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First 100 Days Report

When I was told that we had to prepare for a first one hundred days speech, the first question I asked was “do we have to give one?”

It was not that we had nothing to show or nothing to say, but my thinking was more along the lines of – why can’t we just keep on working? To my mind (and I could be wrong here), having to prepare for today, having to prepare for a speech was a momentary distraction.

I’m not a big fan of fanfare. Fanfare should be reserved for events such as the Bangus Festival or our city fiesta. Self-aggrandizement – that’s not in my vocabulary. I wanted today to be as simple as possible.

I do not like to present government projects that are being built as if they came from own pocket because they are not – they are funded by the people, and so they are owned by the people.

I am nothing more than an enabler – to make sure that things are planned properly, executed correctly, and evaluated accordingly.

I see myself as nothing more than a servant to the public, hired by the people by election, and tasked to do what is in accordance with law.

President Duterte said it best, public officials are “not special”, they are simply “working for the people”. My mission is to produce results that bring about great positive change to our city. But if I had my way, I would like to do it quietly, even invisibly.

The concept of governance to my mind is simple – just give it your best, and that means to do things with sincerity, integrity, and humility. In the process of doing your job, accept that some people may like you and appreciate what you do; some people may not and continue to be critical. Regardless, as a public servant, you have to serve them all, because that is the mandate.

Therefore, I stand before you as an equal, and to present the results of our first one hundred days, and the people responsible for achieving them.
It is important that I mention this because they are the ones who must be recognized, and they are the ones that deserve your applause.

In the aspect of cleanliness and upkeep of the city, I am happy to report that even prior to President Duterte’s declaration to clear public roads from obstacles and impediments, Dagupan City already commenced its cleaning and clearing operations, specifically in Galvan Street and in the Magsaysay Fish Market.

Ipinagbabawal na po ang epal sa Dagupan. All political tarpaulins (pre and post-election) have been removed by the City Engineering Office; permits and licenses issued by the city now only carry our city’s name and seal, as it should be.

Tondaligan Beach has been put to order, its shoreline cleaned of waste and garbage, its existing sheds standardized and uniformed, thanks to the leadership of Jhun Cadiz and his team.

The Japanese Garden and the city’s welcome arches, after years of neglect, were recently power-washed through the efforts of Roland Chua, Mario Lim, Bunbing Yap, and the other members of the Panda Volunteer Fire Brigade in cooperation with Solomon Mejia and his team.

These initiatives would not have been possible if not for the hundreds of Dagupeños who decided to share in this responsibility – in particular, the men and women of the Waste Management Division, city hall volunteers, our friends from the Family Action of St. Therese (FAST), JCI, and the Magic Group of Companies.

All of them are the ones that deserve recognition and applause. Imagine what can be accomplished when government and the citizens of our city collaborate.

The Department of Interior and Local Government after more than two months of road clearing and sidewalk recovery operations, gave Dagupan City a 95% grade of accomplishment.

This would not have been possible if not for the efforts of the Public Order and Safety Office led by RobRob Erfe-Mejia, our Anti-Hawking Task Force led by Michael Hernando, Dagupan City Police headed by Lt. Col. Jun Mangalen, the barangay officials, and the City Engineering Office led by Nancy Nazareno.

Please put your hands together for these public servants.

Those who were affected by the road clearing operations must be given credit too. When I asked RobRob and Bugoy if there was much resistance from who were asked to comply, they said surprisingly most of those affected understood what the president wanted accomplished. Sa tamang pakikiusap at sa tamang impelementasyon, ang imposible nagiging posible.

Let me stress however that the deadline set by the DILG is not a reason for us to stop our operations. We should build on what we have accomplished, and there must be constant monitoring by the POSO and the Anti-Hawking Task Force.

The open dumpsite in Bonuan continues to be a pressing issue. If we are to analyze it fully, it was really an ignorance problem. At least now we can say that Teddy Villamil and the Waste Management Division are focused on trying to resolve it. Not only do we have an eco-park now in the adjacent area, but barangays are being asked to segregate their waste, recover their MRFs, boats are being procured to service the island barangays, and one third of the dumpsite’s waste, which is adjacent to the beach, will soon be hauled out to a sanitary landfill. At least now there is a plan, that something is being done, and the issue no longer being ignored.

Market collection from July 1 to September 30 of this year increased by PhP 10.1 million compared to the same time period last year. Local revenue generation is always a crucial metric of how a city is performing. Credit must be given to Aguedo Sta. Maria and the Market Division team for this accomplishment.

Providing job opportunities and sustainable livelihood is something that we must also focus on. Thus far, because of the efforts of Joy Siapno and PESO Dagupan, we have successfully collaborated with SM, Sutherland, TESDA, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology in establishing job fairs and training events.

Our scholarship program has also been standardized, to remove politics from the equation.

Our goal was to award scholarships to students because they deserve it on account of merit, and not because they are favored on account of politics.
Lenny De Venecia, the City Mayor’s Office, with volunteers from JCI Dagupan Inc. and JCI Dagupan Bangus set the criteria for qualification, ran the qualification exams, and will soon conduct the final screenings to determine the 1500 or so scholars of the city.

In the aspect of youth and sports, credit must be given to Carlos Fernandez, Alfie Fernandez, Dr. Cicel Reyna, Karen Esguerra, Jon Cancino, Perry Fernandez, and Lawrence Najera for taking the responsibility of fulfilling the duties of the Dagupan City Sports Commission. But ultimately, it is our student athletes, along with their parents and family, who should be commended for putting in the time and effort to be the best they can be, to compete in events representing not just their alma mater but also their city. Rest assured, your city government will continue to be supportive of our student athletes.

