In her Inaugural Address, Mayor Belmonte spelled out the directions of her Administration, detailing its priorities for its first 100 days in office. She quoted from the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1-8, which starts, “for everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
She said that her Administration will focus on “service with a heart,” prioritizing shelter for the homeless, social services, education and public health. She will look into the needs of the 188,549 informal settlers in the city who are living in danger areas and in private properties, and come up with a realistic shelter program by restructuring the city’s Housing, Community Development and Resettlement Department to strengthen its ability to provide technical services and hasten the process of land tenureship. She will also push for the development of a new shelter plan to guide the selection of beneficiaries so that those who are truly deserving are benefitted.
She aims to have a greater impact at addressing the homeless population of the city than the 36 Bistekville housing communities established by her predecessor, Mayor Herbert Bautista, which she said only benefitted less than one percent of the city’s informal settler population.
To improve on social services, Mayor Belmonte vowed to raise the burial assistance for indigents, from the current Php 10,000 to Php 25,000. To enhance the benefits of public health support, she committed to increase medical assistance from Php 3,000 to Php 5,000, with guidelines in the qualification of beneficiaries. She will also see to the funding of the city government’s social protection programs, as mandated by ordinances, and expand the beneficiaries of public education programs.
She will see to the establishment of a Solo Parent Welfare Office to cater to the growing number of solo parents in the city, as well as to give fulfillment to ordinances supporting the plight of solo parents.
Commiserating with the plight of fire victims, Mayor Belmonte said that she will see to it that a system is set up where financial assistance to fire victims can be given within 3 to 5 days, instead of the usual three to six months.
In the area of education, Mayor Belmonte will tap the Special Education Fund to construct the Bagbag Integrated High School in Novaliches. She will use Public Private Partnership arrangements to be able to provide free eye, medical and dental checkups to public school students. To improve on job opportunities for graduates, she will establish a free TESDA assessment center for senior high school tech voc graduates.
To fill in critical gaps in the city’s public health programs, she vowed to make sure that every health center had at least one doctor, instead of one doctor for every three centers. She will also make sure that all health centers are well-stocked with medicines, responsive to health profiles of residents, and that the new Rosario Maclang General Hospital is fully operational. She promised free maintenance medicines for senior citizens, drugs for leptospirosis and mental health problems, and free basic laboratory tests in super health centers.
Key to the effectiveness of her Administration will be:
- Establishment of accurate baseline data
- Strong internal governance and housekeeping
- Strategic planning and goal setting, with all planning to be completed within 100 days
Accurate baseline data will enable the crafting of programs that are tailor-fitted to target constituency needs. It will also help conserve resources since the number of beneficiaries of programs are better known.
Her first Executive Order will be to create an Internal Audit Service under the Office of the Mayor. This is consistent with her commitment to establish good governance in the city. She will be intolerant towards corruption, considering such acts as “betrayal of public trust,” while incentivizing honest behavior.
Her Administration will be a transparent government. With the support of the City Council, she would like a Freedom of Information (FOI) ordinance enacted in Quezon City, which will be a first for a local government. She will also see to it that a feedback mechanism is established where the public can air their concerns, comments, as well as recommendations for improved governance.
She would like to see a fully automated Quezon City Government within one year or earlier, in compliance with the Ease of Doing Business law, to provide much greater convenience to the public in their transactions with the city government.
On the city government’s available funds, Mayor Belmonte declared that, of the reported Php 26.5 billion cash-on-hand and in-bank left by the previous Administration, Php 4.6 billion were funds in trust, Php 2 billion were tied to long-term investments, and Php 14.3 billion were payables. Even with the addition of a projected Php 6.4 billion collectible from taxes and fees for the next six months of the year, the deduction of Php 10.4 billion in projected expenses for the next six months would leave only a Php 1.6 billion end-of-year General Fund cash position.