Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez delivered his third State of the City Address (SOCA) – before members of the 15th City Council, Vice Mayor Toto Locsin Jr., and his wife, 4th district of Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez – on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the Ormoc City Superdome.
The SOCA centered on the accomplishments Mayor Gomez did a hundred and eight days since he started his second term as the mayor of Ormoc City. The actor-turned-politician, also, acknowledge the contributions of his political group, Ormoc Development Team, and the private sector in realizing all these milestones.
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez crowed how his administration was able to restore the peace and order here. With the hard work and cooperation of local police and the anti-drug campaign of the national government, the Gomez administration was able to erase its stigma as the Drug Capital of Eastern Visayas. In fact, aside from the “City of the Beautiful People” tagline, Ormoc was also named as the “Safest City in the Philippines.”
The Gomez administration exerted lots of efforts in boosting local tourism. In fact, the Ormoc City Government has launched “Laag sa Ormoc” free tours to generate interest among locals and tourists alike. Mayor Gomez encouraged each Ormocanon to be an ambassador of city.
On education and manpower, Mayor Richard Gomez revealed that Ormoc City now has a total of 365 college scholars, who get a maximum of P18,000 tuition support, P2,000 monthly stipend, and another P2,000 book allowance per semester. They will also receive P3,000 cash when they graduate. To date, Ormoc have 26 honor graduates.
Mayor Gomez announced that the City Council is, currently, working on an ordinance to provide, dental, medical, law school or masters scholarships for deserving students. Meanwhile, the manpower center has produced a total of 1,033 skilled graduates while 154 scholars are currently funded through the city’s vocational scholarship program.
A boom of investor confidence was also seen in the previous years after Ormoc became a peaceful and safe city. After the Robinsons Place Ormoc and SM Center Ormoc, a number of hotels are set to rise here soon. There is Sabin Resort Hotel which is constructing a 96-room annex, with a big convention hall; the Carlosta Hotel across Robinsons Ormoc with 50-rooms; the DanCel Resort in Macabug with 60 rooms; and, the Copenhagen in Cogon with more than 100 rooms. This, according to Mayor Richard Gomez, is expected to increase the employment rate and the city’s capacity to accept visitors.
“We are also working on several livelihood proposals for which DOLE has given us a grant in the amount of one million nine hundred thirty-six thousand four hundred ten pesos (Php 1,936,410.00),” Mayor Gomez revealed. “We will devote these to retailing projects, production of cassava/ camote, farming materials and establishing a mini grocery will go to one hundred twenty three (123) beneficiaries.”
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez also claimed success in the agriculture food production and fisheries area. In fact, the city nabbed a total of six awards for local farmers and agriculture technicians. Aside from sugar and rice, Ormoc has also started producing honey with the help of IsraAID.
“Our vegetable farmers in Cabingtan, said to be the vegetable basket of Eastern Visayas, are also happy,” the husband of Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez said. “With the nice roads there, courtesy of our Congresswoman, maganda ang kita nila. Not to mention the property prices there have increased by leaps and bounds.”
The Gomez government has also been aggressive in improving the infrastructures in Ormoc City to support its rapid economic growth. #theCityofBeautifulPeople, in fact, was named as one of the Top Model Cities in the Philippines a month ago. Mayor Richard Gomez also acknowledged the contributions of his wife, Lucy, to all the on-going infrastructure project in the city.
“For this year alone, through her efforts, 80-million has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of the Milagro-Welcome-Tongonan Road; 48-million for the Danao-Gaas-Liberty Road; and, 15-million for the Valencia- San Jose-Sabang Bao-Labrador-Liloan Road. She has also been able to have the Abaca Rehabilitation Program funded by P 12-million. There are many more projects for Ormoc, but I will only mention the big ticket ones,” Mayor Gomez said. “And since she does not only serve Ormoc but the other towns of the 4th district of Leyte as well, she has brought in more than 2-billion worth of projects,” he added.
Mayor Richard Gomez also highlighted the efforts of his administration in making Ormoc a disaster-prepared city. In fact, the city now has the “most well-equipped Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in the Region, and the best trained rescuers.” He added that Ormoc’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management team can even respond to other LGUs that need help.
Though Mayor Gomez delivered all the items in his 9-point agenda, he said that the work is not yet over. Here are some of the priority projects he targets to accomplish by the end of his second term:
- Realization of the Lake Danao Water System
- Establishment of the Water Board to supervise the operations of ORWASA
- Completion of the Ormoc Airport’s lading area and terminal facilities
- Creation of People’s Council to better hear the voice of every Ormocanon and develop plans and programs that are more inclusive and responsive to the needs of Ormoc
- Protection of existing marine sanctuaries
- Open more integrated schools to make high school education more accessible to the poor
- Establishment of a community college in Ormoc City to widen courses offering especially those needed for the development of the City
- Passage of the Road Safety Ordinance that will provide for speed limits and various interventions for the safety of the riding and driving public
- Intensify Local Economic Enterprises, and bring in more income to the City
- Enactment of the Tourism Code that will hasten the development of our tourism sites and make it an active economic driver
- An Ordinance that will preserve our cultural heritage and preserve those areas identified as cultural heritage sites such as the Puente dela Reina, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Battle of Ormoc Bay shipwrecks site, ruins of the Dominador Tan mansion, Agua Dulce and Bonifacio artesian wells and the Camp George Downes
- Reinforce and improve our poverty reduction program through specific measures that support the disadvantaged sectors especially the PWDs, the solo parents and out of school youths
- A route plan that will solve problems on access and concerns of traffic and road congestion
- An ordinance that will sustain the rewards of this campaign, with the end in view that all public roads will remain clear and free of any obstruction, to be used by and for the public
- Enactment of a Mining Ordinance that will regulate sand-and-gravel and mining activities in Ormoc
- Enactments that will ensure women empowerment and protect the rights of children
- Enactment of Ordinances that will activate the grassroots sports program.
Mayor Richard Gomez also submitted a proposed annual budget of P1, 621, 742, 199.00 for Fiscal Year 2020. The budget will support all the on-going and upcoming programs of the current administration, which include sustained peace and order, aggressive tourism promotion, provide education, promote trade and investment, strengthen health programs, preserve the environment, provide safer roads, intensify sports programs, enhance agriculture productivity and provide good governance
“The mandate to serve is our honor and privilege, and we embrace the call wholeheartedly, knowing that not every person is given this privilege. As your city officials, we impose upon ourselves the duty to deliver a self – reliant, radiant and developed Ormoc, a City that takes care of its people, a place that one will always want to call home,” Mayor Gomez said. “We won’t be able to do it alone.”
In the end, Mayor Richard Gomez asked for the support and cooperation of everyone to attain all the dreams he has for a bigger and better Ormoc.