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In July 2004, Atty. Oscar S. Rodriguez took over the reins of the City Government of San Fernando as the Local Chief Executive. The executive and legislative branches of the Local Government Unit (LGU) joined forces to lay down the foundation for a better City of San Fernando. Set on a tone and an atmosphere of high hopes, the vision and mission of the City were formulated focusing on the Citys core competencies its unharnessed possibilities, strategic location and the administration complement to the seat of good government. The eight (8) point agenda were clearly enhanced in the 5 Performance areas of local governance, to wit: administration, social services, environmental management, economic development and governance. In its first 100 days in office, the Rodriguez administration laid the foundation of effective governance thru its Eight (8) Point Agenda of which encompassed education, health, transportation and communication, trade and industry, environmental management, public safety and order, culture and heritage preservation and good governance. 1 EDUCATION Quality education has always been the top priority of the Rodriguez administration. Thus, a citywide Education Summit was head to pin down the obstacles to quality education. This is the very first Joint Education Summit in Central Luzon, with the theme Schools First Initiative for Improved Delivery of Education Services, provided the basis for further planning of programs and projects to address the problems confronting the education sector in the city and to arrest the further deterioration of the quality of education. Alongside the summit is the reorientation of the Local School Board to make it more dynamic, pro-active and responsive in the planning and implementation of educational programs and projects. The 1st Education Summit in the City made us realize how sorry the state of education is in the country and the city. To address our specific circumstances in the City, we created the Education Governing Council at the City Level, initiated the Schools First Initiative, strengthened mechanisms for stakeholders participation in the planning and budgeting process by re-orienting the Local School Board. Last month, we established 4 more new Integrated schools and started to build 27 two-storey school buildings worth 100M by availing a loan package from the Landbank. Other innovative measures undertaken by the City Government towards the improvement of education are the Scholarship in Education for Empowerment and Development (SEED) for deserving poor students, and the Outstanding Campus Achievement (OCA) Award for excellence in academics, leadership, culture and arts, and athletics. Notable too are the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) that involved students in the recently-conducted Citywide Household Survey, and the Summer Theatre Festival that was participated in by the youth from the citys 35

barangays, who staged original plays dealing with relevant social issues intended to increase public awareness and understanding. The City Government worked for the establishments of the integrated high schools in Barangays Panipuan and Lara to draw students from the citys remote barangays in the north, thereby facilitating the delivery of secondary education services in these areas and at the same time decongesting the Pampanga High School. Also, the city continues to maintain its Information, Communication and Technology High School for which it seeks national funding support, it being the citys only secondary educational facility offering primarily an IT curriculum.

2 HEALTH Under its preventive health care program, the city government makes available free basic medical services to more citizens, and ensures that specialized medical services are made more affordable to the people, particularly indigents. The city is continually upgrading its diagnostic unit to serve the laboratory needs of its poor, and encourages more donations of health and medical equipment to augment the citys health facilities like dialysis machines and medical gear from NGOs, private individuals and Balikbayans and well as the national government. A 24-hour emergency response team is on call to make medical and other services available to the citys residents. In the citys rural health units are physical therapists who conduct home visitations particularly on elderly indigents who could not afford the rehabilitative treatments. A wider Philhealth card coverage has been instituted to benefit the poorest of the poor to drive their need for medical needs and concerns. Also operational is the social hygiene clinic of the City Health Office to be able to proactively address the reproductive care of women particularly in the entertainment industry.

3 TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION A vibrant economy means more movement of people, goods and services. The creation of a central terminal for all transport facilities serving the city has begun to further enhance the citys potential as the gateway to northern, eastern and western part of Luzon.

The citys traffic has become a joint concern of both public and private sectors because it will become a big deterrent to a highly expanding and rapidly growing economy if left unattended. It is along this area that the public-private partnership of the Rodriguez administration has succeeded and been widely perceived and appreciated. The present administration wants to make government services really accessible to the public. By inviting government agencies to come back and re-establish their regional offices here, having moved out to adjacent places during the lahar days, the city will once again become a new core of government centers with skilled human resources, computerization, transparency and accountability in government transactions in the demand for public services. The upgrading of telecommunication facilities will support the transformation of the city into an alternate government center in the region in the light of GMAs 10 point agenda.

4 TRADE AND INDUSTRY Several major undertakings were taken on by the local government to boost trade and industry in the city. Improvement of the citys economic activity in the Poblacion is seen in the move to rehabilitate the old public market. The newly constructed double A slaughterhouse will make the city a major source of quality meat and meat products renowned all over the country in our meat processing industry. We will attract more patrons with this new development. The city governments efforts to rehabilitate the southern and western parts of San Fernando will result to an influx of people and revived business in those once-blighted areas. The citys firefighting capacity has been similarly enhanced. Peace and security have seen improvement. A disaster contingency plan is in place, making Fernandinos feel more secure in their homes and workplaces. Construction of the New Central Transport Terminal which began in June 2006 is undertaken in partnership with a private group at no expense to the City Government. Improvement of its network of roads and highways that are under flood waters each year is likewise seen as a big factor in easing the citys traffic problem. A livelier exchange of goods and services has taken place with the opening of doors to more banks and other financial institutions that now render support to small and medium enterprises in their product development, trainings as well as capital needs.


