Valenzuela City’s ‘culture of empowering governance’ credited for recognition as safest city

Published April 10, 2018, 4:26 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian today credited Valenzuela City’s “culture of empowering governance” as the driving force behind its recognition as the safest city in the Philippines, and one of the safest in all of Southeast Asia.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Citing a report released by Numbeo, a respected online database often cited by major publications across the world, Gatchalian said Valenzuela City was ranked as the second safest city in Southeast Asia, surpassed only by the first-world city-state of Singapore.

Valenzuela bested four other Philippine cities in the top 10: Davao (4th), Makati (5th), Baguio (6th), and Cebu (8th).

“The people of Valenzuela City have spent years building a culture of empowering governance that makes basic social services and economic opportunities widely available to all residents, especially the poorest of the poor,’’ he said.

Gatchalian said this has been a significant deterrent against crime in our city.

He served as mayor and congressman of Valenzuela City for 15 years before he was elected to the Senate in 2016. He is chairman of the Senate energy and economic affairs commitees.

Gatchalian explained that equitable access to education, healthcare, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities provided by the city government to its constituents have virtually eliminated the need for Valenzuelanos to resort to crime to provide for their families.

“I believe that the most common motivation behind crime is a desperate need to put food on the dinner table, pay for a family member’s hospital bill, or to make sure that your child has enough baon (stipend) to survive at school. In Valenzuela City, these needs are met through local social services programs. We take care of our own, and this empowers Valenzuelanos to resist the temptation of crime and become full-fledged partners in our drive to build a better city and a better country for all,” he said.

Gatchalian also highlighted the city’s resilient fight against corruption as an important component of Valenzuela’s low crime rate.

“Unfortunately, corruption is one of the most common crimes in the Philippines, often driven by greed more than desperation. Thankfully in Valenzuela City our public servants – from rank-and-file employees all the way up to the chief executive – are committed to providing corruption-free governance,” he said.

Having made the transition from local leader to national legislator, Gatchalian said he would work hard to champion legislation to nationalize the best practices of Valenzuela’s culture of empowering governance.

“We can reduce crime and make the Philippines a safer country by ensuring that Filipinos have universal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Desperation and poverty fuel the flames of crime and corruption, but empowered citizens build safe cities and safe countries,” Gatchalian added.