It was a most trying night in January, 2001 when our city experienced a massive flood, a first of its kind in proportion where the water level reached heights above the tallest of men, and the rampaging currents swept homes in its path.
As a Silaynon, I felt in my heart the need to do something; I went out to buy rice, bread, and all other foodstuff I could get my hands on, and distributed them to affected families in community-based relief shelters and schools.
This overwhelming experience inspired me to serve the people of Silay as a public servant when I was invited to run for office. By the grace of the Lord I was elected councilor and served for 6 years, and as vice mayor for another 9 years.
Since I came to office as the Local Chief Executive of our most beloved City of Silay, rare have been moments when I can be alone with my thoughts.
But during those exceptional times, I find myself communicating with the Lord and praying…
I have been praying for peace and prosperity for our people;
I have been praying for guidance and wisdom to govern well;
I have been praying for my colleagues in the government to serve with honesty, sincerity and dedication;
I have been praying for safety during disasters and calamities, especially for the homeless and the underprivileged;
I have been praying for the physically-challenged and those who do not have regular jobs;
In moments of doubt, I came to wonder if all these challenges would ever end;
Would I be able to face the seemingly endless trials with confidence, peace of mind, and calmness of heart?
I heard a voice say, “YES, THEY WILL SURELY END!” I have therefore pursued these with full determination; I have answered these with my Ka-Asenso family. Together, we have provided the solutions for each problem and rose up to our vision of “A prosperous and resilient city, proud of its culture and heritage, where Silaynon families enjoy excellent social services and live in a peaceful community and a sustainable environment.”
Today, I present to you my TEAM who gave our city pride and honor for exemplary service that earned for us THREE CONSECUTIVE YEARS of the prestigious “Seal of Good Local Governance” from the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Previously, a Local Government Unit will be awarded the SGLG if it passes the standards for four core areas plus one essential area of governance. Last year, DILG raised the criteria to include all seven areas of governance – financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, peace and order, business-friendliness and competitiveness, environmental management, and tourism, culture and the arts.
Despite the stricter criteria, Silay City was still awarded with the prestigious SGLG. This award confirms that your city government spends taxpayers’ money judiciously and that it has diligently performed its duties to all Silaynons.
They will now show you the accomplishments of their respective departments and service sectors who have worked selflessly to provide the Silaynon community with the best of what your government can give.
Let us revisit the eleven-point agenda that we offer as the operational framework of my governance to achieve our vision.
Our 11-Point Agenda includes:
Foremost on our 11-point agenda is Food Security and Self-Sufficiency.
A major portion of a basic household’s daily expense is spent on food. Yes, food takes up the biggest slice in a family’s budget. Without self-sufficiency in food, a huge share of Silay’s cash resources is used to buy food products from outside the city. If these food products are produced locally, these cash resources will remain and circulate in Silay and will boost the city’s economy. This is the reason behind our food self-sufficiency plan.
Silay’s population of about 135,000 constitutes a large market for basic food staples and this is a strong motivation for the coastal and countryside areas to engage in food production.
Silay City does not lack land suitable for rice production. In fact, no other city or municipality in the province is blessed with the presence of several major rivers and waterways.
About 6,000 hectares of the city’s agricultural land have now been covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. What the city needs today is a shift in land use from purely sugarcane cultivation to one of diversification to other crops, particularly rice.
Since I assumed office more than two years ago, we established closer working relationships with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and the Department of Agrarian Reform in pushing and managing this shift. Of course, the Silay City government can do more; in the pipeline are blueprints for developing a rural infrastructure program with particular emphasis on irrigation and farm-to-market roads.
The city, spearheaded by the City Agriculture Office and the Office of the City Veterinarian, implemented a livestock dispersal program to give livelihood opportunities to rural folk, as well as provide for the meat requirements of the city’s population. Complementary to livestock production, I have tasked the City’s Agriculture Office to prepare the plans for the cultivation and processing of feed stock, like corn, sorghum, and cassava.
