Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte assured QCitizens of continued honest and clean governance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was guaranteed by Belmonte during her third State of the City Address (SOCA) on Monday, saying there would be no letup in the delivery of services to her constituents, including permanent housing for informal settlers and poor residents.
“Ang katiyakan ng paninirahan ang isa sa mga pangunahing isyu sa ating lungsod, lalo na para sa ating informal settler families. Kaya noon pa man, masigasig tayong naghahanap ng mga paraan para masolusyunan ang napakatagal nang problema ng pabahay,” said Belmonte.
As part of her effort to address the pressing housing problem, the QC government purchased six parcels of land in three barangays with a total area of 22.5 hectares.
“Maningning itong halimbawa ng pagtutulungan ng mga mamamayan at gobyerno, upang makamtan ang tunay na pag-unlad. Mula sa kawalan ng katiyakan, patungo sa kapanatagan ng loob. Mula sa pangamba patungo sa pag-asa. Mula sa kawalan ng seguridad, taas-noo ngayong nagpapakilala bilang ganap na residente ng Quezon City,” Belmonte said.
Based on its Shelter Plan, Belmonte said the city government has initiated various housing programs — Direct Purchase, Direct Sale and Community Mortgage Program – with the goal of providing permanent housing to 17,674 families in her first term.
The Mayor added that she has established temporary homes for vulnerable sectors, including senior citizens (Bahay Aruga), rescued families and street children (Bahay Kalinga), children in conflict with the law (Molave Youth Home, and victims of domestic violence (Bahay Kanlungan).
She also launched the No Woman Left Behind program for women detainees at the QC Female Dormitory to give them an opportunity for a second chance through education and livelihood opportunities.
“Kahit na iyong mga naligaw ng landas, iyong pinakanangangailangan, at iyong mga batang may espesyal na pangangailangan, lahat aabutin ng Kalingang-QC,” said Belmonte.
In her first term, Belmonte provided health insurance coverage for more than 6,000 plantilla employees of the city government where they can get P100,000 maximum benefit per illness every year, including annual medical examination and dental coverage.
The City Council also approved an ordinance providing health insurance to 1,156 barangay officials.
“Pinag-aaralan natin ngayon ang iba-ibang options upang mabigyan din ng health insurance ang ating 13,376 na contractual employees sapagkat batid natin ang kahalagahan ng medical benefit para sa lahat ng ating mga lingkod bayan,” she added.
Despite the pandemic, Belmonte also reported that the city recorded its highest revenue of P22 billion last year, which is also the highest among local government units all over the country.
“Kahit inilaan natin ang malaking bahagi ng ating budget sa pagtugon sa COVID-19, may naipon pa tayong 24.6 billion pesos, na lampas pa sa ating pondo bago pumasok ang 2019 at ang pandemya,” she stressed.
For the first time in the city’s history, Belmonte said QC has received an “unmodified opinion” or “clean opinion” from the Commission on Audit (COA) for the year 2020.
“Nagawa nating bantayan ang kaban ng bayan kahit may umiiral na krisis. Sa unang yugto pa lamang, tiniyak na natin na mayroong istruktura ng pagbabantay, may istriktong alituntunin, at mga tapat na opisyal na mahigpit na tututok para masigurong tapat ang inyong gobyerno,” said Belmonte.
Belmonte also cited the city’s gains in the fight against COVID-19, including the vaccination of more than 100 percent of its target of 1.7 million, equivalent to 80 percent of the eligible population.
“Samantala, dalawang tulog na lang, maaabot na rin ang target natin na 100% o 1.7M fully vaccinated adults,” said Belmonte, adding that the city government has already vaccinated 2,541 children with comorbidities.
She also mentioned some of the city’s projects that helped fight COVID, including the HOPE Community Caring Facilities, Quezon City Molecular Laboratory, Central Pharmacy Management System, and the City’s contact tracing efforts.
Belmonte also described some of the city’s transportation projects, including the Q City Bus, which provides free rides for more than 73,000 commuters weekly, the dedicated bike lane network, and the Green Open Reclaimed Area (GORA) pedestrian lane.
Under her watch, the DOH awarded Level 2 accreditation to the Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital. On the other hand, Novaliches District Hospital established a human milk bank. Seven newly-renovated health centers were also inaugurated in Ramon Magsaysay, Tatalon, Kamuning, Greater Lagro, Pasong Putik, Nagkaisang Nayon, and Sta. Lucia.
With respect to education, after a 27-year wait, the Quezon City University (QCU) received institutional recognition as a full-fledged University from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
“Kasabay nito ang akreditasyon ng mga kursong industrial engineering, electronics engineering, information technology at entrepreneurship batay sa mga pamantayan ng CHED. Maliban sa libreng tuition, ang mga mag-aaral ng QCU ay maari ring mag apply ng Tertiary Education Subsidy na umaabot sa 20,000 pesos per semester,” Belmonte explained.
Belmonte also highlighted some of her livelihood, economic recovery programs and other projects, such as extension of tax payment deadlines for business and real property without penalty, QC Biz Easy, Automated Inspection Audit System, Quezon City Real Property Viewer, Intensified Real Property Inventory and Tax Mapping Operations (IRePITMO), QC Build Easy, QC Pay Easy, Small Income Generating Assistance (SIGA) Program, Pangkabuhayang QC Program and Grow QC.
“Hindi tayo titigil sa pagpupunyagi. Kasama ninyo ako sa pagtataguyod ng inyong sarili at pamilya,” Belmonte ended.