Virac mayor unveils agenda for the poor
posted 12-Jul-2019  ·  
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Elected on his promise to help the poor, Virac Mayor Sinforoso “Posoy” Sarmiento Jr. last week bared his “HELP, HELP, HELP” agenda of governance aimed at realizing in the limited time part of his dream.

In his message during the inaugural session of the Sangguniang Bayan last July 2, 2019, the lawyer-politician urged those who have the means, especially those who are in power, to help the “kasaradayan” not only during elections.

This, he stressed, could only be done with the assistance of the municipal council whom he believes shares the same dream.

Sarmiento said that in his first two days as chief executive, the biggest problem needing immediate solution is the water shortage.

He disclosed that in his talk with an official of the Virac Water District, the evident option is to tap groundwater sources as it is not affected by lack of rain or flooding. Drilling wells is likewise relatively cheap at P5 million, compared to costly impounding schemes which need filtration and are often affected by floods.

A realignment of funds would probably be needed through the SB, the mayor said.

A reorganization of the LGU’s staffing pattern is a long-term plan of his administration, he stated, noting the wide disparity between salary levels. An expert would be hired to study the personnel reorganization, including the provision of salary increases that would improve morale and increase efficiency in service delivery.

On the existing marine reserve and fish sanctuary in Marilima-Batag area, Sarmiento said it is high time that the barangays and fisher folk who were deprived of their livelihood during the initial years benefit from the tourism arrivals that it has brought. He asked the council to approve an ordinance providing for the collection of an environmental or entrance fee.

A separate department for solid waste management would have to be created in order to directly and primarily handle waste collection and disposal, while the proposal for the sanitary landfill is still in the planning stage, he added.

The mayor likewise expressed the need for a new municipal building or complex that would provide adequate offices for all departments, including offices for each councilor.

Advocating lesser infrastructure projects, he sought additional funding for the Aid to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) to take care of the sick who need money for hospitalization and medicines.

Sarmiento said the medical assistance subsidy coursed through the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) needs to be directly implemented by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) so that it can be disbursed quickly and directly to those who really need it.

Aware of the current trend of agri-tourism, the chief executive said funds previously allocated for assistance to farmers in the form of seedlings, fertilizers and livestock dispersal should be spent for the establishment of demo farms for vegetables and livestock.

LGU personnel will manage such demo farms for eventual transfer to the barangay residents so that the latter can learn and recognize the value of planting and raising livestock, he added.

Mayor Sarmiento assured taxpayers that his administration will have to serve the public better before collecting new revenues.

“I hope that in the next weeks, the people will feel that this government is really helping them,” he emphasized in concluding his speech almost exclusively delivered in the local dialect.

In her response, Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla called for effective partnership between the executive and legislative branches, saying that unity is vital in achieving success for the local government.

She disclosed that the council will authorize the mayor to negotiate with agencies and experts in updating the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) that will address the needs of the fast-growing town.

An ordinance will be passed to initiate a personnel reorganization, including the creation of new positions and establishment of standard rates of jobbers and contractual workers based on their skills and services, Arcilla vowed.

She promised the easy resolution of administrative cases filed against barangay officials as well as the crafting and passage of ordinances that would be timely and effective, including the preservation of the town’s heritage and resources.

Assuring Mayor Sarniento of the Sanggunian’s support, the presiding officer also said that each councilor will be able to express their views freely and join in the decision making.

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