2016 State of the City Address
Atty. Frances Cynthia J. Guiani-Sayadi
Before anything else, I would like to request everybody to remain standing as we offer a minute of prayer for the repose of the soul of our departed City Mayor Japal Guiani, Jr.
One-minute silent prayer
Thank you, please be seated!
It’s been 47 days today since I assumed the post of City Mayor after the untimely demise of Mayor Japal Guiani, Jr.
Everything happened so fast that I could not surmise that I would be assuming the duties and responsibilities of this position this early.
On the day of my assumption, I remembered what my brother and mentor, Mayor Jojo, told me: “As duly-elected officials, we are bound to always uphold the interest and welfare of the people of Cotabato City, regardless of their status in life, gender, religious belief and tribal affiliation.”
On my first day as your City Mayor, I was somewhat skeptical if I can meet the expectations of the people of Cotabato City.
But knowing the professionalism and the uncontestable level of competence of the officials and employees of the City Government of Cotabato at my side, I told myself that we can do it.
Added to these are the unwavering support and cooperation of our barangay officials, law enforcement agencies and other line agencies of the government.
Indeed, I was right because in just a very short time, a lot had been accomplished and a lot had been started for the benefit of the people of Cotabato City.
As President Rodrigo Duterte said: “Change is coming.” I say that great changes will be coming to Cotabato City.
In the face of the various challenges and problems that our beloved city is now facing, from the problem of law and order to traffic congestion to health and sanitation to livelihood and employment, among others.
During my short stint as your City Vice Mayor then, I could say that I had started something that would facilitate change in our city.
Among these are the deliberations for the amendment of our Market Code, our Local Revenue Code and the Traffic Code.
I am confident that the present leadership and membership of the Sangguniang Panlungsod could fast-track the finalization of these amendments so that the economic development agenda of the Executive branch could also speed up.
Meanwhile, in just 47 days, I could also say that we already have a lot of accomplishments.
First in our long list of accomplishments was the establishment and operationalization of the Cotabato City Visitor’s Information Center located at the old City Hall. This was done in less than a month.
This is just the first phase of our plan to rehabilitate and refurbish our old City Hall building in order to preserve and enhance its historical and tourism value.
We are all aware that our city has a lot of tourism potentials, considering that it is here that Shariff Mohammad Kabunsuan landed to spread the Islam faith in this part of the country. Our city is also the cradle of the Sultanate of Maguindanao and the gateway to Central Mindanao.
Thus, our tourism potential is great.
This initial achievement could not have been realized if not for our improved revenue collection.
At the close of the third quarter this year, our city has already posted a Total Current Operating Income of P632,637,099.51 or an increase of 17-percent as compared to the same period last year.
Our Total Current Operating Expenditure as of the end the third quarter this year is P439,482,405.31 or a decrease of 7.5-percent as compared to the same period last year.
As a result, our city has a Net Operating Income of P193,154,624.20 as of the end of the third quarter. This, we could say, is more than enough to sustain the delivery of basic services to the people of Cotabato City.
In fact, we are confident that by the end of the year, we will be posting an increase in our Net Operating Income by around 15-percent as compared to last year.
Moreover, in 2010, when I first joined the City Government as City Administrator, our Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) was a meager P327-million. It was just enough to support the administrative requirements of the City Government.
Now, our annual IRA is P672-million or an increase of 210-percent in just six years.
And because of this, we now have 49 on-going infrastructure projects in the city which are all scheduled to be completed on or before the end of the year. All of these are being undertaken by this administration, under the City Engineering Office.
Among these are four farm-to-market roads located at Barangay Tamontaka 3, Tamontaka 4, Tamontaka 5 and Kalanganan 2.
In order to provide potable water to our constituents, we are now implementing the potable water supply expansion project under the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig para sa lahat or Salintubig Program of the national government. A sizeable portion of the project cost is funded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The project implementation is being undertaken with the technical support and cooperation of the Metro Cotabato Water District.
Beneficiaries of these projects are residents along East Diversion Road and Talainged Subdivision of Barangay Tamontaka Mother and Tamontaka 1; Virgo Urban Poor Subdivision in Barangay Rosary Heights 9; Zenaida Subdivision and Purok Taliltay at Barangay Rosary Heights 8; Penafrancia and Federville Subdivisions at Barangay Rosary Heights 11.
It is our vision that by the middle of 2017, each and every household in Cotabato City will have access to potable water.
By doing so, we are confident that we could further decrease, if not eliminate, the incidence of illnesses caused by the lack of potable water supply.
