MAYOR ANEW   Sara spices SOCA with an eye for re-election

No doubt about it this time. Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is running for re-election as city mayor in the May 2019 polls.

Mayor Sara sprung this surprise in the midst of 2nd State of the City Address (Soca) on Tuesday at the Sangguniang Panglungsod Session Hall, even as  highlighted the accomplishments of the priority projects identified in the administration’s Byaheng Do30 program.

Dressed in the  rose-pink colored uniform of a city employee, the feisty lady mayor gave an update on the status of the projects before members of city council headed by Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag and the 18 city councilors.

Also in attendance were city department heads, regional directors of national agencies, military and police officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and barangay officials.

One by one, Mayor Sara reported on the10 priority areas with at least 30 banner project areas of concerns of her government such as peace and order, education, health, poverty alleviation and social services, infrastructure development, solid waste management and environment, agriculture, investment and tourism, transportation planning and traffic management and disaster risk reduction and mitigation.

In her speech, Mayor Sara had put this vision as a personal marching order – “I want our constituents to have gainful employment, decent housing, educated and healthy children, able to eat three meals a day, and to be safe and secure in their daily activities.”

Among the highlights of Byaheng DO30 is the accomplishment in education, such as the Pagbabago Project on Education campaign for poorest and underprivileged elementary pupils to make education their way out of poverty, expanded the scholarship platforms under the Educational Benefit System Unit (“EBSU”), constructed 116 classrooms across all levels and sites, successfully hosted the Davao Regional Athletic Association (“DAVRAA”) attended by 7,300 athletes.

According to Duterte-Carpio, the City Government has allotted 500 Million Pesos for the Calendar Year 2018 from the Special Education Fund for the key areas of School Supervision, Public Education including construction of classrooms and other infrastructure projects, Manpower Development and Sports Development.

“Compared to the years 2016 and 2017, you could see an upward trend in the allocations to the Special Education Fund from 419.59 M in 2016, to 541.69 M in 2017 to 675.36 M in 2018,” said Duterte-Carpio.

Duterte-Carpio mentioned that under the Pagbabago Project’s other component is focused on women’s reproductive health and well-being.

“The project aims to educate child-bearing women of the current available birth control methods and how can they access them. Unplanned number of 4 children will aggravate the status of families already living in poverty and the idea there is simple—plan so that each family will only have enough children that the parents could afford sending to school, feeding, and providing with basic needs,” she said.

Currently, the Davao City has a 14 newly-constructed Barangay Health Stations, 9 newly-renovated BHSs, and 21 are still in the construction and renovation phase.

The Marilog District Infirmary has been renovated while the Paquibato District Hospital is still being renovated.

“I have instructed our City Health Officer to make a thorough inventory of the existing health facilities and their staffing so as to address their issues properly. The idea is to make the health services reachable by EACH Dabawenyo, no matter how far-flung they may be located,” said Duterte-Carpio.

In the Soca, the city achieved a significant increased in employment and job opportunities for  the last 2 years.

Around 140 thousand job vacancies were made open by our various employment sectors in the last 2 years but only around 18 percent were filled by our jobhunters, which translates to around 25 thousand jobs.

“These numbers are good but we can still do more, we still need to equip our jobseekers with capacities and skills. Equipping our future workforce with skills is a collaborative effort among the public, private and the academic sectors. The city government is always open to partner with the national agencies to ensure that the Dabawenyos are gainfully employed.” She added.

She also announced the finalization of a study called Infrastructure Modernization for Davao or “IM4Dvo” that spelled out priority infrastructure projects the city should undertake from 2018 up to 2045 in order to achieve a sound and sustainable city.

“IM4Dvo will guide us in our pursuit for a better city for all. The big-ticket projects listed in the final report include the Extension of the Diversion Road, the Davao River Boulevard, the Talomo Viaduct, the extension of the Coastal Road, the Bunawan-Buhangin Road, and the Davao-Samal connector bridge or tunnel,” she said.

Duterte- Carpio said that these projects are subject for consideration of the appropriate authorities and the subsequent budget allocation.

The city government is looking into improving garbage collection processes whereby collection of properly segregated garbage which will be strictly implemented following a fixed schedule based on categorization and utilizing specific collection vehicles for the purpose.

“Currently, we are finalizing the purchase of the proposed site in Biao Escuela and awaiting the signing of the Agent Agreement between the Department of Finance, and the Japanese government to formally start the implementation of the project,” said Duterte-Carpio.

She also announced the Office of the City Agriculturist in coordination with various stakeholders is coming up with an Agricultural Development Master Plan.

Duterte- Carpio said the plan shall direct the continued conservation, growth, and development of agriculture within the City’s diverse land use and development context and raise the public profile of agriculture in order to promote the importance of agricultural stewardship and the protection of heritage farmland. This plan is essential as agriculture remains the largest economic sector in the City.

The plan will be completed this year, the lady mayor added.

The lady mayor reported that the Comprehensive Transport and Management Plan is still on-going with the aim of implementing the most viable mass public transport system and public transport routes for the city.

Under the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund Investment Plan, Duterte-Carpio said that the City Government of Davao will construct a Disaster Evacuation Center in the 2nd District to complement the one being built in Los Amigos that is now in its 60% completion.

“We are also constructing a warehouse in compliance of the requirement of a safe storage facility that will preposition all goods in identified distribution areas, “she said.

Mayor Carpio thanked and commended the guardians of the city’s safety and security for their continuing vigilance and sustained effectiveness in preventing and controlling the persistent threats of criminality, terrorism and insurgency.

“They are the men and women who always lose sleep so that soundly, we can,” she added.

Duterte-Carpio, meanwhile said that she would run again as mayor of Davao City in the May 2019 polls.