Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said implementing universal healthcare (UHC), improving social services, and delivering a more “people-centered” form of governance are among his priorities for his second term.
In his State of the City Address (SOCA) on “Araw ng Pasig,” July 2, Sotto assured citizens that the Pasig City local government will be one of the first LGUs to implement UHC.
“Isusulong po natin, sa tulong ng ating bagong konseho, ang ating universal healthcare legislative package at iba pang mga legislation na kailangan natin para sa serbisyong pangkalusugan (With the help of our new city council, we will craft a universal healthcare legislative package and other legislations needed for our health services),” Sotto said.
These include ordinances for a special health fund, mental health, mandatory health-related data reporting of private healthcare providers, dengue vector-control, and the creation of various health councils.
Sotto said they are “on their way” to providing UHC, citing the establishment of the Mega Dialysis Center, and the implementation of zero-balance billing in hospitals.
In the next three years, Sotto said he aims to increase the capacity and quality of service of their healthcare centers and to fix any procurement issues in securing medicines to avoid discrepancies and delays.
They will continue the digitalization and centralization of health-medical records that have been simulated in some pilot barangays in the city. Sotto said they are in the second phase of the program.
There are also plans to convert the Pasig City Children’s Hospital (PCCH) into a general hospital in order to cater to more patients and Pasigueños.
For social services, the local government formally launched the Local Senior Pensions (LSP) program on July 2, wherein 16,000 qualified senior citizens will be given P500 per month.
For housing, the mayor reiterated the “no demolition without proper relocation” policy, and the on-going processing of disputed lands in the barangays in the city. Some of the lands that have been bought by the local government are planned for medium or low-rise housing projects.
He also shared that the overall “ambitious goal” or target of the city’s housing program is “zero informal settler families (ISF) within this decade.”
For education, Sotto said he will be working to expand the scholarship program and further institutionalize the sports development program.
Notably, the local governments plans on construction and renovation of the Pasig City Mind Museum and the improvement of the Pasig City Library.
They are also aiming to be recognized as the “most business-friendly city to attract more businesses and investors of all scales.”
The local government will implement the Pasig City Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (PEIP) and craft the Business Development or Local Economic Development Plan, as well as including the informal economy in their policies.
Sotto stressed the need for partnerships with civil society organizations (CSOs) to facilitate a “people-centered” form of governance in the city.
“Palalakasin natin ang mga mekanismo ng pakikilahok at pagiging inklusibo ng ating gobyerno…Alam natin na pag maging inklusibo ang pamamalakad at pamahalaan, gumaganda rin ang serbisyo. Nagiging mas responsibo sa mga pangangailangan ng tao ang ating gobyerno (We will strengthen the mechanisms of public participation and inclusivity in our government. We know that inclusive governance yields better quality of services. Our government is more responsive to the needs of our people),” Sotto said.
In terms of policy direction, Sotto stood firm on his anti-corruption stance, condemning the corrupt practices in the past such as the “diploma system” and the kickbacks in contracts in the former bidding process.
Due to their reforms of the bidding and procurement process — making it more open and transparent to the public, Sotto said the local government saved more than P2.5 billion in funds in the last three years.
Lastly, Sotto called on all citizens of Pasig City to unite, not for politics or politicians, but for pushing genuine, meaningful and long-term change in the city.
“Let us work together to denormalize corruption, to normalize good governance, to institutionalize transparency, participation and accountability in our governance,” Sotto said.
He reminded everyone that they achieved many things that were deemed “impossible,” and that they are in the midst of “changing the culture of our government, and our way of governance, along with the culture of our city and the nation.”
His commitment to progressive change remains and will continue, he stressed.
“Asahan po ninyo na paiigtingin pa natin ang lahat ng nasimulan na natin dahil malinaw ang tinig ng taumbayan, ng Pasigueño. Tuloy-tuloy ang agos, ang pagbabago sa ating lungsod Pasig (You can expect that we will strengthen all that we have started because the voice of the people, of Pasigueños is clear. Change continues in Pasig City),” Sotto said.