Ombion: Platform over wish lists

April 4, 2022 by No Comments

OF THE total local government units (LGUs) in the country with 1,490 towns, 144 cities, 81 provinces, more than half have already completed their comprehensive land use plan (Clup), good enough to stand the challenges for the next decade. The same have also finished their comprehensive development plan (CDP) and are in operation at least until 2025

Only a few, however, have development and governance platforms that can be considered as inclusive, vibrant, innovative, progressive, smart, resilient and sustainable. Most are still grappling over the debilitating impact of the pandemic and the recent natural disasters.

The rest of LGUs are still scrambling on the two basic plans as mandated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and content themselves on the chief’s executive wish lists.

Bacolod, the only highly urbanized city (HUC) of Negros, the LGU led by its Mayor Evelio Leonardia has already been counted by the national government and business organizations as one of the fastest growing cities and HUCs in terms of its capacity to attract people, events, investments which contribute to its revenue generation and expand its basic services.

This explains why the mayor and his team, Grupo Progreso, has recently unveiled its vision, mission and strategy to further develop a more livable, vibrant and resilient city anchored on three pillars of development, health and services, economy and infrastructure, and a city of smart governance.

Anchoring on “balancing lives and livelihood,” its priorities for the next three years include full implementation of Universal Health Care Law, primary health care that manages all health issues including pandemic at the grassroots, provide more social amelioration funds and financial assistance to the poorest of the poor and victims of man-made and natural calamities.

Another set is the reviving up of local economy through more government spendings, modern infrastructure works, services, investments generation, scaling up of its climate change adaptation and disaster risk preparedness – in order to create more sustainable jobs, increase local government agencies and private institutions’ portfolio for credit, loans and savings services for micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs), increase livelihood and capacity development support for vendors, transport sector and displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and women, improve markets infrastructures and its attendant food trading, delivery and placements.

Vital to sustainable local economy and food security is its comprehensive agricultural plan which will focus on increasing our local supply of vegetables and meat products like pork and chicken, and a set of financial assistance and technical support will ensure its success.

Its blueprint for additional growth centers in the south side of the city, a special economic zone along the city’s economic highway, the further improvement and the construction and operation of a container port in partnership with the private sector or national agencies to handle containerized cargo to meet the need for a modern and fast means of moving goods and products.

All this plus more challenges for urbanization growth would be easier with the city government roadmap for a smart governance, or simply the integration of modern information and communication technologies.

In clear and doable terms, it gears the entire City Government to scale up progress, intensify services, increase governance efficiency in all aspects, and advance participatory governance. This will greatly impact not only the city’s economy, but of the entire province and as part of the Visayas growth corridors.

Unlike its critics and perennial loser politicians, by the national and global standards, the city government has a science-based and well-informed development agenda and governance platform, not wish list, not mere promises. The city’s summed up experiences in development work and governance have provided the best stock of lessons in strategic planning.

I am sure that Governor Bong Lacson appreciates Bacolod City’s growth and progress, and if given another fresh term, he will likely complement Mayor Leonardia’s efforts in creating a more dynamic, vibrant, inclusive, sustainable and resilient province.

From all angles, the future of Negrosanon is brighter if the tandem of the Bacolod HUC and the provincial government comes into full circle.