The city government sees to it that the increased economic activity ensuing from these development efforts will not pose serious ecological problems in the city. Thus, solid waste management and other environmental protection measures are being enforced so as not to, says Mayor Oca create a serious disequilibrium between the people and their habitat. In the serious effort to implement the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the government remains vigilant in maintaining the citys cleanliness and enforces proper garbage disposal in its barangays. The recent conversion of the citys open dumpsite into a controlled one has posed the urgent need to make the people aware of the importance of garbage segregation and the penalties for non-compliance of the law. Campaigns have started to stress the publics role in the successful implementation of this law.

The continuance of the river project is the ecologically-sound solution to the need to rehabilitate the San Fernando River mainly as a flood control measure and secondary, as. a proud part of the Fernandinos heritage. Furthermore, its restoration and that of other heritage points in the city, as well as the increase in tourism-oriented activities will strengthen the citys position on the tourists map.

6 PUBLIC SAFETY AND ORDER The peace and order situation in San Fernando is always given high priority in local governance because the Rodriguez Administration believes that progress can only be attained if the people remain secure in their homes and in their communities. Thus, the local government places high premium on public safety and order. This vigilance is demonstrated by the apprehension of unlawful elements by the local police. Worth mentioning is the foiled robbery attempt on a bank inside one of the citys shopping malls. The tragic Popongs Swerte Mart fire during the ea rly days of this administration prompted the city government to modernize its fire fighting capability despite the lack of support from the national government.

7 CULTURE PRESERVATION Looking back to the past in moving towards the future is a truism fully accepted by the present city government. It has therefore outlined its own history and culture program that will preserve the remnants of the past that are found in the city, and revive the long-dormant aspects of Fernandino and Kapampangan culture. San Fernando has long been known for its giant lanterns and spectacular Lenten practices. Capitalizing on this, the city government is bent on enhancing public-private partnership in attracting

visitors to the city. It has taken the main role in the orderly conduct of its festivals and other tourism activities like the Piyestang Tugak, the Cityhood anniversary and the annual city fiesta which are slowly creating ripples in the domestic tourism scene. This heritage preservation thrust is supported by the success of the move to integrate Kapampangan culture in schools curriculum. Schools in the city have begun teaching this subject this school year, using the curriculum developed by the Technical Working Group organized for this purpose. In addition, the heritage program is enriched by the continuous search for historical legacies like heritage houses and the San Fernando Train Station, by emphasizing the role of Fernandino heroes and heroines, as well as by the showcasing of the songs, dances and dramatic arts of San Fernando, and Pampanga as a whole, by the citys cultural group, Batwin Fernandino, and the Theatre Guild of the Pampanga High School. The newly-organized Magsilbi Tamu Brass Band has proven very helpful in drawing public interest and attention not only to its lively Kapampangan music but more importantly, to the conduct of government activities in the barangays.

8 GOOD GOVERNANCE The aforementioned plans, programs and projects have all been initiated by Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez with the full support of the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Edwin D. Santiago, the department heads, city hall employees, the private sector, and NGOs, including the Association of Barangay Captains and the Association of Barangay Kagawad. Their continuance depends on the administrations determination to fully implement existing tax laws that will be the basis for collecting the revenues needed to finance it. The annual Real Property Tax collection encountered challenges at the start of the calendar year. These prompted the city government to undertake necessary executive and legislative measures to the extent of suspending the imposition of the new schedule of fair market values of real property in the city. However, additional revenues have been collected due to the proper implementation of health, sanitary, building and business ordinances, among others. Vice Mayor Santiago steers the City Council in carrying out its active role in the adoption and passage of resolutions and ordinances for the well-being of the Fernandinos. To make this more effective, the City Council continues to involve the local populace in legislation via various public hearings that serve as venues for their suggestions and recommendations.

The Fernandinos hold in high esteem the present administration for its transparency and accountability. In reporting regularly its different projects and programs to the people, it uses its Magsilbi Tamu Newsletter which comes out quarterly, produces the Magsilbi Tamu on TV program which is shown on TV once a month, and taps local radio stations and community gatherings for disseminating information. Furthermore, public accountability is reinforced when the people see how government is brought closer to them. Through his Magsilbi Tamu Goes to the Barangay program, Mayor Rodriguez brings government services directly to the grassroots and at the same time gets the public pulse for a more responsive governance. As mentioned before, the participation of the private sector in local governance has become a trademark of the Rodriguez administration. This sector has taken a major role in some of the city governments projects, such as the Giant Lantern Festi val, Frog Festival, Cityhood Anniversary, Pyestang Fernandino, Independence Day celebration and many others. All in all, public response to these endeavors has proven that governance in the City of San Fernando has become highly credible, efficient and effective. This administration is all out in its advocacy for transparency and public accountability which is strengthened with the Magsilbi Tamu Goes to the Barangays program offering government services directly to the grassroots level of the community for more responsive governance