The Year 2010 is a banner year for the RECOM administration and the City Government of Caloocan. The landslide victory of Mayor RECOM ECHIVERRI and almost all of the RECOM team members during the May 10, 2010 national and local elections is an expression of renewed confidence by the people of Caloocan to his style and brand of leadership. It is safe to conclude therefore, that the Caloocan’s electorate continue to trust Mayor RECOM’s able and steady to hand to steer the City which is at the cusp of celebrating its 50th founding anniversary.
Although Caloocan, is one of the pioneer city in Metro Manila aside from Manila, Pasay and Quezon City, its growth and development has remained largely laggard. But that trend started to be reversed by the second half of 2004, when Atty. RECOM ECHIVERRI began his term as City Mayor. The city, which is considered the cradle of heroes and patriots, are now living up to its billing and potential. It has awakened from its deep slumber.
Seven year hence, the battle cry of “Let’s Reform Caloocan!” was already ingrained not only in the hearts and consciousness of its residents but is already manifesting itself in the various facets of the city. It can now rightfully claim, that as it ushers on towards its Golden Year, Caloocan is a City at its BEST. Because under the stewardship of Mayor RECOM ECHIVERRI, the City Government of Caloocan has shown Better delivery of basic and social services, it has practiced an Effective and efficient governance, it has ensured a Safe, secure and healthy community, and realize a Thriving and revitalized city for its residents.
Investing in Education and the Future
The RECOM administration believes that education is the great equalizer in life that would empower the poor and the marginalized to improve their plight. It is in this light that a substantial investment from the City’s annual budget was committed by the City Government in funding the construction of new school buildings, repair and rehabilitation of old school buildings, provision of textbooks and other school supplies and equipment.
From 2004 up to present, the RECOM administration has constructed almost 300 new classrooms. The City Government also augments the number of teaching personnel hired nationally by hiring LSB teachers. The augmentation allowance for public school teachers was increased from the previous P500 per month into P 2,000 per month. The City Government also provided support for the advanced education and training of teachers to enhance their teaching competency, an example of which is the IRECOM (Information Revolution in Communication) project.
CALOOCAN CITY COMPARATIVE EDUCATION STATISTICS
All of these contributed in the enhancement of the quality of basic education. These resulted in the improvement in the ranking of Caloocan City elementary school students taking the National Achievement Test (NAT), from its alarming 13th place regional rank in SY 2003 – 2004, we are now ranked 5th in the National Capital Region (NCR). There is also a steady rise in the ranking of secondary school students taking the NAT, from the previous 13th place in the regional ranking during SY 2003-2004; we now improved to 11th place.
The City Government is committed in widening the access of our constituents to quality education which included tertiary education. This is a challenge that the RECOM administration is dead set to overcome. Recognizing that there is much to be done with the University of Caloocan City (UCC), which now caters to more than 10,000 students from its previous 4,000 enrollees seven years ago, plan is underway for the construction of a modern and fully functional campus that would service the needs of the youth in the Poblacion area (South Caloocan).
Creating Opportunities for Productivity
The Labor and Industrial Relations Office (LIRO) is at the forefront of the City Government’s effort in creating more opportunities for the city residents to become productive. It has embarked on job generation, employment facilitation and enterprise creation strategies. The LIRO through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) assists college graduates seeking professional career guidance and help out-of-school youth (OSY) through emergency employment and government internship programs.
From 2004 to date, the LIRO had placed 100,000 people in employment through the holding of 31 job fairs. It had 5,400 beneficiaries under its Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES). In coordination with other national government agencies like the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among others, for the availment of the Caloocan residents of the said agencies existing programs and projects.
Moreover, the Caloocan City Manpower and Training Center (CCMTC) have trained 60,000 students which now enjoy either gainful employment and/or tending their own small businesses and enterprises.
Comprehensive and Accessible Health Care for All
The City Government under the stewardship of Mayor RECOM ECHIVERRI was committed to the delivery of a holistic health care system for all its residents anchored on disease prevention and control as well as treatments that are accessible and affordable particularly to the poor and underprivileged.
