Radaza: More taxes, tourism

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

HIGHER tax collection, better roads, more investments and a more aggressive tourism effort were among the accomplishments Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza reported to her constituents yesterday.

Radaza, who delivered her 45-minute State of the City Address in the Hoops Dome at 10 a.m., said economic activities in the city have increased, with over 11,000 businesses operating this year, up by 60 percent from last year.

Huge investments, including the P30-billion Mactan Newtown of Megaworld, have also poured in, she said.


She also welcomed the construction of a new airport, which the Megawide-GMR consortium will undertake at a cost of P17.5 billion.

Radaza reported that the City Treasurer’s Office increased its collection by 36 percent this year. She thanked the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for paying nearly P200 million in taxes.

Of the amount, P74 million will go to the City’s coffers, P32 million to the barangays hosting the airport, P76 million to Special Education Fund, and P8 million to the City’s Trust Fund.

The City has been demanding that the MCIAA pay P1.79 billion in real property taxes and penalties.

Radaza’s report was attended by an estimated 8,000 people coming from various sectors, including students, City Hall workers, and persons with disabilities.

Schools, roads

She reiterated her promise to bring down the city’s shortage of classrooms by 50 percent.

She said the City built 131 classrooms last year, reducing the shortage to 337. The City is set to build 88 more.

Radaza also showed the new City College building in Barangay Gun-ob.

She reported that the City has repaired and concreted 26 kilometers of roads, or 70 percent of the city roads, since 2012.

“Being a highly urbanized city with a fast increasing number of new business establishments, I have seen to it that our city roads are well-maintained,” she said.

She asked her constituents to bear with the inconvenience caused by the road repair in Barangay Basak, saying the Department of Public Works and Highways has assured the project will be completed by next month or early October.

Traffic czar

The road repair is being undertaken for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit next year.

After the ongoing road projects are completed, Radaza said she will appoint a “traffic czar” who will study the city’s traffic situation and come up with solutions to the city’s traffic problems.

To address flooding, Radaza said the City has installed a 1.2-kilometer parallel drainage along George Tampus St. in Basak. Annual drainage cleanup is also being done.

Drainage systems are also being installed along Bankal and Pajac road.

Radaza also announced that the City will soon put up a sewage treatment plant in Basak, and two more in Buaya and Poblacion.

“These facilities will ensure that all our waste water will be safe for disposal and without contaminants,” she said.

In social welfare, Radaza reported that the City has supported the education of 138 out-of-school youths through the Alay Lakad scholarship.

Sports tourism

The City also opened the Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center for children with disabilities last May. The facility has served 454 children to date.

Radaza said the City also employed 31 persons with disabilities and helped four others get a job in the private sector.

She also announced that the City has allocated P11.1 million to help informal settlers acquire lots for their permanent homes.

In sports, the mayor said organizers of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines “have expressed their desire” for Lapu-Lapu City to host the international event for another three years.

Radaza said the City has constructed the Skate Park to “further boost our sports tourism.”

She announced that vacant spaces in the Hoops Dome will soon house nine indoor games.

New brand

To lure more tourists, Radaza said the City launched its brand: The Historic Resort City.

“The city brand will tell the world who we are, what this city will become and how we would like this city to be in the future,” she said.

“The branding of our city will be our guiding post to create a Lapu-Lapu that is a cut above the rest, a city that we will all be proud of,” she added.

To maintain peace and order, Radaza said the City has set aside P5 million to install
139 sets of environment-friendly LED lights along M.L. Quezon Highway.

She also commended Senior Supt. Armando Radoc, chief of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO), for his campaign against illegal drugs.

‘I commit’

During the first half of the year, the police arrested 147 persons involved in the illegal drugs trade.

Radaza also reported that the City and the LLCPO have increased tourist police personnel from 69 to 90, with the increasing number of local and foreign tourists.

On environment, Radaza said the City has stepped up efforts to protect the City’s marine habitat.

It launched the “I Commit” campaign to educate tourists and the public about the importance of preserving the City’s marine habitats, particularly corals.

“Since we rely on our seas for tourism and livelihood, we must protect it at all cost,” she said.

As for health, Radaza announced that the City’s hunger mitigation program has proven effective, with the city having the lowest malnutrition rate since 2006 at 1.28 percent. She also reported improvements at the City Hospital and announced that the City has allocated funds to establish health facilities in Olango Island.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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