SOCA of Mayor Ferdinand C. Medina: Proud to be a BigueƱo (Part III)

In Vigan we recognize the numerous sacrifices of the men and women in uniform in protecting the Bigueños and in sustaining the peace and order situation in the only World Heritage City in the Philippines. And on June 21, as a fitting tribute to them, President Gloria Arroyo inaugurated their new home, one of the best police stations in the country – the new Vigan police station.

Our police force is composed of untiring and dedicated law enforcers and protectors of civilians especially the women and children. We take pride on having The Most Outstanding Women and Children’s Concerns Desk in the entire Ilocos Region.

On this day last year, the installation of tele eye was only a plan, today we have installed digital video cameras in various strategic locations around the city. The TELE EYE is now a reality.

In the past 365 days, we witnessed the arrival of thousands of visitors in Vigan who came to experience not only our unique heritage but also to interact with reinvigorated Bigueños. The numerous visitors include Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii, Mayor Mufi Hanneman of Honolulu, Mayor Alan Arakawa of Maui, Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki of Japan, Ambassador Araceli Paz Campos of Mexico and my good friend, Filipino-American idol Jasmine Trias. The surge in tourist arrivals has greatly contributed to the economy of the city luring more enterprises. In spite of this, our efforts did not come to a halt. The city government went on to enhance more destinations and attractions following the proposals contained in the Vigan Tourism Development Plan prepared by Palafox & Associates through the support of the provincial government. These include the Damili Village in Brgy. Bulala and the Kangkanen zone in Brgy. San Jose. We have also fixed more sidewalks using the locally produced interlocking blocks. We will soon begin the construction of a promenade along our riverbanks.

Although our kalesas have long been identified by numbers, we now have christened our robust horses. They now have monickers aptly printed in appropriate wooden tags.

To further all these efforts, the cultural mapping program, our joint project with the Center for the Conservation of Cultural Properties & Environment in the Tropics of the University of Sto. Tomas shall formally commence on July 29. With this program, Bigueños are assured of an inventory of tangible and intangible cultural properties as well as reference for the formulation of actions to be taken relative to heritage conservation.

On the same day and in this same hall last year, I asked the vice mayor and members of the city council to enact key legislation and I am elated that they have fittingly responded. Thank you for passing fifty-nine (59) resolutions and enacting twenty one (21) ordinances that include the New Vigan Revenue Code, the Conservation Guidelines as Amended, the City Investment Incentives Code, the Regulation of Smoking in Public, the Establishment of the Marine Turtle Hatchery in Barangay Mindoro, the Pedestrianization of Plaza Burgos, and other measures that address our concerns. Your electronic sessions must be one of the reasons for these accomplishments. Friends, the electronic session of the City Council is paperless. The presiding officer and the councilors make use of the lapto computer units issued to them to share and browse documents through a wireless network connection. Indeed, our Sanggunian is one of the few pioneering councils in the country that have gone high tech.

Adhering to our principle to build stronger families, we pushed for the availability of more opportunities and resources that would enable them to earn a living. Our partnership with the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives and the Fatima Multi Purpose Cooperative in the city livelihood program has successfully addressed this concern.

With appropriation of more than three million pesos, the city was able to reach out to almost 400 families, extending soft loans for small and medium scale enterprises.

[ To be continued ]