Septermber 21, 2012
2012 General Assembly Bulwagang Katipunan Caloocan City Hall, Caloocan City September 21, 2012
A State of the City Address
Atty. Enrico “Recom” Echiverri City Mayor
Honorable Councilors Representatives of the business sector, Non-government organizations, Members of our civil society, Officers of homeowners’ associations, People’s organizations, Parish Pastoral Councils, Honourable Barangay Officials, Our city government officials, Beloved citizens of Caloocan.
Barely eight years ago, I stood before the people of Caloocan for the first-time as City Mayor, and made a vow to turn this city around -- from darkness, crime, degradation and poverty – into progress, economic development, peace, growth and success. It has been eight years. And today, at the threshold of my last term in office, I stand before you with pride, because I can honestly say : WE DID IT!
Yes, we did it! But it hasn’t been that easy. I believe that it is ten times more challenging to govern the City of Caloocan than any of the key prosperous cities in the Philippines.
Why is that so? Allow me to lay before you the challenges we faced this year: As always, our big population remains a big challenge for us. In terms of population, Caloocan City is eight times the size of Naga City, and three times that of Makati and Marikina— which are the so-called key model cities in the country today. Hundreds of people, mostly from the lower economic spectrum, migrate to Caloocan City from the provinces every year. Thus, no matter how many schools, housing projects and facilities we set up, and no matter how fast our economy grew, there would always be more mouths to feed, more people who'll need jobs, and more people to take care of.
Secondly, we had to serve the people under the shadow of political maneuvers by those who seek to gain popularity points at our expense. But this, too, we have overcome. The Office of the Ombudsman has already dismissed several cases filed against us, and has proven once for all the integrity of our service to the people.
Thirdly, and if I may be allowed to refresh your memory, we had began in 2004 not just with an almost empty treasury but billions in obligation left behind by the previous administrations.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why it fills me with deep pride and honor to present to you my report on the state of our city today.
From the time of our previous assembly meeting in September 2011 to the present, Caloocan City has received not just one, not just two, but SEVEN awards and citations.
First, Caloocan was given the Bronze Award for the Seal of Good Housekeeping by the DILG……. This is a major breakthrough award in excellence in governance, and a legacy by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo. We are proud of this recognition, because it highlights our excellent performance in planning, sound fiscal management, values transparency and accountability. Out of 17 municipalities in Metro Manila, only four have been chosen for this recognition. The good news is, Caloocan is now vying for the Silver Award, along with only two other cities – Marikina and Makati. Again, if I may say so, Makati and Marikina are only one-third the size of Caloocan. Harinawa ay makuha nga natin ang Silver Award na ito, at balita ko ay number one daw tayo sa ranking. Palakpakan natin ang Caloocan!
Second, we garnered an excellent rating in our compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act….. Caloocan now has its own Citizens’ Charter, which symbolizes our sincerity and transparency in serving the people.
I am also proud to announce in advance that we are up for another major award this year --- The Gawad Pamana ng Lahi Award for exemplary performance in local governance. This is another recognition based on performance, transparency and accountability.
Fourth, during the recent National Disaster Consciousness Month, Caloocan was given a perfect score in Disaster Risk-Reduction Management and granted the Seal of Disaster Preparedness by the DILG……. Yes, Caloocan is disaster-ready. For the past two years we have invested heavily in the necessary vehicles, equipment and gadgets to secure the lives of our citizens. We have boomtrucks, dumptrucks, rescue boats, ambulances, firetrucks, backhoes, aluminum vans, payloaders, generators, and excavators to name just a few. All in all, our investment in calamity-related vehicles, equipment and facilities amount to almost 150 million. It is worthy to note moreover, that in the recent flood calamities, many have observed that among all the cities in Metro Manila, the floodwaters receded faster in Caloocan. Despite being surrounded by flood-prone areas in the Camanava, our well-maintained drainage system stood up to the test. As of this date, we have already constructed and repaired a total of 141 kilometers of drainage canals all over the city.
Our fifth award was won by our Caloocan Rescue Team who got 2nd Place in the Inter-LGU Fire and Rescue Combat Challenge held in Pasig last year.
