of the year 2005 reached a total of almost 70 Million Pesos. The bulk of this or a total of more than 12 Million Pesos were devoted mainly for improving the circulation and access to our agricultural products with the construction, opening, or repair and rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads. In addition to this, a total of 8 Million Pesos had been appropriated for the concrete paving of roads with a total length of almost 3,000 meters. 

Still under infrastructure, the good Mayor pointed to the many completed and on-going road concreting and drainage canal constructions in the city proper and the barangays.

Not far behind in terms of total expenditures were infrastructure projects in support of the educational sector. Almost 11 Million Pesos were spent for the construction and/or rehabilitation of school buildings and facilities in at least eleven barangays in the City.

To literally brighten our City and to keep the city streets safe and secure from unpleasant incidents which tend to occur under the cover of darkness, this administration has undertaken to implement various electrification and lighting projects all over the City. For the past year, a total of 28 such projects were implemented costing over 4 Million Pesos. I am pleased to report that the convenience of electric power is now being enjoyed by a number of households in some inner puroks of barangays Cogon and Diwan. And barring any unforeseen event, this administration’s thrust to make electricity available to every household in all twenty-one barangays of Dipolog City, will soon be achieved.

 

The city mayor also disclosed they will soon start the second phase of the Dipolog Boulevard Project.

In our effort to help control flooding within the city proper and at the same time improve the cleanliness and sanitation in our city streets, this administration has envisioned to construct concrete drainage canals throughout the city proper, in place of the open drainage canals which had been used as common garbage dumps. As of last year, over 1,300 linear meters of these safety and sanitation nightmares were converted into concrete drainage canals and sidewalk, with a total cost of around 4 Million Pesos.

The provision of adequate water supply for our people likewise remained on top of this administration’s agenda. As of the end of last year, 19 water supply projects, including their repair and rehabilitation, had been undertaken in at least ten barangays in the city.

Other equally important projects had also been implemented by this administration. Among these were the construction of perimeter fence at the Dipolog City Airport, the continuing improvement of the Galas feeder port and the start of the Turno-Miputak bypass road. It is my wish that before this administration shall have handed over the city’s leadership to the succeeding elected officials, we shall have commenced actual operations of our Galas feeder port. It is likewise my intention to begin construction of the second phase of our foreshore development project. These are among the notable projects that this administration is presently working on, in order to support our city’s growing economy. I am also pleased to report to our people, the recent approval of the 150 Million Peso airport expansion project for our City. With this, our City’s airport would then be able to accommodate international flights which would further boost the development of our city.

 

CONCLUSION

My fellow Dipolognons, I cannot claim credit to all the achievements I have mentioned here this afternoon. It is not mine to boast of, nor of the city government alone. They are the achievements of the whole community, with each participant doing his own share of work to form a single efficient machinery. Without the support of the stakeholders, this representation could not have stood here to render this report. I thereby convey my grateful appreciation to all of them…. to the honorable members of this august body, who authored vital legislative measures for this public servant to implement; to the heads of offices of the city government who took charge in carrying out the programs of government; to the line agencies of the national government who provided crucial support services to the LGU; to the non-governmental organizations who lent their helping hand in partnership with the government; to the laborers who transformed our visions and ideas into tangible achievements; to the members of the media who served as mirrors of our performance; and to our constituents whose continued faith in our governance had provided this administration with the inspiration and will to succeed against all odds. As always, we dedicate everything we have accomplished in praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty, with prayers for His continued protection and blessings upon our community.

This administration is now in its twilight years of humble service to our community. For eight years now, we have given our best efforts in working for the greatest good of our people. And for this last remaining year of service, we shall do no less.

Before I end my report this afternoon, allow me to exhort our people to seek Him who is our refuge. We are not unaffected by the turmoil that is gripping our nation today, for it poses, in a very real sense, a threat to all that we have worked so hard to achieve. As God Himself has said in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

 

Thank you very much for your time. May God bless us all.

 

 

 

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