Aside from these major infrastructure projects, in a matter of days we will be completing the construction of the Women Crisis Center and the Vocation Training Resource Center for Persons With Disability.
Also, the senior citizens of Cotabato City will soon be having their own building. Funds for the construction of the Senior Citizens Center will be given by the office of Senator Miguel Zubiri.
Likewise, before Christmas, if the weather condition allows, we will be completing the repair and upgrading of the Fish Section of our Mega Market.
The same thing is true with the on-going repair of the Cotabato City Police Station 1 and 2. After their completion, we will immediately start the construction of additional police outposts to further strengthen our security infrastructure.
Also on-going are the concreting and upgrading of various city streets and the rehabilitation and concrete re-blocking of nine others.
We know that the concreting, repair and rehabilitation of these roads is causing some inconvenience to our motorists. We are appealing for their understanding because we cannot afford to delay the concreting and repair works considering the steadily increasing volume of vehicular traffic in our city brought about by our continuing economic growth.
Meanwhile, on the issue of health, we are looking at some long range programs for health promotion and service delivery.
One of this is the establishment of a City Hospital. This is in response to many health services issues and stumbling blocks like insufficient bed capacities of existing hospitals; human resource insufficiency; low facility-based deliveries; low skilled birth attendance; increased coverage of medical and dental consultation and services for indigents.
Another is the establishment of Nutrition Centers in every Clustered Barangay Health Centers. This will also serve as a facility for promoting nutrition among children and as emergency feeding centers during calamities and disasters.
Also, we will soon be establishing a Septage Processing Plant to be undertaken jointly with the Metro Cotabato Water District with a technical support provided by the United States Agency for International Development.
THIS SEPTAGE FACILITY IS THE FIRST IN THE FIRST PROJECT IN COTABATO CITY THAT IS SELF LIQUIDATING AND CAN BENEFIT BOTH PARTIES WHO SPENT FOR ITS ESTABLISHMENT.
IT WILL SERVE AS A TREATMENT PLANT OF ALL THE WASTE THAT WE CAN DECLOG FROM THE CITY’S SEPTIC TANKS. THIS IS ONE OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT’S WAYS OF PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT FROM BEING POLLUTED BY THE HARMFUL CHEMICALS FROM WASTE MATERIALS.
SOON, WE WILL ALSO BE ESTABLISHING WHAT WE CALL AN ECO PARK. THIS PARK WILL BE THE PROCESSING AREA OF OUR WASTE. WE WILL START SEGREGATING OUR GARBAGE AND PROCESS THEM TO MAKE THEM USEFUL AGAIN.
AND SPEAKING OF OUR ENVIRONMENT, I AM PROUD TO INFORM EVERYONE THAT COTABATO CITY NOW HAS A CITY ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICER IN THE PERSON OF ENGR. CRISANTO B. SAAVEDRA. HIS EXPERTISE ON SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROGRAMS MAKES HIM FIT FOR THIS NEW TASK.
Now that we already have our new and modern Hog Slaughterhouse and the country’s first public ‘Halal’ slaughterhouse, we are optimistic that there will be a dramatic increase and improvement in the local meat industry sector.
These two new and modern slaughterhouses are classified as Double A.
But in the face of the growing demand for ‘halal’ meat, not only in the domestic market but also in our neighboring ASEAN nations, we were informed that the National Meat Inspection Service has already approved our proposal to elevate the classification of our ‘halal’ slaughterhouse from Double A to Triple A.
Because of this, the NMIS has approved the grant to us the amount of P30-million so that our “halal’ slaughterhouse will be upgraded into a Double A category.
These additional funds will be used for the establishment of a chiller room, a cutting room, a blast freezer and a cold storage facility for our “halal” slaughterhouse.
Aside from this, another P2-million was granted to us by the NMIS for the purchase of additional equipment for our hog slaughterhouse.
By the way, we are happy to inform you that for the past nine months of the year, there had been no cases of rabies. Though there were a number of incidences of dog and cat bites, but there were no rabies cases. This is due to the massive anti-rabies vaccination we are conducting down to the barangay level.
Meanwhile, to further boost the growth of the so-called small and medium enterprises in the city, work is now going-on for the construction of a mini-ice plant at Barangay Kalanganan 2 which will be used by fishpond owners and operators of the three barangays of Kalanganan. Funds for this project were provided by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Next to be established is the fish landing facility also at Barangay Kalanganan 2. This will complement the Mini Ice Plant as support infrastructure facility for fisherfolks
In order to meet the growing need for food supplies of our city’s growing population, the Department of Agriculture has approved the funding for a number of agri-based livelihood projects for our farmers and fisherfolks, particularly at Barangays Tamontaka 3, 4, 5 and Kalanganan 2.