With a stable local market to sustain viability, the city’s envisioned food production program is positioned to expand and venture into outside markets. This has been manifested by the numerous awards consistently received by our Silaynon families in the provincial, regional and national categories for the past three years. This has inspired other families in our rural barangays to pursue food farming with greater passion.
Our City’s Agriculture Office under Mr. Jason Benedicto aims to expand the function of an already existing Trading Post to accommodate a storage facility to increase the volume of products for marketing and distribution. To sustain product sufficiency, we initiated a massive advocacy campaign to encourage backyard planting of vegetables and other food products including the raising of poultry and livestock.
Moreover on the drawing board is the establishment of a CHMSCC Technical Agricultural School which will be located in a donated lot in Brgy. Kapitan Ramon. We take this opportunity to thank our benefactor, the HHT and Sons Farms, of the Tanpinco Family represented by - Mr. Homero L. Tanpinco, Jr., Mr. Zafiro L. Tanpinco, Mr. Felix L. Tanpinco, Mr. Jesus L. Tanpinco and the late Ms. Soledad L. Tanpinco for their donation of 100 hectares of land to the city for coffee and cacao production and for the school. We thank you for your trust and confidence in this administration.
In late 2017 and early 2018 our Livelihood Development Office made representations with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to institute a community-based training program. The MABUNGAHON NGA ABILIDAD PARA SA RESPONSABLE NGA KABUHIAN.
The Livelihood Office availed of training modules under the Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (YRRP) and the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), in cooperation with TESDA-accredited training providers. By late 2018, the Community-based Skills Training Program produced more than 300 graduates under the following modules: Masonry, Tile-setting, Carpentry, Construction Painting, and Massage Therapy, Cooking, Baking, Housekeeping.
Complementing all these is a strong Public Employment Service Office which already conducted regular Job Fairs and a total of 156 Special Recruitment Activities for the past years.
This resulted to a total of 12,009 applicants hired locally and 112 applicants hired for employment overseas. The impact of this workforce immediately creates a positive outlook for every household affected. It provides inspiration and will enhance determination to become even more responsible citizens of our peaceful society.
There is a marked link between the city’s socio-economic well-being and the peace and order situation. In the national scene, there is the prevalence of a continuing drug menace and rising criminality, which are directly attributed to poverty that perpetually pervades most of the city’s slum areas.
For lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, the population in these areas, particularly the youth, fall victims to the enlistment of criminal syndicates in their wicked activities. This largely contributes to the crime volume which we have experienced in the past years.
At present, our local Philippine National Police under the able leadership of Police Superintendent Noel Polines, with his equally hardworking men and women in the organization succeeded in securing two barangays and declaring them drug-free. They are now working on another three barangays, towards eventually achieving their maximum goal of declaring the entire Silay City as drug-free.
The drug menace is a very dangerous societal ill which we cannot brush aside. If left undeterred, it will create a magnitude of crime and disorder which will destroy homes and families.
The city has enforced curfew for minors installed streetlights under the “Suga Kontra Krimen” program, and intensified foot and mobile patrols against organized crime. The program shall likewise employ technology. The City is now in the process of acquiring new and additional CCTV cameras and installing them in strategic areas to enhance online reporting.
Now, Silaynons feel more secure. This is evident in people roaming around in the plaza and other areas of the city even at night, secure with the knowledge that goons and criminal elements have already been chased away by our police.
For the past two years we have provided our local Philippine National Police with over PhP 4 million worth of new equipment which includes 4 vehicles and 11 motorcycles to further boost police visibility and improve their quick response standards.
And our men and women in uniform delivered on what was expected of them. From a high of 1,497 incidence rate in before I came into office, crime volume has declined to 551 for the whole year of 2018.
While a food self-sufficiency program is the centerpiece of our development strategy, it must be complemented by a strong thrust towards technology-based projects.
The opening of the Silay-Bacolod International Airport in 2008 has re-opened Silay City as the gateway for the province of Negros Occidental to potential technology markets.
Other than its close distance to the airport, Silay City is ideal as host for business process outsourcing projects and a light industrial sector due to its relatively uncrowded environment, and easy access to and from Bacolod City, the province’s center of commerce.
