Legacion delivers State of City Report

By Jason B. Neola


Mayor Nelson Legacion, in his second State of the City Report on Tuesday, Sept. 7, informed Nagueños how the city government of Naga in partnership with other public agencies and private groups fared during the first half of 2021.


He said that for the last six months, starting in middle of February, the alpha and beta variants of Covid19 started infecting city residents. “And just last month, tests made by the Philippine Genome Center showed the presence of the more contagious Delta variant as well, with four cases in Naga.”


The presence of the highly contagious types of Covid-19 virus fueled the second wave that resulted in 2,300 more cases in the city over the last six months alone, compared to only 700 when the city registered its first case in April 2020.


“The surge peaked on June 5, 2021 when we registered the highest single-day record of 75. The following week, the city’s 7-day average reached its highest point at 33,” Legacion said.


The mayor thanked the personnel of the city government and the barangays in the continuing battle against Covid-19. He said: “Thanks to the combined efforts of our frontliners – our health workers at the city and the barangay levels, uniformed personnel within city hall and the national government – and our partners, especially the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo and the local civil society – we succeeded in containing that wave of Covid.”


“But delta’s presence complicates our tasks,” he stressed. The mayor shared with his audience a study produced by the city’s analytics group showing that while the average number of cases have gone down by around 200 percent by the middle of July, ranging between 10-15 per day, it has begun to progressively rise, ranging from 17 as of Aug. 31 to as high as 24 on Sept. 5.


He said the city government is preparing for the worst. “Using available data from February to July, as well as studies from the UK and Europe, a do-nothing nightmare scenario can bring Covid cases in the thousands, with severe and critical cases (representing 2 to 2.5 percent of the total in Bicol) expected to reach several hundreds daily, which our hospitals – whose combined Covid beds are only around 230 – will not be able to handle,” he said.

STATE OF THE CITY Mayor Legacion delivers his second State of the City Report on Sept. 7 before the 13th Sangguniang Panlungsod regular session. Among the attendees were barangay officials, school presidents and administrators, personnel from uniformed services and officials and personnel of the city government. CEPPIO


Such situations, Legacion said, are already taking place in hard-hit cities like Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Metro Manila, where the delta variant is widespread.


He told his audience that he has already directed the City Health Office and the City Budget Office to “procure mechanical ventilators and other paraphernalia so that the city can convert at least five beds at the Our Lady of Lourdes into rooms with ICU capabilities. “We have also touched base with local oxygen suppliers to make sure that we have enough of this critical commodity,” he said.


He also shared to the public, Naga’s sad experience on IATF’s inaction on the local government units’ request to procure their own vaccines.


As of Sept. 6, the city government has vaccinated only 38,599 individuals classified as health frontliners, senior citizens, other vulnerable residents, and key workers in the economy.


“That number represents around 18 percent of our 2020 population of around 209,000, and is still a far cry from the 70 percent required. We could have done a lot more had the IATF allowed us to purchase our own vaccine supply. We have already set aside P63 million for the purpose, but for unknown reasons, the national government has largely prevented local governments from doing so,” he said.


The mayor decried the national government’s much-ballyhooed whole-of-society approach in battling the pandemic.


While saying that the city government will do everything within its powers to manage the continuing crisis to ensure that the best response is delivered on the ground, Legacion has called on the Nagueños to give their continuing cooperation, perseverance, discipline, and sense of responsibility to tide us over this pandemic.


Reviving the local economy


In response to the national government’s call to slowly reopen the economy, Legacion said the city implemented three new complementary programs that accelerated the process:


◘ The Business Stimulus Program that provided interest-free loans to various types of businesses in the city. The program has benefited 149 local businesses employing a total of 488 workers, extending to them a total of P9.3 million in loans.


◘ The Tabang Tugang Program aimed at displaced workers who wanted to establish online and offline livelihood ventures. The program provided a P5,000 interest-free loan to 69 beneficiaries with a combined amount of P210,000.


◘ The Community Employment Program that provided short-term 10-day work for a total of 2,932 beneficiaries.


Saying that the city government is already looking beyond Covid-19 to lay down the foundation for Naga’s sustained growth and development, he also reported some of the city government’s completed and ongoing high-impact projects.


Capping the mayor’s report was the summary of key accomplishments of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the various departments and offices of the city government.


His report which lasted for an hour was applauded 19 times by the audience. The event was streamed live via the city government Facebook page.