DAGUPAN CITY -- Mayor Belen Fernandez has equated the city’s progress to sunshine, as she disclosed the city’s wealth now at PHP1.01 billion during her State-of-the-City Address (SOCA) on Wednesday.
“In 10 years, we have doubled the wealth of the city from PHP510 million operational budget in 2010 to PHP1.01 billion this year. This is the fastest and highest growth of our economy in the history of our city since it became a city in 1946,” said Fernandez before some 15,000 individuals.
“Today, Dagupan is the most affluent local government in this part of the country because we seized the opportunity for prosperity and success,” she added.
Fernandez said the city reached the billion-peso mark because of its strict ‘corruption-free’ compliance, and swift actions of the city’s Investment and Development Board (IDB).
She further reported that Dagupan continues to register its fifth biggest consecutive cash surplus in a decade, wherein a total of PHP 178 million surplus has been recorded last 2018, the largest in Dagupan’s history.
Fernandez also proudly announced that Dagupan is now debt-free, having fulfilled paying its remaining loans and bringing the city to its best ever credit worthy standing in its history.
“Responsible fiscal management is one of the top priorities for my administration because a fiscally strong city defines a city on the move. And that is Dagupan,” she said.
The city, under her leadership, was also able to reverse losses prior to 2012 to usher its non-stop biggest collections.
“It is also a story of political will, attention to details, and resolve. We leave nothing to chance, because even wastes are worth so much,” she added.
Fernandez also bared the city’s accomplishments in various services provided for fellow Dagupeños.
Health campaign was intensified, resulting in the City Health Office (CHO) catering up an almost 200 patients every day, excluding the barangay health centers scattered throughout the city, serving 125 to 180 patients on a daily basis.
In contrast to 2013, with only 12,000 patients gaining benefit from the city’s service in barangay clinics, a total of 33,000 were recorded in 2018.
Some 13,382 patients were given cataract, medical and minor operations services free of charge.
“Our medical service has reached a milestone especially that we were awarded ‘Best City in the implementation of Infectious Disease Program in the Region, and the FLAME AWARD for the contributions and dynamic strategies in implementing health reforms towards the attainment of Universal Health Care,” she said.
And with the pending opening of the Diagnostic Center and Lying-in Clinic, an estimated 10,000 Dagupeños will benefit with free ECG, X-ray, ultrasound, maternity clinic, and adolescent services to be provided.
Meanwhile, the city has catered the needs of 213, 659 Dagupeños via its socio-economic programs.
Since 2013, the City Population Office recorded a total of 2,230 couples were wed, while the City Registry legitimized 95 individuals since 2016, with its program ‘Lehitimo Ako, Batang Dagupeño’.
The City Agriculture Office has provided 776 households with farm and fishing livelihood opportunities, 785 fish cages were registered and licensed, and 1,161 illegal fishing structures in the city’s rivers were dismantled.
The local chief executive also proudly informed the public of the city’s accomplishments in providing scholarship programs, and extending its aid to education.
“From zero scholars in 2013, we now have 1,600 scholars with PHP22 million allotted budget. We have already 357 graduates and 20 board passers. We will continue to do this to ensure that in the future, more of our citizens are holders of college degrees and are employable, more than any other city in the Philippines,” Fernandez said.
With all its services exceeding expectations, the city also wants to build and improve more infrastructures.
“The physical development of our city is growing at an amazing speed. We are making great headways in infrastructure that are built to last, built according to specifications, built according to function, built according to our needs, and best of all, built at the right cost,” Fernandez said.
For the last six years, 40 government facilities, 88 road improvement projects, and 117 government brand new vehicles were purchased.
She also vowed to recover all losses from the fraudulent sale of Awai property.
Fernandez refers to the 30-hectare land in Brgy. Awai, San Jacinto, declared by the Department of Agrarian Reforms (DAR) as null and void ab initio.
Since its shady purchase sometime in 2002, the area was supposed to become a sanitary landfill.
“I ordered the City Legal Office to recover up to the last centavo the PHP16 million used to purchase the land that was never owned by the city. We need to stop this fraudulent activity,” Fernandez said. (PNA)