In the past years, the city was not in the shortlist of technology investors as a location for their businesses. Today, certain parcels of land in Barangay Bagtic has been declared by Philippine Economic Zone Authority as “special economic zone”. This will provide incentives to all potential locators, like technology-based manufacturers and business process outsourcers.
On the other hand, the local government has set up a more efficient system to upgrade the services of our one-stop shop and Business Permits and License Division. The office headed by Ms. Marilou Gromea has implemented our business-friendly policies which can be seen in the influx of new business in the city.
Your local government is employing the highest standards to bring our city at par with the rest of the best. We will continue working hard to gain the prominence of a new economic hub for the province with the breakthrough of our very own economic zones.
I have merged two components of our 11-Point Agenda as it has now come to complement each other with regards to easier coordination and facilitation of activities and tasks.
Our vision of balanced growth cannot be sustained unless we incorporate an educational component which is sensitive to current needs and trends of today’s emerging economy. For instance, the relevance of sustaining the agricultural industry will require not only a new mindset but also the mastery of new cultivation methods; entrepreneurship would require managerial and marketing skills; and industrial development needs a pool of skilled technology workers.
The city scholarship program which I started on the 2nd semester of 2016 can be reconfigured for the needs of our development strategy; the city plans to setup a community college with a development-oriented curriculum which will also result in the equitable distribution of scholarship opportunities for the Silaynons.
The collective efforts of both the Executive and the Legislative has resulted in a Scholarship Ordinance known as “Skolar ng Bayan” which provides for the appropriation of funds for scholarship subsidies and other academic purposes, and upholds the right to education of the underprivileged. This administration also supported our young athletes and talents by providing them funds for their participation in local, national and international competitions which also brought honor to our City. Our young talent for Thailand ballroom dancing competition came home with a gold medal, Alexander Severino, our chess champion, our young swimmers and basketball players and many more.
Silay City will continue to grow, introducing in the near future a new city where trade and commerce becomes more intensely dynamic, with the education sector also being more active with stakeholders coming in as new partners to bring in new curricula which has adapted to the trends of a modern era.
I am taking this opportunity to also thank the family of Mr. Pablo Jison for donating a lot for the establishment of the Philippine Women’s University here in our city.
We will also see the rise of a National Child Development Center which was funded by the National Early Childhood Care and Development Council to cater to the trainings of all our educators minding all our Child Development Centers which will be upgraded to meet the challenges of new learning strategies and curricula.
The rehabilitation of the existing Public Marketcontributed to the dynamism of trade and commerce and have made it more convenient for Silaynons to buy fresh, healthy food in a sanitary environment. We take this opportunity to thank Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito for his very significant financial assistance 8 MILLION PESOS for our Public Market. The Silaynons will always remember you Senator JV.
Simultaneously, we have organized the Market Vendors Association to give our small business sectors a proper representation to raise their issues and concerns.
I have ordered the closure of our garbage dump site at Barangay E. Lopez to make way for a much-needed but neglected Sanitary Landfill at Barangay Kapitan Ramon. I thank my dad, former city councilor and Assemblyman Jimmy Golez for his kind heart and the 3.5 hectare donation to make way for the city’s development needs in terms of Waste Disposal purposes.
We have also made headway in terms of infrastructure sector spending. For 2018 alone, we have spent more than 35 Million Pesos and completed various projects ranging from new classrooms, covered courts, and bridges aside from many renovations and repairs to existing structures, to answer the needs of our constituents.
Shelter Development Program
The migration to the urban center from the rural areas has led to a ballooning of the population in slum areas to levels that have put severe strain on the city’s capacity to provide basic services, particularly housing and accompanying services like power, accessibility, health services, and waste management. The location of rapidly-increasing slum areas along waterways has likewise posed a formidable challenge to the city’s emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation capabilities.
Shelter, next to food, is one of the most basic factors for human existence; it is thus, essential to the survival and well-being of the family. Clearly, it must therefore be a major component of our development program to ensure that every Silaynon family is provided a decent roof above their heads.
