• Mayor Lazatin vows ‘non-stop services’ in new normal
Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. is a chip off the old block. He assumed mayorship when the whole world is about to face a debilitating pandemic that shut international borders and constricted economies, something that no local chief executives had experience before. Amid the government’s interventions against the disease, from 2019 onwards, Mayor Lazatin kept a steady course borne by his 6-point Development Agenda for the city and its people. The year-on-year increase in revenues made evident of the Lazatin administration’s sterling tax collection efforts without increasing taxes. On June 29, 2023, Mayor Lazatin delivered his 4th State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Angeles Legislative Building with high hopes to pursue the delivery of “non-stop services down to the grassroots level.” Lazatin has highlighted the significant accomplishments of his administration under his fourth year in office. Here are the salient features of his speech.
The 6-point Development Agenda of the Lazatin administration
• A drug-free Angeles City
• Better Access to Public Health
• Solid Waste Management
• Youth and Sports Development, and
• Infrastructure Support
Nearly P3B Revenue Collected in Fiscal Year 2022
Reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic that affected world economies including that of Angeles City, the Lazatin administration had collected nearly P3 billion in revenues for the Fiscal Year 2022 as it continued to register a healthy financial status with a year-on-year increase. As world economies open up slowly, Mayor Lazatin had provided the economic stimulus to drive economic activities anew.
For 2022, the Angeles City LGU posted a combined revenue of P2,981,699,476.69 in local and external sources surpassing the income target of P2,859,789,832.00.
Under COVID-19 pandemic, the Angeles City LGU in 2021 recorded an income of ₱2,332,379,301.33.
Health Program ‘Cornerstone’ of Lazatin Administration
For 2023, Mayor Lazatin has allocated P557 million to health services which includes the construction of the 7-storey Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center, augmentation for the City Health Office (CHO), creation of the Renal Care Unit and procurement of medicines, including vitamin C for senior citizen. It is the highest allocation the city government has made for health services which consists of more than 25% of its annual budget.
“The health and welfare of our citizens remain our utmost priority,” according to Mayor Lazatin.
Another P70 million was also allotted for the repair of primary health care facilities in Barangays Pulungbulu, Sapangbato, Pulung Maragul, Cutud, Pampang, Anunas, Capaya, Amsic, Tabun, and Malabanias, which are to be accomplished in October 2024. More doctors, dentists, midwives, nurses and med-techs were also hired to man the said facilities.
“Records will show that a total of 70,000 patients a year are admitted and treated in ONA that is why it is imperative to improve its services and equipment.”
More CCTV Cameras
Mayor Lazatin said the Angeles LGU will install an additional 210 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across major streets starting this year until June 2024 in a bid to further improve peace and order. He emphasized the significance of an expanded surveillance system that will ensure safety and well-being of residents. The new CCTV cameras will bring to 375 the total number of CCTV cameras all over the city. The cameras are equipped with advanced features like facial recognition, plate number recognition, and speed detection.
P200M Earmarked for Computer Labs in Public Schools
Mayor Lazatin has allocated P200 million to establish state-of-the-art computer laboratories in all 54 public schools to equip students with essential technological skills and global competitiveness. He emphasized the importance of providing quality education despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, recognizing the pivotal role of technology in modern education, aiming to bridge the digital divide and ensuring students have access to the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
The amount will be utilized to create cutting-edge computer laboratories in each public school, facilitating a dynamic and interactive learning environment. The Lazatin administration remains committed to bridging the educational gap and creating a brighter future for the youth.
Drug-free Public Transportation
Mayor Lazatin said the city will carry out “Oplan Harabas: Drug Test Muna Bago Pasada” in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that will pave way for the mandatory drug tests on public transportation drivers to ensure their operations are free from illegal drugs. He said PDEA’s “Oplan Harabas” serves as a proactive measure to guarantee the safety and security of commuters in Angeles City. By prioritizing drug testing among public transportation drivers, the city seeks to eliminate any potential risks associated with drug-influenced driving to protect the well-being of passengers.
Balay Silangan Reformation Center to Expand Operations
Mayor Lazatin has announced that Balay Silangan Reformation Center will operate at maximum capacity. This, as the city government continues with its drug-clearing initiatives. Under its expanded operations, the center will soon accommodate a greater number of patients, providing them with comprehensive rehabilitation services. It highlights the city government’s unwavering commitment to reforming drug dependents and reintegrating them into society as productive citizens who abide by the law. The Balay Silangan Reformation Center serves as a beacon of hope for individuals seeking a fresh start and liberation from the grip of drug addiction.
Lazatin Seeks Stewardship of Sapangbato Watershed
Mayor Lazatin said he will urge the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to permit the city government to manage the 560-hectare watershed in the upland area of Barangay Sapangbato. “Now that that the new leadership of BCDA is our Cabalen, we will ask President Joshua Bingcang to award the stewardship of the 560-hectare watershed in Barangay Sapangbato to the Angeles City Government, to which the agency earlier agreed in principle,” said Mayor Lazatin. The Angeles LGU led by Mayor Lazatin had already planted 72,000 mixed seedlings from June to December 2022 in cooperation with the Abacan River and Angeles Watershed – Advocacy Council Inc. (ARAW) headed by businessman Renato “Abong” Tayag.
13,000 Housing Units
Mayor Lazatin has signed an agreement with Secretary Jerry Acuzar of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSHUD) for the construction of 13,000 affordable housing units in Barangay Mining. This is in line with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.;s “Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing Program.” The housing units are expected to be available in 2025. Said Mayor Lazatin: “Our efforts to provide decent housing for our constituents, including government workers and teachers, will continue as we identify new areas where we can construct more affordable housing units.”
The Lazatin administration will embark on the use of renewable energy by converting its streetlights into solar-powered lamps as supplement to the environmental management efforts of the city government in 2024. Government offices in Angeles City are also planning to use solar-generated electricity while the LGU also urge Angeleños to protect the environment to contain the effects of climate change.
The Angeles City economy is bullish with Mayor Lazatin at the forefront as he continuously pushing the local economy back to its pre-pandemic level. The Angeles LGU is currently supporting local entrepreneurs through the Angeles City Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office (ACEDIPO), which revived the city’s One Town, One Product (OTOP) program. It now operates with four OTOP store – two at the City Hall premises, one near the Heritage District and one at a hotel in Angeles City. Some 21 local merchants are currently displaying products at the following stores.
Mayor Lazatin says he will also promote food products not only in the city but in various markets outside of the city as the city government extends technical support to small enterprises for them to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and likewise assist them in packaging and marketing.•