Sixth, Caloocan City was nominated by Meralco for the Luminary Award among LGUs for having an excellent payment record. It may be recalled that when I stepped in in July 2004, the city owed Meralco 32.8 million pesos in electricity bills. We paid this huge debt, along with billions in other debts incurred by the previous leaderships. As a result, we were rewarded with a four million peso refund by Meralco, which is now being offset in our Meralco bills.
And lastly, we were recognized as the Best in Infant and Child Feeding Initiatives in the NCR by the National Nutrition Council.
In the area of financial management, we have more great news.
Because of the fiscal reforms we have initiated since 2004, for the year 2012 alone we have already achieved a total gross income of P2.57-billion as of this quarter. Our regular revenues is at 98% of our total city income. This says a lot about the stability and reliability of our income-generating operations, as compared to only 87% average of other highly urbanized cities. While most urban cities have an average of 53% dependency on the IRA or Internal Revenue allotment share, Caloocan depends less on the IRA --- only 45%.
Unlike in the previous decade, we can now boast of a vibrant business sector in Caloocan. Our business tax and fee collection has increased by 149 percent since 2004. In fact, our collection this year from January to August is the highest ever recorded by the city. We now have 18,000 registered businesses, from only 8,000 in 2004. Our reputation as one of the most “business-friendly” cities in the country still stands today, and we still rank second among those with the least number of procedures, and the third fastest in processing business applications.
Likewise, we have realized an increase in income from real property tax of almost 30% since last year.
If there would be an award for the most number of infrastructure ever built by a city in the least period of time, I am sure Caloocan City would also get that recognition. As of today, we have constructed a total of 190 kilometers of roads (in contrast to only 30 kilometers completed in 9 years by the previous administration), 65 kilometers of pathwalks, 141 kilometers of drainage, 886 lamp posts, 56 water pumps, deepwells and shallow wells, school comfort rooms and fences and a lot more public buildings and facilities. There is now a multipurpose facility in almost all of our 188 barangays. As a testament to the usefulness and necessity of these multi-purpose facilities, even our political critics themselves – who criticize these facilities - are using them for their own personal activities.
As of today, we have a total of 375 classrooms already constructed and currently ongoing construction (as compared to only 34 classrooms constructed by the previous administration). At the beginning of my term in 2004, the classroom to student ratio was 1:85. Now, despite the continuous increase in the number of students every year, we were still able to bring this ratio down to 1:55. With the implementation of the K12 program, more classrooms would be needed, and I promise that before the end of my term, we shall be constructing 300 more classrooms.
Our answer to the increasing cost of college education is to continuously upgrade low-cost education through our University of Caloocan City or UCC. From 4,000 students in 2004, our UCC enrollees have ballooned to 12,000 today. Kung wala po ang UCC, naniniwala akong marami sa ating mga kababayan sa Caloocan ang hindi makakatuntong sa kolehiyo. Contrary to what is expected of low-cost education, our UCC graduates continue to rank high in professional exams. This is why, before the end of my term, we shall be building a new campus for UCC, both in the North and South Caloocan.
Apart from access to education, we also focused on access to health care. This year alone, we have already purchased 32 million pesos worth of equipment for our PDMMC Hospital, which has doubled or even tripled its outpatient services. Before my term ends, we shall be able to see the construction of a new hospital in North Caloocan. The people had requested for this, and now your wish shall be granted.
Eight years ago, I have vowed to empower the people, and increase their participation in decision-making. Today, our private citizens are very much a part of our major activities, such as in this city development council assembly, the City Health Board, the City School Board, the Peace and Order Council, the Urban Poor and Housing Councils, and other councils and committees.
The general welfare of the citizenry remains my primary concern. Dapat po may katibayan ang mga nagsasabi na ang taong-bayan ang nangunguna sa kanilang mga programa. For us, this is evident in our allocation of resources for Gender and Development programs through our frontline services, which exceeded the 5% requirement by Republic Act 7192. Moreover, the concerns of our senior citizens are addressed effectively through our Office of Senior Citizens Affairs in accordance with Republic Act 9257.