Housing Development officer, Mr. Raymund Eslawa, recommends that the city government shall identify and acquire land to relocate illegal settlers on a “sites and services” approach. This scheme requires participation by the housing beneficiaries through involvement in construction, and affordable and long-term amortization schedules. The city shall provide the utilities necessary for water, electricity, drainage, and sewerage. By involving the beneficiaries in the program, the city program takes a shift from “provider” to “enabler”.
All possibilities of working with government agencies such as the National Housing Authority, and NGOs such as Gawad Kalinga and Habitat for Humanity have been explored and have brought us greater determination and inspiration as we continue to expand the housing program.
In partnership with Habitat for Humanities, we will develop Bonbon Phase 3 on a 7 hectare lot which will also host 546 houses.
Our Yolanda typhoon victims/beneficiaries now have available 1,982 houses 400 of which were already awarded. Project development is ongoing to host other facilities and to cater to other sectors like the PWD and the elderly.
We are also set on setting up our employee housing which will provide for 300 houses. Eventually we aim to establish our very own Silay Housing Board which shall ensure a more well-rounded approach to incorporate sustainability and independence on our housing needs as Silay continues to grow and become a more attractive residential and commercial center… definitely, the place to “retire.”
The National Government has augmented funds for some local government projects, such as disaster preparedness and development of culture and arts. Your City Government under my administration ensured that national funds were judiciously spent on the intended projects, which benefitted our constituents.
While long-term remedies are included in our environmental management programs, the present calls for putting in place, disaster preparedness and mitigation measures. Even if the city has disaster response and rescue units, we have complemented them by training barangay-based volunteers who can be at the front lines during emergencies and disasters.
The City’s Local Disaster and Rescue Management team with our very own Retired Police Officer Alex Munoz have 20 vehicles at his disposal in any disaster. We have also upgraded their equipment in the past three years to meet the pressing need to respond efficiently to emergencies with confidence.
Each barangay now has a disaster plan for their respective areas, and such plan shall be incorporated into a citywide comprehensive disaster and emergency management program.
Complementing our response teams is the very capable men and women of the Silay City Fire Department. My appreciation goes to this organization under the very capable supervision of SINS Jovelyn Zamar, our Fire Marshall, whom we have strongly supported in terms of acquisition of new equipment and Fire Trucks and providing them assistance to for a soon to be completed new Fire Station to be able to respond effectively to the new challenges our city will face in a very fast growth phase.
Cultural & Tourism
In the Cultural and Tourism front, we recently hosted the International Rondalla Festival which again brought our Silay City into the international limelight. We felt that traditional pride of playing responsible hosts to various cultural artists, as we were able to unlock the challenges that go with its operational requirement.
In 2016, we brought you the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, a full complement of classical dance ensemble, and in 2017, we brought you the famous Nutcracker. Late last year, we ventured to host a bigger event, ushering international artists all over the world, together with our own, to be featured in “CUERDAS SANG PAGHILI-USA”.
We thank the National Coordinating Center for Culture and the Arts, the Dep Ed, Division of Silay City with our Dep Ed family led by our very own Dr. Ma. Roselyn J. Palcat, our good senator Loren Legarda, our good governor the honorable Alfredo Maranon and the provincial government of Negros Occidental, the University of the Philippines College of Music, the Musicological Society of the Philippines, and the NAMCYA who were instrumental in bringing about a most refreshing success to the event.
Republic Act 8059, as declared by Congress last June 15, 1995, declares Barangay Patag on Silay City, Province of Negros Occidental, a Tourist Zone.
This constitutes a mandate for the city government of Silay, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and other stakeholders to come up with a general master plan for tourism development which shall also include built up ecotourism zones in other barangays and the coastal areas.
Our City Planning and Development Office is coming up with an updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which shall integrate all other projects and shall project the utilization of our city’s physical resources, and at the same time, ensure the resiliency of the plan to adapt and be resilient to climate change.
Health is an important human and social capital thus, a healthy population defines a productive society. With the effective and efficient implementation of our Nutrition Program, Silay City was ranked number 1 in Region VI for having the lowest rate of undernourished children.