The livelihood package will include provision of large animals (cattle and carabao) to farmers and fisherfolks as alternative source of livelihood and support our Halal Slaughterhouse for its livestock requirements
Parallel to this, multi-purpose dryer pavements will be put up at Barangay Tamontaka 2 and 4.
The funds for these projects will be downloaded before the end of the month.
By the first quarter of 2017, the national government will be downloading the funds for the establishment of a halal feedmill for livestocks and aquaculture. The halal feedmill be located at Barangay Poblacion 1.
Not only that, funding for an integrated approach to increase our food production consisting of vegetable production through the Gulayan sa Barangay, poultry and goat raising, and freshwater fishery have been approved by the national government, through the Department of Agriculture. We will be implementing these projects as soon as the funds are downloaded.
We know that there is still a lot of work ahead for us. This is in view of our steadily growing population and the rapid growth in the volume of new investments and expansion of economic activities in the city lately.
Just last month, a new mall has opened. This is aside from a number of fast-food establishments, beauty clinics and department stores that has opened.
These new business establishments have also resulted in the job generation and employment of some 1,300 of our residents.
The economic growth we are seeing and experiencing now is, I would say, just the tip of the iceberg.
In the months to come, more investors will be coming in. More tourists will be visiting Cotabato City.
WITH THESE DEVELOPMENTS, HOWEVER, WE ALSO EXPERIENCE HEAVIER TRAFFIC DUE TO THE INFLUX OF PEOPLE COMING IN THE CITY.
I HAVE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT OUR AMENDED TRAFFIC CODE WAS ALREADY APPROVED BY OUR CITY COUNCIL. WE HAVE STUDIED THIS CODE, ADDED SOME PROVISIONS THAT ARE APPLICABLE TO OUR PRESENT SITUATION, AND IMPROVED THOSE THAT CAN STILL BE IMPLEMENTED.
BUT EVEN BEFORE THIS, WE HAVE ALREADY EXERTED EFFORTS IN IMPLEMENTING EXISTING ORDINANCES TO EASE THE CONGESTION IN OUR STREETS ESPECIALLY DURING PEAK HOURS.
I HAVE PERSONALLY SUPERVISED THE STRICT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ONE LANE PARKING POLICY ON OUR CITY’S ONE WAY STREETS. I HAVE ALSO ORDERED THE OBSERVANCE OF THE TRUCK BAN DURING CERTAIN HOURS. OUR CITY’S SIDEWALKS HAVE ALSO BEEN CLEARED OF ILLEGAL VENDORS TO MAKE WAY FOR OUR PEDESTRIANS.
AND SO FAR, WITH THE CONSISTENT EFFORTS OF OUR TASK GROUPS AND TRAFFIC PERSONNEL, I CAN SAY THAT WE HAVE MADE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE.
BUT OF COURSE, AT THE BOTTOMLINE LIES THE TRUTH THAT THE PROBLEM ON TRAFFIC IS PARTLY DUE TO THE LACK OF DISCIPLINE OF OUR DRIVERS AND EVEN OUR COMMUTING PUBLIC. I HOPE THAT WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. EACH OF US HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT. YOUR CITY GOVERNMENT CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH. YOU ALSO MUST BE RESPONSIBLE DRIVERS AND COMMUTERS SO THAT WE CAN FURTHER IMPROVE OUR TRAFFIC PROBLEM.
ASIDE FROM THE HEAVIER TRAFFIC FLOW, we also expect some increase in the volume of crime incidence WITH OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
But due to the immediate preventive actions and alertness of our law enforcement units, especially the Cotabato City Police Office, and the active participation of our barangay officials thru their respective ronda patrols, we were able to avert attempts of some criminal elements, especially carnappers, holduppers, akyat bahay gangs, bukas kotse gangs, pickpockets and other similar criminals to have a heyday.
As a fast-growing urban center, we know that we will not be spared of these problems. But we were just one step ahead of these criminals and our law enforcers were prepared for their onslaught.
That is why we have posted a downtrend in our crime incidence.
The uptrend is only on the number of criminal elements either arrested or neutralized.
When I assumed the post of City Mayor, together with my sworn duty to uphold the law, I have made it my commitment to further intensify our campaign against all forms of criminalities in Cotabato City.