The RECOM administration has ensured that all health centers are operational, manned by compassionate and competent health care personnel and stocked with sufficient supplies and medicines. The City Government have undertaken 465 medical and dental missions in cooperation with non-government organizations (NGOs). To date, it has acquired TWO (2) units of high-tech MOBILE CLINICs to service the healthcare needs of residents that don’t have access to health centers and the city’s public hospitals.
The City Government also aspired for Universal Health Insurance coverage for the City’s populace. From 2004 to date, we have issued 35,000 PhilHealth cards to low-income families with premium paid by the City Government.
Table 1. CALOOCAN CITY Trend in the Nutritional Status of Pre-School Children (2005 - 2010)
The over-all trend in the nutritional status of pre-school children in the last six (6) years showed an increasing trend in terms of normal status from 91.98% in 2005 to 96.15% in 2010 while a decreasing trend is observed in Below Normal Low (BNL) status from 4.92% to 1.71 in the same period. A fluctuating trend is noted among children with Below Normal Very Low (BNVL) and Above Normal (AN) status.
We have also provided substantial investment in the improvement of the President Diosdado Macapagal Memorial Medical Center (PDMMMC). We have acquired new equipment and upgraded our hospital facilities with the end in view of offering quality treatment and hospitalization services to the city residents.
The City Government was also vigilant in the promotion of environmental health and sanitation. The City Mayor, in fact, vigorously pursued its Anti-Smoking Campaign by reiterating the 100% Smoke Free Policy and the Prohibition of Smoking within the City Hall premises. Through the various units and offices of the city government, the regular inspection of food and non-food establishments, and the testing of water samples from all sources including water refilling water stations are undertaken to safeguard the health and welfare of all the residents.
This overzealous drive towards better health services has resulted to a healthy citizenry as shown by health indicators that are at par with the regional and national average.
Ensuring Tenurial Security for the Urban Poor
The provision of decent shelter and security of tenure for the urban poor has always been a primary benchmark in total human development. Hence, from 2004 to 2010, the Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO) has facilitated the completion of various community mortgage projects (CMP) enabling 10,758 families to have secured tenurial rights to their respective properties. Among the biggest CMP projects are (1) Villa Alicia HOA, (2) Reform 167 Housing, and (3) Reform 168 Housing.
The city government is also committed to shelter development that it is fully supportive of the various Gawad Kalinga (GK) projects. To date, thousands of poor families have contributed their sweat equity to build homes and communities in lots they now own. Caloocan City helps facilitate the availability of the land and other support infrastructure.
Caring for the Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Sectors of the City
Consistent with its vision of having a government with a heart and conscience that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of its constituents, particularly the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors, the City Government has implemented a package of social welfare benefits, programs and services that would alleviate the plight and improve the conditions of (a) abused and neglected women and children, (b) delinquent youth and youth offenders, (c) disabled persons and the (d) elderly.
The City Government maintains TWO HUNDRED (200) DAY CARE CENTERS located in 109 barangays catering to 19,553 day care children. It has also conducted Food for School Program benefitting 18,811 children. Presently, the City Government THREE (3) social development centers, namely: Social Development Center (for girls), Tahanang Mapagpala (for boys) and the Yakap Bata Holding Center (for juvenile delinquents and children in conflict with the law).
To date, the RECOM Administration has likewise constructed at least ONE HUNDRED (107) COVERED COURTS that are now being used for civic, cultural, sports and physical fitness activities by the city residents, particularly the youth and senior citizens. Constructions of additional covered courts/multi-purpose halls are likewise underway.
The City Government has an active Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) which was able to consolidate and come up with a Local Investment Plan for Children and an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) plans and programs in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC).
Our Gender and Development (GAD) Council had lined up programs and activities that would advance the welfare and interest of women.
From 2004 to present, we have distributed 66,104 Medical Booklets and 87,323 Grocery Booklets to our Senior Citizens. The City Government on a yearly basis supported the observance of a Senior Citizens Week similar to the celebration of a Boys and Girls Week. We are committed to pursue other projects and activities that would benefit our Senior Citizens and highlight their contribution to city and nation building.
