It has become probably a personal obsession. I always observe the few remaining days of the passing year and early days of New Year reserve for a holistic assessment of the state of my own home city San Pablo. The best way to do it is to feel the pulse of its constituent and to scrutinize the performance of its leadership. Refection of the state of the city is the mirror and shadow of its people and leadership. I assess the state of the City using some parameters as follows:
Power, Communication and Transportation
Last year in the same news paper if we recall I highlighted the vision of Mayor Vicente B Amante in an article entitled “ Year That Was”. Mayor Vic Amante emphasized then the need to lay down the basic infrastructures to put a strong base for the ultimate take off of the City to become highly urbanize and progressive. The base consists of roads and bridges to easily reach the farthest tip of the city then accessible only to people walking on foot or mounted on horse back. The feeder roads are in place, concrete and had been widened. Such serve as arteries supplying symbiotically the rustic Barangays of amenities from the Poblacion and the Poblacion is supplied with cheap goods reaped from backyard plantation. They are the blood-life of economy
Communication is no longer problem. Radios (hand held) are available and cellular phone abound. If Barangays are easy to reach it is much, much easier and faster to hear them not only in Poblacion but anywhere else around the world.. Events taking place in San Pablo can be viewed through community television channels.
Let there be light and there was light. No it was not part of the six-day creation written in Genesis of the Holy Bible but light from electricity. The far flung areas of San Pablo are lighted courtesy of Mayor Vic Amante,’s electrification program. Students need not burn their brows to learn their lesson from schools constructed too through the efforts of Mayor Vic.
Private vehicles, PUJ, Tricycles, Buses and Vans for hire sprouts like mushrooms because of crisscrossing passable streets and highways. Twenty four hour, transport is not a problem. Accessibility lures too some investors to put up plants and factories in the Barangays. Their emergence has offered some opportunities to our jobless skilled workers to earn a living within their community..
The base infrastructures triggered a gradual growth of a balance economy. Not so abrupt to dislocate some sectors but not too slow to be left behind by the neighboring towns. That is ideal. Sudden rise in economy through industrialization and modernization usually brings more social maladies if not properly managed and planned. These offset the economic gains ultimately showing a tilting balance in favor of net loss than profit.
It is not hard to visualize the effect of industrialization (sudden) to environment- depredation. Translation- polluted air, water and surrounding. Conversion- diseases among residence, animals and plants, depletion of potable water, drop in electric power supply, unabated garbage and scant delivery of basic services. That is the dictate of the law of demand and supply. There is limited supply but there is unlimited demand therefore high cost of goods and services. It is hard to allocate scarce resources to unlimited end users. Net effect - higher cost of living due to high cost of food stuff, power, water, hospitalization, housing, personal services and security. A relax and simple life eventually will turn into a rat race.
Though its easy now to enroll in different schools in the Poblacion the fear of accidents, lure of students indulgence to modern electronic wizardry and other vices obliged and duty bound the mayor to devise a scheme to involve the parents while at home to help look after their kids attending classes. How? The good mayor extended the annex high schools and day care centers to strategic locations in the Barangays. Parents can monitor their offspring, Gone were the days soon when student instead of attending schools were found belatedly addicted to vices and dropped out of school sans the knowledge of the parents.. The concept of the system to Mayor Amante, is smple. It must be responsive, inexpensive with community participation.
So that the high school graduates s will no longer venture to go in Metro Manila, a college institution is put up. The Dalubhasaan ng Lunsod ng San Pablo and soon should, from the desire of the Mayor, evolve into Pamantasan.. The institution is expected to serve thousands of poor but well deserving students.
Garbage? Every Barangay have garbage collectors collecting regularly the waste to be dumped on a modest landfill constructed to meet the requirements of law to regulate garbage pollution. San Pablo City in region four could be among the pioneer in that laudable project. The City Government has put in place a systematic garbage disposal. The Mayor wishes the people to be more responsible and cooperative in the manner of disposing of their own waste to serve the purpose of the dumpsite. The minimization of waste and it supervised disposal would control if not totally eradicate its ill side effects.
Healthy people are productive constituents. For that concept alone, the city allocated millions of pesos to see to assure that no one in San Pablo would die of any illness without being medically attended. But that is the reaction side. Millions more are allocated to preventive measures. Vaccinations were administered free, eradication of the potential sources of communicable and transmittable diseases define for remedial measures in the like of mosquitoes , rats and rabies. Dental services are in place too.
