BAPTISM OF FIRE. The city mayor on his first 100 days. CEPPIO
NAGA CITY --- Saying that he spent his first 100 days as city mayor to network with functionaries of the national government and the private sector to secure funding for various projects he has envisioned to realize, City Mayor Nelson Legacion said his administration has first and foremost crafted a single and unified development agenda where both the executive and legislative departments at city hall worked together to define what needs to be done, as well as the policies needed to make them happen.
Yesterday, during the regular session of the Sanggunaing Panlungsod which was moved from the usual schedule set for every Tuesday of the week to accommodate the city mayor’s report, Legacion summed up his first 100 days in office while reporting the major initiatives that have been done to pave the way for the rest of his first term as the city chief executive.
He said that the strategy for his development agenda is: setting an environment where business, investments and tourism will thrive in a manner that respects our natural ecosystem, managed under a regime of transparency, participation and good governance, with the fruits of growth and development channeled to programs and projects beneficial top present and future generations of Nagueños.
“We finally resolved an urgent problem bedeviling the city – the 60-year old dumpsite in Balatas,” the mayor said. “We thank former Mayor John Bongat for initiating development of the new sanitary landfill at San Isidro, which the Sanggunian under my leadership greenlighted two years ago,“ he said.
And he continued: “I made sure that it will be operational during my first 100 days as mayor. On my 45th day in office, we stopped dumping at Balatas and shifted our operations to San Isidro. As a result, we have eliminated the long-standing unbearable stench that has come to define the environmental problems facing our city. Of course, there are problems associated with the transfer to San Isidro, but closing Balatas was a proverbial “giant leap” for our solid waste concerns.”
Mayor Legacion also underscored that he has decisively addressed a critical weakness that has bedeviled priority city government projects, especially in regard to Right-of-Way (ROW) issues.
“Right off the bat, we hired a new legal team that has, on top of its regular mandate, handled the negotiation of ROW issues in favor of the city. Proof of its success is that in just two months, we have completed the acquisition of the 2-hectare Palmera II Village project in Cararayan which has been pending for the last two years.”
He said this ROW team is playing a critical role in negotiating right-of-way for priority infrastructure projects identified by the city government, which were recently approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod in the form of an updated Local Development Investment Program (LDIP) and the Annual Investment Program (AIP) for 2020. These include the long-delayed Calauag-San Felipe and the Balatas-Naga City Science High School road links that form part of our Circumferential Road 2 (C-2) network, as well as the Almeda-Mabulo Bypass Road that seeks to reduce congestion at the Almeda-Roxas Avenue intersection.
Moving forward, the city mayor reported that his team at city hall has completed substantial works on the following major initiatives:
• Completion of the long-delayed Calauag-San Felipe Road on which significant progress has been made the past three months in the negotiation with lot owners and the necessary court actions filed.
• Revival of the dormant Balatas-NCSHS Road project on which, thru initial exploratory talks with land owners, one agreed to donate the required road right of way while another agreed to offset his land value against future tax payments easing the burden on city coffers.
• Opening of the Almeda-Mabolo By-Pass Road to decongest Roxas Avenue and open a new growth corridor on which exploratory negotiations are on-going.
• Establishment of a People’s Park and a connecting Esplanade where Nagueños can spend quality time with family and friends amidst refreshing green spaces, attractive parks with a variety of recreational activities including distinctive rides, on which exploratory talks with owners of the probable site had been made.
• Establishment of Decentralized Services Sites in (a) Bgy. Sta. Cruz where a new police substation, a new City Health Office II (originally intended along Almeda Highway), a satellite fire station, a satellite market, a new public high school, and green parks will be set up; (b) Bgy. Balatas-Site 1 where the City Agriculture Office-Urban Agriculture Unit, the public safety and resiliency center, the provincial office of the DICT, a satellite base for the BFP, and the headquarters of the Naga City PNP will rise; (c) Bgy. Balatas-Site II where the new Naga City Hospital and its Emergency Medical Service and the new Balatas High School will rise, and (d) Bgy. Calauag along the CLUPA-San Felipe Road where another national high school and police substation will be set up.
• Acquisition of resettlement sites for urban poor families with site identification and preliminary negotiation with land owners on-going in Bgys. Pacol, Cararayan, Concepcion Pequeña, Mabolo, among others.
• Construction and operation of a 5,000-seat convention center to position the city for national conventions, exhibits and trade fairs with a 3-hectare site already offered for donation by a property owner. This project will attract more events and more visitors to the city bringing in more entrepreneurial opportunities for Nagaueños.
• Establishment of an ecopark in Mt. Isarog as an additional amenity to visitors of Malabsay falls and to mountaineers and explorers of our tropical forest, with the Department of Tourism already expressing keen interest in supporting the project. Again, more visitors translates to more livelihood for Nagueños.
• Opening of a new national high school in Bgy. San Isidro, another high school in Bgy. Panicuason, and a new elementary school in Sitio Yabo, Bgy Carolina to ease the long and arduous trek of school children from their homes, and to encourage them to continue on to high school. Indeed, we are projecting at least one new public school every year for the next three years.
• Establishment of a new public cemetery, in Bgy. Balatas or neighboring Cararayan, with identification of land owners on-going. In the long-term, we may establish more than one cemetery in keeping with our policy to bring services closer to where they are needed, and decentralize as well foot and vehicular traffic associated with burial and Undas observance.
• Rehabilitation of the Naga City Public Market although the final configuration of the project is awaiting technical recommendations of our engineers.
• Redevelopment of key public spaces in the urban core one of which, the improvement of Plaza Rizal with installation of a dancing fountain, is already undergoing procurement process. Henceforth, city infrastructures, aside from their utilitarian functions, shall be tools for elevating urban aesthetics and providing space for greeneries. Also included will be the re-establishment and improvement of sidewalks and the asphalt overlay of urban roads to make them safe and convenient for walking and clear for vehicles.