The City of Santa Rosa has opened the New Year with the gift of opportunity for all its residents.
“Ito ang nais kong maging tatak ng aking pamamahala—ang pagbibigay ng dangal sa lahat ng mamamayan lalo’t higit sa mga nangangailangan ng tulong na maibalik ang kanilang dangal bilang tao at mamamayan ng lungsod na ito,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Danilo Ramon Fernandez.
These gifts of opportunity, including a rehab center and higher quality public services—are seen in the programs offered by the city, as well as the recognitions it received. It also demonstrates that the administration is truly working for an inclusive style of governance.
“Sa pamamagitan ng mga ito, binibigyan natin ng dangal ang bawat mamamayan, sapagkat ang mamamayan din ang magsisikhay upang mas umarangkada pa ang Lungsod ng Santa Rosa,” the mayor said, referring to his slogan “Arangkada, Dangal ng Santa Rosa.”
Dangal ng Pagbabago
On Jan. 14, the city formally opened the country’s first-ever LGU-run rehabilitation center for illegal-drug dependents in Tiongco Subd., Brgy. Tagapo.
Aptly called Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center, Fernandez implemented this program as an immediate response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to address the need for a facility to help rehabilitate those who have surrendered voluntarily to the police during the implementation of “Operation Tokhang.”
The Dangal ng Pagbabago (Integrity of Change), along with many other social programs being implemented by the local government in the city, was lauded by Director-General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Dela Rosa said he is impressed with Fernandez’s commitment to help the drug dependents, adding that the city’s Community-Based Rehabilitation Program is one of the most comprehensive and extensive projects of its kind in the country.
He stressed that if only all the mayors would be pro-active like Fernandez, then the ruling administration’s war against illegal drugs will end sooner, just like how he and Duterte wanted it to be.
The PNP chief said the war on drugs is a whole-of-nation approach, so he called on all other stakeholders to remain aware about this and get involved in their respective communities. He also urged the drug surrenderees to take advantage of this rehabilitation program by the Santa Rosa government, and reminded them not to slide back to their old habit of being dependent on prohibited drugs.
Among those who graced the event were Undersecretary John Castriciones, of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); PC Supt. Valfie Gacias Tabian, PNP regional director; Manuel Gotis, director of the Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) and concurrently regional director of DILG Calabarzon; Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez; and Rep. Arlene Arcillas, of the First District of Laguna.
Dela Rosa first visited Santa Rosa during the groundbreaking of the Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center, on Aug. 24, 2016.
As of last year, 1,355 illegal drug personalities in the city voluntarily surrendered in connection with Operation Tokhang.
Other measures implemented by the city in response to Duterte’s call to action include Executive Order No. 10, which has established since July 28, 2016 the Special Projects Group (SPG) on Anti-Criminality; Office Memorandum regarding Mandatory Drug Testing for all City Government Employees, dated August 2, 2016; Executive Order No. 23, which constituted on Nov. 29, 2016 the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC).
Blue certification from Ombudsman
Efficient and effective services to its people are also on top of the list of the present administration in Santa Rosa.
The Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS) is another gift of the city to its taxpayers. In BOSS, the public offices involved in business renewal are assembled in one venue to facilitate the process, thus making it more convenient to clients. In fact, the BOSS is one of the positive features of the city which enabled it to obtain the Blue Certification Level I from the Office of the Ombudsman, on Dec. 13, 2016.
The recognition stated that the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) “has implemented and maintained a system that conforms to the ease of doing business standards for Blue Certification.” The certification covers the registration of new businesses and renewal of business permits.
“We were informed that Santa Rosa is the only city in Calabarzon to receive this award, so this is very overwhelming,” Olivia Laurel, BPLO head, said. “Usually, when public officials go to the Ombudsman, it is something negative. But now we went there because we have done something positive,”
One of the top requirements for the certification is that the mayor must not have any case in the Ombudsman.
Laurel said the good news came after the city hit the P1-billion target for business taxes, “So nakaka-proud talaga. Saka this recognition strengthens our position as a business-friendly city, something that we always aimed for.”
She also said that the award recognizes the city’s effective implementation of its services with regard to business registration and renewal. “It means that we have complied with the requirements of Anti-Red Tape Act, and that we have streamlined our processes,” she stressed.
She further explained, “This award is not exclusive to the BPLO, but this is a product of the concerted efforts of all offices and agencies that are part of the business registration and renewal.”
The next audit will be done after three years, since the certificate is dated Dec. 13, 2016—and will expire on Dec. 12, 2019.
“The challenge now is to maintain the standard and, of course, to intensify our efforts to further improve and streamline our services, so we can get the Level 2 Certification after three years,” Laurel said.
As of Sept. 30, 2016, Santa Rosa has registered a total of 948 new businesses while 4,762 businesses filed for renewal.
ISO 9001:2008 certified
During the term of then-Mayor Arcillas, she pushed for participatory governance and took on the challenge to make the quality of the city’s services comparable with international standards.
When Fernandez assumed office as Santa Rosa’s chief executive, he continued the mission to bring the city toward further progress. He identified areas that his administration must concentrate on, to ensure that the ride to a more progressive City of Santa Rosa will be smooth for its people—as captured in his call to action Arangkada, Dangal ng Santa Rosa! (Rev Up, Dignity of Santa Rosa!)