At this time, however, the city government has to deal squarely with health issues attendant to existing socio-economic realities. A good portion of the city’s budget have been allocated for services that ensure the physical well-being of Silaynons. We have purchased P10 million worth of medical equipment so that we can deliver more effective and cost efficient laboratory and x-ray services for our community most specially for the senior citizens.
Emphasis on Prevention
Our City Health Office with Dr Sabina D. Damazo at the helm has also worked with other departments and offices, such as the City Engineer’s Office for the provision of clean, safe water, and sanitation and waste disposal facilities for our barangays. The prevention approach will not only mean healthier and more productive communities, but it will also ultimately result in savings, considerable resources that would otherwise be spent on hospitalization and recuperation.
As a result the Silay City Health Office has garnered numerous awards in their effort to deliver the best quality service to the community. They also have gained prominence for their hard work in coming up with the TB Ordinance for the National TB Program Implementation and for their high performance and track record for Treatment Success Rate in TB Program accomplishment and the Leprosy program.
The Dental Division has also recently acquired a new mobile dental bus to service far-flung and hard-to-reach rural and coastal communities. My many thanks to Dr. Rey Martin Locson.
Hospital Subsidy for Indigent Silaynons
Moreoever, the city has regularly brought doctors and medical volunteers to undertake medical, surgical missions which includes eye care and distribution of eyeglasses.
For all of these, we thank the ALOHA FOUNDATION, NIKKI CARES FOUNDATION, UNITED AMERICAN PILIPINO GROUP based in Wahington DC, the MADONNA UNIVERSITY, the Chonbuk National Medical University of South Korea and Embrace and Reach Ministries International.
We have continuously served patients in need of minor or major surgeries, including sending patients to Manila for procedures at the Philippine Heart Center. I believe that NOBODY SHOULD FACE DEATH JUST BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD SURGERY. Our city’s medical services program is untiringly supported by Congressman Albee Benitez. Thank you so much Cong Albee. The continuing conduct of blood letting activity to help dialysis and dengue patients is also supported and recognized by the Provincial Government.
Ecology and Environmental Management
The success of our development vision is virtually dependent on the preservation of the ecology and management of the environment. It is our working advocacy to “Harmonize our Environmental Laws”. As such, we will be pushing for the passage of an Ordinance on Local Conservation Areas, the passage of our Environmental Code, and the approval of our Forest Land Use Plan.
Massive reforestation and maintenance of the watershed areas in the central highlands is vital to the sustainability of our Ecosystem which enhances the preservation for the remaining endemic plants and animals that can still be found in our protected areas.
Utmost Attention should also be given to the reinforcement, preservation, and maintenance of streams and riverbanks, as well as coastlines to prevent destructive erosion. This is why we require all those who perform quarrying and mining activities to maintain and reforest our riverbanks. Our coastlines are now vastly covered with mangrove with 154 hectares planted.
The city has seriously embarked on a regular tree-planting program to restore and conserve forest and watershed areas. We require all city government offices and agencies, including barangays, to conduct regular tree-planting activities, in partnership with other organizations, such as the Silay City Water District, SIMAG Foundation and the Social Action Center, for this purpose. All these efforts earned our City Environment Officer Mrs. Ching Ledesma the Platinum Award for the Seal of Good Environmental Governance.
Revitalizing the Fishing Grounds and Foreshore Areas
The city’s municipal water and foreshore areas provide livelihood opportunities, like fishing and gathering of shellfish for the displaced the underprivileged.
However, the mismanagement of the foreshore areas has resulted in the destruction of marine habitats and the depletion of fish resources, thus aggravating the depressed condition of fisherfolks. This is why we are strictly enforcing fishery laws to complement a foreshore rehabilitation program, to include infrastructure for the reclamation of sandbars, expanding the restoration of mangrove forest, and setting up of fish aggregate devices to revitalize fish breeding grounds.
The participation of foreshore communities in this program is essential. We have organized 13 Fisheries Associations with 749 fisherfolk members. We have awarded 68 units of fiberglass fishing boats and motor engines. We have also distributed a total of 133 Crab Gill nets and Fish Gill nets aside from our regular distribution of tilapia and bangus fingerlings with trainings on capability building as alternative livehood for our fisherfolks. We take pride from this, as we can now witness a fishpond in Barangay Patag raising our favorite tilapia.