For 2010, we have issued 300 Identification Cards for Solo Parents consistent with the implementation of the Solo Parent Act. We have also issued 550 ID and Booklets for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). We have undertaken crisis intervention programs for 13,000 indigent and/or in-crisis families.
We have also implemented other social welfare programs mandated by the national government, such as but not limited to:
A. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)
B. World Food Program
C. Tindahan Natin (TN) Program
The City Government continuously pursued the delivery of efficient, transparent and accessible public services to its constituents by maximizing the potential of electronic governance (e-governance). The computerization of its frontline services in the assessment of real property taxes and in securing business permits and licenses has resulted to increased revenue collection and reduced transaction time in service delivery. For the convenience of taxpayers, lounges were maintained to provide comforts to the businessmen-clients.
For the past seven (7) years, the City Government of Caloocan under the RECOM administration has consistently adhered to prudent fiscal management. Despite the challenge of delivering public services to a population of 1.3 million (third largest in Metro Manila) with a limited resources base, the City Mayor saw to it that the City Government operated within its means.
When the RECOM administration took on the cudgels of leadership of the City Government seven years ago, it was faced with mounting and unpaid electric, telephone and other utility bills. With prudent fiscal management and increased investor confidence that resulted to the rise in the city’ revenue, these issues have become a thing of the past.
Hence, in December 2010, in recognition of the city government employees contribution in providing effective and efficient public service, the RECOM administration had achieved a historic first of granting 14th month pay to the city government’s regular employees.
The City Government, under the stewardship of Mayor RECOM ECHIVERRI, always upheld the policy of transparent and participatory governance. With the regular convening of the City Development Council (CDC) and the regular grassroots-based consultation being undertaken by the City Mayor, it has involved all stakeholders namely the National Government Agencies (NGAs), the business sector, non-governmental and people’s organization (NGO/POs), professional experts, the religious sector and the barangay leaders in charting the city’s plans and programs for growth and development.
The City Mayor believes that the Caloocan City’s vision can only be achieved is there is a strong, proactive and committed partnerships among all the sectors of the city.
The maintenance of a safe, secure and peaceful environment conducive to economic growth and development remains a constant challenge to the City of Caloocan. Considered as the third populous city in Metro Manila and the only local government with the distinction of having a non contiguous territory, the Caloocan City Police can boast of its 88.12% crime solution efficiency ratio.
This can be attributed to the staunch support given by the city government to the city’s police force. The City Government of Caloocan not only provides new patrol vehicles, guns, ammunitions and communication equipment but also additional allowances and capability-enhancement program to police personnel.
The relatively peaceful condition of the City of Caloocan can also be ascribed to the coordinated efforts undertaken by the local government, barangays, police, other law enforcement agencies, the private sector and the citizenry as a whole. One concrete effort, in this regard, by the city government is the equipping and mobilization of the barangays in the maintenance of peace and order. The city government has provided patrol vehicles, tanod uniforms and other equipment as well as capability building seminars and trainings to the barangays that would prepare them in crime prevention and disaster response.
The city government of Caloocan also actively attended to other protective services concerns. It has maintained close coordination and relationship with the Center for the Ultimate Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents in Bicutan, Taguig and the Central Luzon Drug Rehabilitation Center in Magalang, Pampanga for the rehabilitation of drug dependents.
With the City Mayor’s clear cut policy on addressing the drug menace, the city government has aided and provided support to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on its various operations to arrest and apprehend suspected drug pushers and suppliers in the city.
Fire prevention, on the other hand, remains a priority and was intensified this year with the active policy direction provided by the City Mayor. Buildings and establishments were inspected, fire drills and lectures were conducted and additional volunteer fire brigades were enlisted and trained. The city government has closely coordinated with the Office of the City Fire Marshall and the Bureau of Fire Protection to ensure the full operationalization of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 9514 or the Revised Fire Code of 2008.