The support institutions were made available. The City has many ambulances, puericulture centers, mobile clinic and Botika sa Barangay effectively manned by Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and other health workers. Among his ambitious projects in line with free health services is the establishment of a the much maligned and constantly blocked San Pablo City General Hospital. Having tertiary hospital on its budget is gargantuan task for the city to undertake. But, who else if not me to start it? When if not now to initiate it? Those are opt repeated questions of the Mayor. I want to start it now so that my predecessor will have something to continue. A thousand mile travel starts with a small step. There is nothing I will hesitate to venture if it will advance the welfare of our people, he stresses.
Indigency Office? The office help thousands of people every year but he is not proud of it. He maintains the office because he is aware that poverty is still occupying a prominent slot in the hierarchy of national problem. Indigency program is nothing but palliative measure to alleviate for a while immediate needs. He is looking forward someday that the Office through his programs of governance would become totally irrelevant.
The training and development of mind, the refinement of taste and manner acquired by such training, the social and religious structures and intellectual and artistic manifestation that characterize a society as a whole is culture. The basic foundation of orderly society is well cultured people. That includes education and discipline manifested on how we treasure our heritage, our values and traditions, the spirit of our heroes through nationalism and pride of our distinct identity as San Pableno... The sense of belonging. teaches us to get involve and think as a member of a community.
As we look back San Pablo is starting a Museum. The projects have the all out support of the City Government. The traditions of our forefather are not only maintained these are also enhanced. We actually evolve our fiesta celebration into Cocofestival. The city corroborates in the holding of lengthen procession to commemorate the suffering of Jesus Christ. In addition to religious tone these two occasion have evolved into tourist attraction boasting too the economy. The city has embarked to in protecting or restoring land mark building and structures. Meaning we treasure our heritage and we give due recognition to the achievement of our ancestors. On the aspect of discipline there is much to be desired. But we are moving positively because of people getting aware of the need to be involved.
Put things in order and peace will follow. In San Pablo City no one is above the law. Even the mayor, his relatives and close associates observe it. From more than a decade the Honorable Mayor has been in the helm of power no one can point an accusing finger to him of committing abuses . He is too soft hearted, his main strength but probably his main weakness too.
Police and traffic enforcers are now very visible. It is pre-emptive measure to deter would be criminals. Walking the City at night is not a fearsome experience. More support is thrown to law enforcers in term of office supplies, gasoline and vehicles.. Police now can attend with dispatch to any call for assistance.
Accident among school children is rare even in the busiest streets and highways teeming with pupils and vehicles. The Barangay officials through the coordination of the Mayor involve themselves to assure the safety of children. The parents have peace of mind that their sons and daughters are not in danger from reckless drivers and other lawless elements
But what he considers as the crowning glory of his political career and leadership is the manifest trust and confidence given him by the electorate of San Pablo City. He was given a fresh mandate with a very wide margin of approval over the fact that he has little money to spend. Such approval was compounded by the fact that he has a brother re-elected too in the Sangguniang Panlunsod in the person of Dante B. Amante. The euporia did not end there. More love is pour on him by the people when his grand daughter Tintin Amante was chosen by peers to head the Sangguniang Kabataan. Probably to complete his day but I hope he will not get drunk with the so much confidence bestowed on him, another brother is sent to Sangguniang Panlunsod via presidency in the Liga ng Mga Barangay. Gener B. Amante or Ma Gener to many. And as assurance that the position will not go to other undeserving personality in case Ma Gener by twist of luck is ruled not qualified ( though even technically we find no impediment in his re-election) the extended will of the people is capped and punctuated by Carmelita “ Na Lita” was mandated to become Vice president of the Liga.
With the entire overwhelming mandate he had, the mayor cannot rest on his laurel. In his somewhat jittery voice, he categorically avers, such trust is coupled with high expectation. He hopes to live up with the measure and deliver the expectation. He only expound that he is but a human being, not a superman so please don’t expect more than I can do. I will exert all my best to fulfill the demand of my office but my limitation is there so please bear with me for I will not let you down.
I rate the present administration just very good so that there would always be forever a room for improvement. In a scale of one to ten let us give eight and a half. We have provably needed to thank the oppositions for a job well done. At least though in some aspect the fiscalising is not constructive, the administration is kept on its toe. And watch its steps. CONGRATULATION!!! (sandy belarmino/ vp seven lakes press corps)