New Minglanilla mayor bares plans

·5 min read

CITYHOOD, a new municipal hall and the completion of a 100-hectare reclamation project are among the priorities of Mayor Rajiv Enad as he takes the helm in Minglanilla.

The neophyte mayor bared his priorities in his inaugural address at the Minglanilla Town Plaza on Thursday, June 30, 2022, during which he also said his administration would make history in education as well as make jobs available for senior citizens.

The 37-year-old lawyer said cityhood was his goal for the first class southern Cebu municipality as this would mean a bigger share in the country’s Internal Revenue Allotment, which would translate to more resources for public services.

Under Republic Act 9009, which amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991, a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has a locally generated average annual income of at least P100 million for the last two consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices, and either a contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers or a population of at least 150,000 inhabitants.

As of 2020, Minglanilla had a population of 151,002, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Last January, then municipal councilor Enad also told SunStar that the town’s annual income of P200 million to P400 million was more than enough for it to obtain cityhood status.

With this declaration, Minglanilla joins at least two other towns in Cebu bidding for cityhood: Consolacion and Liloan.

As for the 100-hectare Minglanilla Techno Business Park (Ming-Mori) reclamation project, which will host commercial, industrial, residential and recreational facilities, Enad said it would create jobs for at least 70,000 people.

Groundbreaking for the P20 billion park, which will have its own port facility, was held in October 2021. The park is targeted for completion in 2025.

The project is a partnership between the Municipality of Minglanilla and developer Ming-Mori Development Corp., of which Cebu Landmasters Inc. holds an 80 percent stake.

Enad said the town’s economic development would be driven foremost by this upcoming reclamation project, as well as by Minglanilla’s “existing international port.”

“We will undertake to obtain commerciality of our international port,” the mayor said.

He said the two projects would greatly increase Minglanilla’s local income and “exponentially expand the circulation of money, goods and services in our town.”

Enad also plans to build a new municipal hall.

“Over the past years, we have seen a rapid rise in our population, so much so that we cannot comfortably accommodate all the transacting public in our existing municipal hall. We will build a new government house,” he said.

Improving biz climate

To attract investors and locators, Enad said the municipal council would pass legislation to improve the business climate of Minglanilla.

Enad’s slate took all the slots in the May 9 elections, including the one for vice mayor, won by Elanito Peña, his predecessor; and for councilor in the municipal council.

Enad also said there would be “a new excellent land use policy” so that Minglanilla would succeed not by chance but “by deliberate and precise planning for progress.”

The town will strengthen its tourism industry, as Enad said there were many local establishments the town could be proud of.

The new mayor also promised to build top-notch sports facilities, starting with a rubberized track oval, soccer field, skate park and badminton courts, to “uplift the lives of our people of all ages.”

Alternate routes

In the area of traffic, Enad said he would explore the use of alternate routes or the construction of diversion roads to reduce the volume of vehicles using the town’s national highway.

He said this would entail the help of the representative of Cebu’s first district, Rhea Gullas.

To strike a balance between economic progress and environmental preservation, however, the new mayor announced a moratorium on the issuance of new permits for quarrying and ordered the close monitoring of existing quarry operators to ensure their compliance with environmental laws.

To ensure food security, Enad said the local government continues to aid farmers and fishermen by giving them equipment, seeds and fertilizers.

“Under this administration, we will give them more. We will also help them in their transportation from the mountainous barangays to the market,” he said.

Farmers would also be given a space in the market called a Bagsakan Center so they can reduce their dependence on middlemen.

What’s more, he said the town would allocate funds to help the agricultural sector innovate and update their methods so they will be competitive.

Other plans

In education, he said his administration would make history by allocating funds for scholarships for the first time.

The scholarships would be limited in the beginning to the top-performing students across the 19 barangays.

For underprivileged students, his administration would build a research and study center where they could get access to the Internet and educational materials for free.

As for the town’s senior citizens, they can expect not only an increase in their annual financial grant but also an economic empowerment program where certain establishments will be required to allocate a portion of their workforce, which have limited workloads and limited work hours, to senior citizens.

In the area of health, Enad said he would establish health units in the town’s remote areas and partner with the private sector to provide “regular and scheduled free laboratory and diagnostics.”

The son of a municipal employee and a teacher, Enad has already served the town for 18 years, starting as a Sangguniang Kabataan chairman before moving up to barangay councilor and municipal councilor, and now mayor.

The June 30 oath taking that preceded the inaugural ceremony was attended by all the newly elected officials of Minglanilla: Vice Mayor Peña and Councilors Jayr dela Calzada, Jenny Young, Jong Adlawan, Boyet Velez, Jennifer Lariosa, Prose Laput, Jerry Castañares and Jimmy Caumeran.

They were sworn into office by Judge Anacleto Debalucos, Enad said.

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