Part and parcel of the City Investment Plan for Health are appropriations for monitoring the incidence of AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as mandated by Republic Act 8504. Equivalent to one percent of the IRA was likewise appropriated to strengthen and implement programs for the Local Council for the Protection of Children, in compliance with Republic Act 9444.
We have brought city hall closer to the people through our CHOW program. CHOW stands for City Hall on Wheels. When people are not able to go to city hall, we bring our various services right to your barangays. These services include our mobile clinics, free medical and dental consultations, employment assistance, vocational and technical training, free legal services, assistance to our senior citizens including a monthly 500-peso stipend for indigent elders, sports clinics, de-clogging of canals, feeding programs and urban gardening. We continue to support the National Government’s implementation of the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as a major partner, and for this year alone we are targeting a total of 29,182 families in 158 barangays.
Thus far, we have already conducted 465 medical and dental missions all over the city. My administration continues to maintain 205 daycare centers located in 109 barangays catering to almost 20,000 children. This is apart from our three outreach centers namely, Social Development Center, Tahanang Mapagpala, and Yakap Bata Holding Center. And I am happy to announce that our Yakap Bata Holding Center will be having a new building by the end of this year.
As of last year, we have already issued a total of 73,223 Philhealth cards to indigent families, with premiums being paid by the city government.
Moreover, our quarterly Mobile Passporting services has released more than 9,000 passports to date, which had had a great impact in the lives of our overseas workers.
In February this year, we solemnized the wedding of 1,500 couples, resulting in a total of 11,000 couples benefitting from our free Kasalang Bayan. Caloocan City remains to be the record holder for the biggest number of free wedding beneficiaries in the entire country. Our Islam Mass wedding is likewise the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Our city animal pound, the very first ever established in Caloocan, was cited by the Bureau of Animal Industry for being clean and conforming to the standards of animal welfare. We continue to conduct regular anti-rabies vaccination programs where, unlike other cities, the vaccines are fully supplied by the city government and not the national government.
Our housing program continues to benefit more of our poor constituents. The lives of some 8,767 families from the marginalized sector have been transformed through our socialized housing projects. We have a total of 68 CMP projects both in South and North Caloocan. We also continue to support the Gawad Kalinga as a GK Partner, as well as the Angkop Foundation by helping them avail of land and other infrastructure support.
Employment for our people also remained a major concern for my administration. We continue to generate employment through our record-breaking mega job fairs. Last year alone, we have assisted 13,610 job applicants and 2,133 summer job students. Our community livelihood programs benefitted a total of 28,000 people in 2011.
We cannot belittle the impact of all these programs in the lives of many people. These are programs that may seem irrelevant for the rich and those who criticize in the comfort of their luxuries. But for the ordinary resident of Caloocan, what Recom has done for them means a lot and will never be forgotten.
Clearly, development is evident in many places in Caloocan today. Since 2004, the small-scale businesses that you used to see have been replaced by big commercial establishments. There are many new industrial activities that have sprang up in almost all of the city’s 16 zones.
If we are to analyze it, Caloocan is clearly in an upswing, despite the odds. Sa wakas ay dumating na nga ang umaga sa Caloocan. The only question that remains now is – Do we want this momentum of growth and progress to continue?
The decision is yours.
Maraming Salamat. Mabuhay ang Caloocan!
October 30, 2012
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Yes, We can! Let Caloocan Shine!
May 18, 2012
CALOOCAN City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri has ordered the thorough inspection of all local water refilling stations as a means of ensuring the cleanliness of its products.
Echiverri issued the directive following the release of a study by the Department of Health (DOH) saying that some “purified” water being sold in Metro Manila were tainted and are potentially harmful to a person’s health.
Among those to be checked by the soon-to-be formed inspection team are the overall cleanliness of the water refilling stations, the presence of proper facilities and apparatus in purifying water and the cleanliness of water bottles and containers.
Businessmen who will be caught with violations will be given a warning so they may put everything in order with their water refilling stations. On the second offense, they will be meted with the appropriate punishment under the law.
Echiverri told residents to purchase purified water only from licensed establishments as a way to guarantee that the water is safe to drink.
Echiverri, for his part, appealed to owners of water refilling stations to ensure the cleanliness of their water products, noting that the health of consumers is at stake.
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