President Ramon Magsaysay once said that “those who have less in life, must have more in law”. Leila Natividad and the City Social Welfare office continue to respond to the immediate needs of our less fortunate constituents, and even those who are affected by disasters. Upon inspection of our Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center (STAC), where children (and adults) with disabilities get help and treatment, I came to discover its dilapidated state. The Social Welfare offices also left much to be desired. In an effort to give better social services, the City Planning Office led by J.L. Fernandez and our team of architects, are in the beginning stages of conceptualizing a new social welfare building that will house a state-of-the-art STAC. Remember that therapy may be their only chance at a normal life, and they should not be deprived of this.

I would also like to recognize our City Agriculture Office, headed by Emma Molina, and our Bantay Ilog Team led by Jessie Doria, as they have the unenviable task of clearing our rivers of illegal fish pens. Dura lex sed lex – the law may be harsh, but it is the law. Based on data provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, our rivers need help. If we do not act now, sooner than later, the water quality of our rivers will not be viable for any kind of aquaculture. I thank the barangay officials and the City Agriculture Office for recently addressing this problem in a forum with the DENR.

We are counting on Rose Teng-Mejia and the City Tourism Office to revive our river cruise, as well as the rehabilitation of our docking area adjacent to San Marino in Bonuan Gueset. Hopefully, we will be able to re-launch our river cruise before year-end.

Steps have been taken to prevent violence against women and children. The recent launch of the Pink Crusaders led by Dr. Wyndy Balingit-Bernardo, the DepEd, the PNP, Liwawa ed Asinan, the Association of Private Schools, the City Social Welfare Office, and other groups hopes to create more awareness and provide an avenue for victims to report incidents wherein they feel secure and protected.

Credible, accurate, and objective information is hard to come by nowadays, but because of the Public Information Office, we are able to provide this to our constituents through social media, thanks to Ging Cardinoza and his team.

The PARMC and the CDRRMC continue to gather relevant data and conduct emergency response respectively, and their contribution is invaluable to the general population as a whole. Melykhen Bauzon and Ronald De Guzman must be recognized for their efforts. We have a commitment to augment their monitoring and rescue equipment.

Our sanggunian deserves recognition as well. Vice Mayor Bryan Kua and the city councilors have expressed their intent to support our reform agenda through legislation. Today they will be participating in the Local Development Council and soon will be deliberating on our proposed budget for 2020.

Flooding continues to be our most pressing problem. The topographic survey that should be the basis of all flood mitigation projects will soon be finished. I thank the men and women of the Flood Mitigation Commission, led by Joseph Lo, for volunteering, at no expense to the city government, their time and expertise, to once and for all document and implement our long term strategic plan to solve our flooding problem.

Thank you as well to our Congressman, Toff De Venecia, for being here today, and for your commitment of support, cooperation, and alignment of the city’s flood mitigation efforts with your priority projects here in Dagupan City. We wish you an advanced happy birthday.

Along our first 100 days, we have reached out to friends and fellow government officials on the national and international level, and sought their assistance in more ways than one.

I am filled with gratitude that Mr. James Dy and the Filipino-Chinese community for donating seven motorcycles today to augment the transportation of the Dagupan City Police Force.

I am grateful to Secretary Mark Villar of the DPWH for responding promptly to our request for a declogging equipment which led to the opening of more than 200 manholes and the subsequent cleaning of our drainages along eleven thoroughfares in the downtown area.

I am appreciative of Mayor Rich Tran of Milpitas for expressing his intent to renew our sisterhood city relations, and lay the foundation for greater collaboration economically, intellectually, and culturally.

I am thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bong Go, with the assistance of Ralph Du, for the honor of representing the Philippines as an official delegate to the president’s state visit to Russia, and the invaluable opportunity to seek the advice and help of various cabinet secretaries regarding our pertinent issues here in Dagupan.

I am grateful for the advice and assistance of Allan Dale Zarate, Vlad Mata, Terence Marata, Mike Datario, Malu Vargas, Red Erfe-Mejia, Robert Erfe-Mejia, and Beep Tan – they have contributed greatly to what has been accomplished in the first one hundred days.

I would like to apologize if there are some names or groups that have been helping our city that I have neglected to mention. Please know that this is not deliberate on my part, and that I am equally thankful and grateful for your efforts.

By no stretch of the imagination are we done. We are just getting started. All cities are continuing works of progress. In other words, the work is never done, but this is not a reason to keep us from marching forward.

Having said that, I for one continue to believe in the impact of the individual. In a world of billions of people, I am amazed by the difference that one human being can make. We cannot think of independence and freedom without Rizal or Bonifacio; of computers without Bill Gates or Steve Jobs; of peaceful resistance without Gandhi or Mandela; or of art and paintings without DaVinci, Luna, or Edades.

Think of their incredible contributions.

The American Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

This I already know to be true, the people I mentioned today are living examples of that.

The next step is to get more people involved, to get more people to realize that we all must share in the responsibility that is Dagupan. Just imagine how much more we can accomplish. So let us continue to be selfless and shun politics as an impediment to progress; that through God’s divine grace we receive the strength to carry each other’s burdens; and through our collective labor, be able to continue our precious journey towards a better day for all Dagupeños.