Last week, I delivered my third State of the City Address (SOCA) in an austere setting held at the Manila City Council’s session hall, where I was joined by both elected and appointed city officials serving in Manila.
As tradition would have it, I am obligated to present to the citizens of Manila what the city government had been doing for the past year and how their money is being spent.
With all humility, despite the difficulties brought about by COVID-19 which halted all economic activities not only in the city but in the whole world, the local government of Manila managed to deliver at least the most basic services specially to the members of the underprivileged sector who are hardest hit by the pandemic.
On a monthly basis and without miss, the city had been providing financial assistance to 15,000 senior citizens; 1,800 persons with disability; 5,000 solo parents; 17,000 college students and 5,000 Grade 12 students.
About 700,000 families also benefit from the city’s COVID-19 Food Security Program (FSP) wherein food boxes containing staples like rice, coffee and canned goods are distributed monthly to mitigate hunger brought on by poverty resulting from the pandemic. This program had been ongoing for six months now.
A total of 22,563 individuals have been rescued by the city’s emergency and rescue units; 3,742 families who were displaced by fire were given financial assistance while 8,548 homeless people were taken care of.
About 460 PWDs received free wheelchairs and 3,000 youngsters with special needs were attended to.
With regard the pandemic, we launched before New Year’s Eve the city’s online registration in readiness for our mass vaccination program that was begun in March. As early as January 5, the city also signed a contract for the procurement of 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines while in April, we also signed an agreement for the purchase of 400,000 doses of Sinovac.
The series of simulation exercises we held paid off as we now operate 22 sites per vaccination day, for an extended period of 14 hours or from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., which goes way beyond since our vaccination teams administer the vaccines as long as there are people queuing, if and when needed vaccines are available.
No less than Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna spearheads the mass vaccination program which also provides ‘home service’ for those who are bedridden or are physically unable to go to the vaccination sites.
Apart from our quarantine facilities, continued free RT-PCR testing and the construction of a molecular testing laboratory and storage facility, the city was also able to build the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital, which has a 344-bed capacity, in record 52 days.
Modern housing projects have also been introduced for the benefit of the homeless and renters. Aside from the Tondominium 1, Tondonminium 2 and Binondominium which are now 50 percent complete, we also have the BaseCommunity and the upcoming San Sebastian Residences, San Lazaro Residences and Pedro Gil Residences.
Notably, the number of new business applications in the city increased to 4,829 from January 1 to June 25, 2021 compared to 2,933 for the same period last year. Real property tax collection is already at 71.36 percent for the first half of 2021 alone and overall revenue collection was at P19,177,099,394 from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, which is equivalent to a 50.71 percent increase compared to last year.
In the aspect of education, a total of 137,217 tablets loaded with SIM cards were distributed to public school students from kinder to senior high school, while around 11,000 laptops were given to public school teachers.
For the current school year, the city will be procuring 60,820 additional tablets for newly-enrolled public school students.
We have also allotted P120,600,000 worth of internet data good for four months which can cover around 201,000 K-12 students.
Plans are also underway for the construction of public schools that will be at par with private schools. AroundP2 billion had been allotted for the construction of Dr. Alejandro Albert Elementary School; P1.9 billion for Rosauro Almario Elementary School and P1.3 billion for the construction Manila Science High School.
A product of public school myself, all we simply want is for public school students to enjoy what those in the private educational institutions experience. With God’s help, we can achieve this.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘Isko Moreno Domagoso.’