As a result, we now have zero incidence of motorcycle theft; zero incidence of snatching; zero incidence of hold-up; zero incidence of bukas-kotse; and, zero incidence of agaw cellphone.
This is aside from zero incidents of minors caught violating the curfew for minors.
It was only during the first 10 days of June that minors were caught violating the curfew. Since then, no more minors are out of their homes by 10 o’clock in the evening.
This was successfully done with the help of our Christian and Muslim religious leaders and the neighborhood organizations.
Records from the Cotabato City Police Office shows there was a very remarkable decrease in crime incidents from the period July 1 to November 6 this year.
There is a 21.28 percent decrease in the occurrence of shooting incidents as compared to the same period last year.
On the so-called 8 Focus Crimes, there was also a decrease of 15.18 percent as compared to the same period last year. These so-called Focus Crimes are murder, homicide, robbery, theft, carnapping, motorcycle theft, physical injury and rape.
Crimes against persons also decreased by 27.21 percent. From a total of 136 for the same period last year to 99 this year. Of the 99, sixty-eight are physical injuries.
On our campaign against illegal drugs, nearly P1-million worth of prohibited drugs was confiscated since July 1, 2016. Dozens of drug pushers and traffickers were either arrested or neutralized, and hundreds of drug users have voluntarily surrendered to the police.
THIS IS DUE TO THE JOINT PNP-LGU RONDA PATROLS THAT WE ARE CONDUCTING EVERY NIGHT. AS YOU MAY HAVE SEEN ON MY PERSONAL FACEBOOK PAGE, I USUALLY JOIN OUR CITY POLICE IN GOING AROUND THE CITY.
FOR THE SAKE OF MY FELLOW COTABATENIOS, MY SAFETY IS ONLY SECOND TO YOUR WELFARE. YOU ARE THE REASON I AM STANDING HERE TODAY AND FROM DAY ONE OF MY BEING YOUR VICE MAYOR, AND NOW AS YOUR CITY MAYOR, I HAVE MADE PROMISES THAT I INTENDED TO KEEP.
AND TODAY I CAN SAY THAT I HAVE FULFILLED MOST, IF NOT ALL OF THEM.
I know that our fight against all forms of criminalities, from simple pickpockets to holduppers, carnappers and illegal drug dealers is still a long way ahead.
But, as your City Mayor, I will do all to uphold the law and protect the residents and visitors of Cotabato City. There will be no compromise. There will be no soft-hands or kind-heartedness for these criminals. A criminal is a criminal, no matter how small or how big is the crime he has committed. Under the law, he has to be punished.
I won’t care if we have to build additional prison cells in order to accommodate all the criminals we will be arresting even if entails a lot of money to put up and maintain these detention cells. What is more important tom me is the safety, interest and welfare of the majority.
No amount of money can bring back to life the dead victims of these criminals.
No amount of money could restore the damaged lives of the families of the victims of these criminals, especially the victims of illegal drugs.
I will not hesitate to enforce the full force of the law, no matter who stands along the way.
I will see to it that no Cotabateño will be mistreated; no Cotabateño will be abused, either physically, emotionally or mentally; and, I will see to that the justice, equality, respect and human rights shall always be promoted, preserved and upheld.
To the criminals, I say: “The law may be harsh, but it is the law.” And, as your City Mayor, “I WILL BE UNFORGIVING AND TOUGH IN SEEING TO IT THAT THESE HARSH LAWS ARE ENFORCED AND FOLLOWED.”
Finally, I would like to inform everybody that we have already started he planned computerization of the entire operation of the City Government.
Under the plan, all operations of the city government, down to the barangay level, shall be computerized. From business permit and license, issuance of tax declaration, real property tax notices, health and sanitary clearances, payment of taxes and fees, including submission of reports and communications shall be IT-based.
Also included in the computerization plan are the tax mapping, building inspection, garbage collection, health and sanitation profile and monitoring, traffic management, security and disaster management and response.
This is an ambitious project but we could not do away with it. In the face of the growing global competition, we have to upgrade and modernize the way we do things in the City Government. This is now the trend and demand of the market and we have no choice but to respond to these market demands.
In closing, I would like to remind each and every official and employee of the City Government of Cotabato about our sworn duties and responsibilities as provided for under the Civil Service rules and the Constitution.
Parallel to this, I also would like to remind you about our mission. Our mission is to bring peace, development and prosperity to our city. It is also our mission to uphold social justice, harmony and equality among our people.
Thank you and wassalam!