• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
“One Victorias, for all of us.”
This is how Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez capped his first nine-months report on April 12 at the Don Alejandro Acuña Yap Quiña Arts and Cultural Center in Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
Benitez bared his administration’s first nine-month accomplishments, developments, and future projects which will lay the foundation of the Sidlak Victorias Global City.
“We will pave the way for the brilliance of the bright future of Victorias to shine. And together, we will do our best to make sure that it will radiate the brightest in our lifetime,” the mayor said in his speech.
Mayor Javi also revealed that the master plan for the Sidlak Victorias Global City (SVGC) and the design for the new government center are already in the works.
The site plan and the site in context were presented in his report.
SVGC site has a total area of 22.37 hectares, which will include a transport pavilion, retail and commercial area, government center pavilion, and arts, housing, and innovation districts.
The Mayor also revealed that they had commissioned the Carlos Arnaiz Architects or CAZA, an international architecture and design firm based in Brooklyn, New York to create the SVGC master plan.
BUILDING THE CRADLES OF SOCIETIES
To continue creating the building blocks of SVGC, Mayor Javi emphasized the LGU’s investment in its education sector, from students, teachers, and parents.
The Inclusive Learning Support System or ILS System is launched to provide material support to facilitate high-quality education and is aimed to address the current needs of the city’s education sector.
Under the ILS System are the provision of 711 SMART TVs for classrooms, 924 laptops for the teachers, and 3,555 tablets for the students.
He also emphasized that aside from these provisions, ILS System shall also provide teaching and learning materials, classrooms, and even in-school medical and dental support.
The city government of Victorias also allocated P4 million for the improvement of sports facilities at Victorias National High School. This will cover the building of a football pitch, renovation of the oval, and rebuilding of the school basketball court.
This is following the announcement that Victorias City will host the area meet in 2024.
A new education project was also revealed by Benitez. The Uplifting Life Program or U-Life is intended for out-of-school youths, working adults, and those who wanted to upskill for better employment opportunities.
FULL SPEED AHEAD
Mayor Javi also included in his report the projects for local farmers and livestock raisers.
Following the provision of 100 piglets to Victorias Integrated Livestock Raising Association members and 34 carabaos for San Antonio Farmers in February, the bidding for the Carabao Farm was conducted yesterday.
The LGU plans to supply carabao-based products through the sustainable project for community-based carabao raisers.
On the current progress of the ongoing projects, Benitez said that in this quarter, the construction of the new design of Abelardo Remedios Bantug Memorial Hospital (ARBMH) has already started.
ARBMH will bring amplified medical services for all Victoriahanons.
The design of the P55 million evacuation and multi-purpose center is also soon to be done, with construction expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Under Project VECTOR, the CCTV and Command Centers are 70% complete.
The city government established the Victorias City Public Safety and Security Command Center that will supervise the command centers.
Alongside the evacuation center, a Sidlak Victorias Media Production Center will rise. This will be the heart of the city’s information, education, and communication campaigns.
Mayor Javi also reported Victorias City recorded a 36 percent increase in tax collection as of January this year. From P23.135 million last year, the LGU was able to collect P31.536 million, a growth of more than P8 million.
There was also an increase in the number of taxpayers in the city. From 924 last year, the city now has a total of 1070 taxpayers. A significant increase of 146 taxpayers was recorded.
“It truly reflects the confidence of our business owners and taxpayers in our vision, leadership, and administration of the city,” Mayor Javi said in his speech.
The RP Mission and Development Foundation Inc. hailed Mayor Javi as one of the top three Western Visayas City mayors.
Mayor Javi expressed his appreciation for the commendation.
“We want to thank the independent organization who ran this survey, because of this latest recognition, we will keep pushing to the limit of what is possible in terms of local government performance,” he said.
As Mayor Javi pointed out in his speech, these initiatives and programs will serve as the foundation of the much bigger plans for Victorias.
“The Sidlak Global City will need a fundamental stronghold to sustain it. We need people who are equipped and ready. We need an economy that is conducive to growth. And, we need a government that is responsive and forward-looking,” he stressed.*