Today we take pride, as we see Silay slowly venture from its usually traditionally conservative perspective to that of a new dynamic commercial and economic center.
We saw the rise of GAISANO, and JOLLIBEE, and we await the opening of MCDONALDS and Magik LAND, the emergence of many high end real estate development, a Tourism Investment and Economic Zone and many more.
With inspiring enthusiasm, the Land Tax Division of the City Treasurer’s Office was able to pursue collection beyond targets. This is our 11th Point Agenda.
Mainly attributed to the trust and confidence of tax payers to the current thrust of how we manage and utilize the city’s funds.
I have come to terms with many of our clients and I have to exercise strong political will to implement the law and what is due our city.
Rest assured that your taxes shall not be wasted as expense but shall be focused on investment both on human life and physical and social development.
Other activities or events which brought honor to our City is the staging of sports events like Patag Run participated by some foreign runners, PVL volleyball and clinic which was aired in national television, and others.
All of these recognition leading to transforming our city to new heights I owe to the following: our Finance Team who showed great initiative by again receiving the prestigious Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping Award. I say thank you to our City Budget Officer Mr. Ramon Dumancas, our City Accountant, Mr Manny Arsenal, our City Treasurer, Mrs. Elsie Jimenea and our City Assessor, Mrs. Olive Dela Cruz.
In the Institutional and Development Administration Sector my thanks go to Mrs. Christina Golez, our SP Secretary, Mrs. Sheila Torres of the Local Civil Registrar, Mrs. Jaenes Grajo of the Internal Control Unit, to our Human Resource Management Officer, Mrs Pacita Caile, to all my Executive Assistants who have been working tirelessly with me, our City Legal Officer, Atty. Janus Jarder, and to our forever young and dynamic City Administrator, Atty. Jose Edward Davila.
Also to empower our government employees especially the rank and file, I have encouraged for the establishment of the Silay City Government Employees’ Union to provide a proper forum for mediation, and grievance aside from our employees’ rights to receive the necessary financial and non-financial benefits they genuinely deserve.
We have already signed the Collective Negotiations Agreement between management and labor. We look forward this year for all of you to receive your CNA Incentive Bonus.
In the forefront of the Social Services Sector I am deeply indebted to all your selfless dedication Dr. Sabina Damazo, Dr. Anabelle Ortiz of our City Health Office, Ms. Soraya Leda of our City Social Welfare Department, and Dr. Mary Rose Jimiera of the City Veterinarian’s Office.
As an added feature to my governance, together with all my department heads, I have been going around in all barangays, bringing the government closer to the people and conducting direct consultations and needs assessment of our people in the communities. This helps me to understand the actual problems and needs of each barangay and being able to deliver to them the required solutions, projects and programs first hand.
I am equally thankful to the huge contribution of the Infrastructure Sector with Engr. Kent Torres of the City Engineer’s Office and to Architect Giovanni Guzon of the City Planning Office.
Finally, I am sincerely grateful to all the nameless men and women in the government service of our city which includes our job order casuals who silently go out of their way to deliver the much needed services for our community.
This administration has raised the standards of service where all are treated equally with the same excellent service regardless of political affiliation or color. I have chosen to be a Christian and not a Politician to reach out and provide service for all, this is “Serbisyo Wala Pili” for all Silaynons.
I am a Filipino, and I will draw my strength from God to serve all Silaynons with honesty, integrity and the genuine desire to make lives better for all.
I now call on all Silaynons to rekindle the fire of unity and be with me to share the mission of bringing genuine progressive transformation for all families.
Asenso Silay, Asenso sang Panimalay!
A prosperous and resilient city. proud of its culture and heritage, where Silaynon Families enjoy excellent social services and live in a peaceful community and sustainable environment.
To build a prosperous and resilient city, proud of its culture and heritage that promotes business opportunities, invest in a strong infrastructure support on food security and productivity, and delivers excellent social services for Silaynon families to live in a peaceful community and a sustainable environment.