The City of Caloocan is one of the pioneer local governments in Metro Manila that responded to the challenge of implementing Republic Act No. 10121, by immediately reconstituting the City Disaster Council into the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC). The next priority task is the passage of an ordinance creating the Caloocan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) which would initiate forward planning activities that would prepare the city and its residents against threats of natural disaster and calamities.
The vigilant pursuit of the City Veterinary Office (CVO) of its mandate adds another dimension to the protection of public health and safety. The CVO actively monitored and conducted surveillance against the possible entry of “hot meat” (botya) to the city’s public markets. It issued public warnings and undertaken some confiscation and arrest which contributed to the protection of the city residents against such threat. Dog bites are a serious public health problem that can inflict considerable physical and emotional damage on victims and be extremely costly to communities. Thus, the (CVO) has intensified its dog bites prevention program. In 2010, the CVO had provided anti-rabies vaccination to 24,363 pets from 136 barangays of the city. It has also impounded 1,594 stray dogs.
The consolidated total income of Caloocan City for year 2010 amounted to 1.08 BILLION PESOS. This is 579,616,696 Million Pesos more than the revenue collected in 2006 representing an increase of 86.74 %. The city’s income grew at an average of 78% from 2006 to 2010.
Despite the economic slowdown that has affected the country, Caloocan City has achieved a degree of stability in its revenue collection. With financial stability, the City Government has been able to embark on programs and projects that redound to the greater benefits of its constituents.
The rise in the number investment from the previous 8,000 in the past administration to almost 18,000 new businesses under the current city administration is a testament to Caloocan City’s new found distinction as a haven for business and trade. Thus, the City Mayor’s assertion of being “investment friendly” is not just an empty boast but a realistic claim.
In fact, the City was cited by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the first city to implement the Philippine Business Register (PBR). We are also awarded “Most Business Friendly City” by the World Bank & IFC International Corp. Undoubtedly, the continuous growth of business in the City has created more job opportunities for its residents.
Amidst the increasing economic activities and high vehicular density, Caloocan City has maintained an environment conducive to healthy urban living. Living by our recognition of being the Second Cleanest and Greenest city in NCR as adjudged by no less than the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), we have embarked into a three-pronged approach to Environmental Management namely: Solid Waste Management, Pollution Control and Urban Renewal. We have undertaken these in close coordination and active participation from barangays, schools, non-government organizations, the business sector and the city residents.
Projects that improve the city’s landscape include planting of trees and ornamental plants along major roads as well as the rehabilitation, maintenance and beautification of public parks and open spaces. Cleanliness of the physical environment is being done through daily street sweeping, painting and repainting of gutters, LRT columns, posts, fences and blank walls, Oplan Linis Estero (declogging and cleaning of creeks and waterways), clearing of sidewalks from obstructions, and removal of overdone streamers, posters and billboards.
We have conducted a thorough, widespread and continuing advocacy, information and education efforts to promote awareness and compliance to the existing environmental laws particularly R.A. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act. A testament to this is our city’s 95% compliance rating on the implementation of the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) program; we have ensured that out of our City’s 188 barangays, 179 barangays already have their operational MRF. We have maintained the efficiency of our garbage collection services.
Infrastructure development is one of the most visible achievements of the RECOM administration since 2004. These continuing efforts aim to provide residents and clients with greater access to quality government facilities and services. For the past seven years, the City Government has embarked on a massive infrastructure program which includes the construction of modern school buildings, recreational facilities, public markets and land improvement projects such as concreting of roads, drainage improvement and street lighting of major streets.
The City Government through the able leadership of Mayor RECOM ECHIVERRI has revitalized the city, from the decrepit condition it was in when he took the mantle of leadership seven years ago; it has restored normalcy and order in its once chaotic roads and thoroughfares; and has implemented an efficient traffic management unaffected by the upsurge of new businesses that relocated to the City. True to its claim, the city government continue its advocacy of genuine public service, committed towards the attainment of a truly REFORMED CITY OF CALOOCAN.
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