One identified area is the maintenance and improvement of the quality of public services, and the measure seen to realize this is to obtain the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System.
The first step was already taken by the three pioneer offices during the time of Arcillas. The Office of the City Planning and Development Coordinator (CPDO), Public Employment Service Office (PESO), and Office of the City Civil Registrar (CCRO) were certified in 2015, and passed the Surveillance Audit in 2016.
The second batch of offices included the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), City Health Office I (CHO I), City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, City Veterinary Office, City Information Office (CIO), and the Office of the City Mayor.
Pre-certification activities included awareness seminars, planning sessions, documentation activities per office and as a whole, and the Internal Quality Auditors’ Training—which included an examination and a practice audit.
The second batch underwent audit last Dec. 14 and 21. It received the thumbs up from the auditors and was confirmed as ISO 9001:2008 Certified Offices also on Dec. 21, 2016.
The ISO champions believe that the certification further raised the bar in public service and, ultimately, led to achieving the current administration’s call for inclusive governance.
Excellent health and nutrition programs
The city closed the year 2016 with numerous awards, mostly gained by the health and nutrition sector. These recognitions prove that Santa Rosa gives the gift of being healthy and happy to all its residents.
The CHO I and CHO II were both recognized as the Best in TB HIV Implementation among all Category A & B sites of Calabarzon for the year 2015 by DOH IV-A. This is for the two offices’ “commitment in the implementation of National Tuberculosis Control Program in Calabarzon.”
The City Nutrition Office was also awarded the First Year Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (Crown) maintenance by the National Nutrition Council for its “efficient and effective implementation and management of its City Nutrition Program, which resulted in the improvement of the nutrition situation in the city, especially among young children.”
The Santa Rosa Community Hospital (SRCH), on the other hand, was awarded the Best Performing LGU-Hospital Level 1 based on 2015 LGU-Scorecard (Second Place) by the Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health Region IV-A.
On Oct. 10, 2016, the City of Santa Rosa formally launched the Point of Care (POC) Program, in SRCH. During the ceremony, Fernandez said that it was implemented to upgrade the hospital’s services and to ensure that indigents will receive the medical service they need, provided it is within the capacity of the hospital.
“The POC is a health-care mechanism wherein an indigent person needing urgent medical attention could be admitted into our Community Hospital anytime,” Fernandez said. This applies to all patients whether from the city or from nearby cities like Biñan, Cabuyao and Cavite, for example.
Under the POC enrolment program, the SRCH could immediately enrol a non-Philhealth member classified as Class C3 or D category at the time of admission. The city government, through the SRCH, will shoulder the premium contribution amounting to P2,400 for one year. From the day of enrolment, the POC enrolee will be able to avail of the health-care benefits up to the last day of the same year.
When Fernandez assumed office, he delegated all Mondays as the Araw ng Dangal (Day of Dignity). This is an opportunity given to walk-in clients, to inquire and ask on their concerns regarding the services and program being offered by the city government. The releasing of cash assistance for medical and burial, and distribution of PWD restorative aid also take place on this day.
For Fernandez’s first 100 days alone, 856 beneficiaries received Financial or Medical Assistance, 248 beneficiaries for Burial Assistance, and 82 beneficiaries for Physical Restoration Aid.
Philippines’ Earth Hour Capital
On Aug. 18, 2016, Santa Rosa was named the Philippine Earth Hour National Capital by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for its pioneering initiatives on climate-change mitigation and adaptation, particularly its initiatives on putting up solar streetlights and the construction of a composting facility.
According to City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Erlinda Creencia, Santa Rosa was chosen from among several cities in the country and in the world to compete in the Earth Hour City Challenge of WWF.
“We competed along with Makati City, in Metro Manila, and San Carlos City, in Negros Occidental,” she said. “We won the title ‘National Earth Hour Capital’ of the Philippines while Paris bagged the ‘Global Earth Hour Capital.”
The National Earth Hour Capital award is the first of its kind ever given in our country.
The City also placed fifth in WWF’s We Love Cities Campaign, a related social media contest for the 41 Earth Hour City Challenge finalists. It was won by the City of Bogor in Indonesia.
“This recognition links the many efforts and initiatives of the city in our commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and, not to mention, positioning the city in the global arena in terms of successful environmental and sustainable development programs,” Creencia said.
In addition, Creencia emphasized that the city could not have done it without the participation of the people. “We cannot do it single-handedly, we received help from stakeholders, partner national and local government agencies, international funding institutions, non-government organizations, environmental advocates and individual program supporters,” she said.
Hence, the awarding ceremonies for environmental partners held annually dubbed Santa Rosa Environment Day.
Further, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office also received another award—the Silver Award for Provincial Environmental Compliance Audit 2016 from DILG IV-A, last Dec. 14. The recognition was given for the city’s “outstanding performance and highly commendable practices in Solid Waste Management, in terms of adhering to the Supreme Court Mandamus to clean and rehabilitate the Manila Bay and its watershed, especially on the principles of RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”