STRENGTHENING the tourism industry, providing more programs for the marginalized sector and easing business transactions in the City are Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s top priorities for 2020.
He said he wants to develop mountain barangays, which contain “a lot of possible tourist spots.”
With more tourist destinations on offer, the more income the City will generate, he said.
Labella said his administration will also build more medium-rise buildings to accommodate the homeless.
In the City’s 2020 annual budget, P230 million has been allocated for this purpose.
Labella also assured residents of more job opportunities once the SM-Ayala Consortium starts its development at the South Road Properties (SRP).
After the Cebu City Council granted the consortium its land development permit in November, the consortium will start its horizontal development, which includes the drainage system, construction of access roads and installation of underground power lines, in the first quarter of 2020.
The consortium will then proceed with site development that will include the construction of a convention center and a linear park in the second quarter as the land preparation is expected to be completed by that time.
The project is anticipated to generate around two million jobs in the next 20 years.
The City will also start building nutrition centers and finalize the Kausaban Nutrition Masterplan for around 190,000 public elementary school students in the city.
Farmers will be part of the program as the food to be used in the nutrition centers will come from them.
Starting in June, the City will start distributing free school supplies and uniforms and implement a feeding program for public elementary school students.
Unemployed residents from the city’s 80 barangays can also join the Cebu Business Concierge, a joint undertaking of the Cebu City Government and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) that will be launched this month.
The program, which aims to attract more investors to the city, will also include a training program for the jobless.
Also starting this month, business permits issued by the City will be valid for two years as part of promoting ease of doing business in the City.
He said the City also intends to further improve tax collection through massive tax profiling of all developments and projects.
Labella emphasized that the ease of doing business under his administration is a contributing factor to the progress of the city.
His counterpart in Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Junard Chan also promised to provide socialized housing that will be located in a four-hectare area in Sitio Toril, Barangay Canjulao.
He said the project will be implemented through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“This is all for the betterment of the city. It can boost our economy because our revenue and income will increase,” said Chan to Superbalita Cebu.
He said his “free service” will continue in various barangays, such as medical/dental check-ups, care providing medication, medical or legal consultations, saloon/ grooming services and pet care, among others.
The E-Library will continue to be available for free and will provide free paper and printing that will benefit students who can’t afford to pay for school projects or assignments.
He also announced that residents will benefit from completion of Phase 2 of the expansion of the Lapu-Lapu City Hospital.
On the other hand, the Lapu-Lapu City Government has partnered with CitiCore Summa Water to set up a desalination plant that will address the city’s water shortage.
In Mandaue City, Jonas Cortes wants to focus on strengthening the fire department.
Since most of the city’s emergency responders and equipment are in the city center, Cortes plans to divide the city into five clusters—upland area, coastal area, city center, Butuanon River, Mahiga Creek--and build fire stations in each cluster to enhance firefighting capabilities.
“We’re still looking at where to set up a fire station on the coast. It will most likely be in the reclaimed area in Barangay Labogon,” Cortes said in Cebuano.
Since Mandaue is already a highly urbanized city, he has provided the fire department with an aerial ladder that can reach up to 12 floors.
“We need an aerial ladder that can respond to fire alarms in high-rise buildings,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
As for Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, she hopes to start the new year on a good note by implementing more developments in the province.
Aside from the establishing the heritage park inside the Capitol compound, Garcia said her administration is currently studying various proposals, including terminating various deals entered into by her predecessor.
“We are in the process of finalizing the termination of this agreement between the Province of Cebu and Manila Water, which, from our investigation, showed that they have committed several violations in the six years that I was gone,” she said.
For 2020, Garcia hopes to establish water systems in some towns that will benefit far-flung barangays.
“I am looking forward in 2020 that our projects intended for all of our towns and cities, infrastructure projects like concreting of provincial roads, concreting of barangay roads, installation of level 3 water systems, putting up flood protection and control and the improvement of existing infrastructure in our LGUs (local government units) and barangays, will finally get off the ground. Hopefully, by second or third quarter of next year, people will already feel the difference. People will enjoy better roads and see water finally flowing into their own faucets. So that is what I’m looking forward to and changing the culture that I had encountered,” the governor said.
Garcia said she will continue to push English as the medium of instruction in all public and private schools to promote competitiveness among constituents.
“DepEd (Department of Education) will be a challenge, especially since I sincerely believe that the only way that we could hope to produce academically proficient or excellent students will be to stop confusing our studentry and focus on using English as a basic medium of instruction. That will be a challenge. I know that, but it will also be time to test the limits of local empowerment and local governance because although this may be a national policy, this policy is affecting our own students, our own constituents, and there’s always the general welfare that I must look after,” she said. (JJL, FVQ, KDF, ANV, RSR, JKV)