|MAKATI CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE Israel ‘Boyet’ Cruzado, a former professional basketball player, with his idol Rep. Manny Pacquiao. (Facebook Photo)/|
Cruzado said he will spell out his platform of government for Makati in the coming days in dialogues with his constituents. For one, he will press in Congress and other venues for the return of some 300 hectares of choice property in Fort Bonifacio to Makati because it is part of Makati and not Taguig City.
Mayor Peña delivered his first State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Makati Coliseum on Monday, October 12, before filing his COC for mayor.
In his speeched at the jampacked coliseum, Pena cited highlights of his young administration’s accomplishments during his first 100 days in office vowing to pursue ‘transparent and good governance’ with his ‘Bagong Makati’ reform team, and announced mayoralty bid sharing his future plans toward attaining ‘inclusive growth and development’.
Speaking before thousands of supporters, which included senior citizens, residents and officials from various barangays, city officials and other stakeholders of Makati, Peña underscored the tangible gains resulting from initial reform mechanisms he put in place immediately upon assuming office.
“In just three months, we were able to undertake reforms within the city government aimed to curb corruption at all levels and safeguard the city’s resources against abuse and misuse, so that our constituents can, at long last, fully enjoy all the benefits and privileges we can afford to provide them,” Peña said.
He also said his administration has not only continued the city’s famous social programs, but has been able to enhance and expand these further for the greater benefit of city residents.
“I believe that if the city’s resources were used properly and prudently, we could deliver more and better services to a greater number of beneficiaries,” he added.
The acting mayor noted a remarkable increase in the revenue collection of the city from business and realty taxes, which he said was a clear indication of the growing confidence of the business sector in the new city leadership. “It is highly probable that we will even surpass last year’s revenue collection and this year’s targets. We are heartened by the support and confidence shown by the business community,” Peña said.
Among the initial steps undertaken by the Peña administration was a review of the free cakes benefit under the senior citizens program of Makati, followed by the conduct of a transparent bidding process aided by modern technology through live TV coverage and online streaming.
“Today, our senior citizens celebrating their birthdays can enjoy tastier cakes with more variety of flavors, but at lesser cost to the city government, thanks to a very transparent and fair bidding process,” Peña said.
Aside from more delicious cakes, the city’s elderly also now enjoy personalized medical care through house-to-house visits being conducted by doctors from the Makati Health Department (MHD), and free delivery of vitamins and medicines to their homes so they no longer need to wait in line at designated pharmacy outlets.
The acting mayor also revealed his intention to increase the free medicines monthly allocation for each senior citizen from a half month to a full-month’s supply, especially of maintenance drugs.
Meanwhile, a recent audit on the BLU Card program for the elderly revealed the existence of ‘ghost senior citizens’ who have been receiving benefits, including semi-annual cash gifts, but could not be found at the given address.
“We are replicating the audit among city government employees also in order to weed out ‘ghosts’, particularly those who only show up to claim their salaries every 15th and 30th of each month at City Hall,” Peña said.
He said his administration fully supported the ATM payroll system for all city employees, including casuals, for their convenience and as a safety net against ‘ghost employees’.
The acting chief executive also took up the cudgels for city government employees by persistently appealing to the City Council until it finally gave in and approved the granting of their Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) bonus, equivalent to a month’s salary.
“It is a victory for all hardworking city government employees. Under my administration, they can rest assured that they will be treated fairly, and those who are qualified and deserving will be granted promotion or security of tenure as soon as possible,” Peña said.
Another added benefit he has in plan for employees, he said, was to secure universal health insurance package for each of them.
To alleviate the plight of relocated informal settlers in Calauan, Laguna, Peña has directed concerned city government agencies to intensify their assistance, especially on health care and livelihood. Recently, he visited the residents and donated 10 units of pedicab to selected families for their livelihood. He has also pushed for the prompt issuance of transfer certificates to the beneficiaries, and expressed his intention to double the size of the lots awarded so that large families can live in more comfort.
The acting mayor also reiterated his preference for in-city relocation of residents in so-called danger zones, vowing to seek an ideal site for them within the city where they can live in decent and humane conditions.
Peña also announced his plan for the city government to subsidize the tuition fees of student-residents who qualify for the Nursing course, and at the same time further raise the quality of public education in Makati.
To promote a more business-friendly environment for the city, Peña said he intended to professionalize the Makati Public Safety Department (MAPSA). “I would like to pursue the reformation of the entire MAPSA through intensified training and the rationalization of its plantilla, so that their functions will match their positions and be commensurate to their salaries,” he said.
“I wish to see MAPSA becoming a model of faithful and trustworthy public service, which can competently maintain peace and order throughout our city,” Peña said.
Peña concluded his report by calling on all sectors to join him in treading the straight and narrow path towards “Bagong Makati, where economic growth will have a meaningful impact on all, even on the poorest families, and where everyone will have their fair share of the city’s abundant resources through transparent and compassionate governance.”
After his SOCA, Peña joined members of his slate in a unity walk to the Comelec Office to file his candidacy for Mayor of Makati in the 2016 elections.