Building A City In Kalibo
by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
Kapehan forum on January 22, 2011 featured "The First Six Months Accomplishment Report of Mayor William S. Lachica and Vice Mayor Madeline A. Regalado of Kalibo. The Kapehan is held every Saturday at 8 to 10 am at Smokehauz Resto & Bar.
To recall, Mayor Lachica has reported his major accomplishment for the period July 1 to October 8, 2010. While there were remarkable delivery of basic services, revenue generation and cost cutting measures, the tri-media is keen on tracking new improve-ments of the 2010 – 2013 set of LGU Kalibo officials. The premiere town of Aklan is traditionally the leader of participative governance and whatever success in its endeavor to improve the quality of life of its people could be replicated in other areas.
An opening statement of Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente gave lavish praise and admiration to the leadership of Mayor Lachica over the handling of Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival 2011. There was a record arrival of guests and devotees despite unfavorable weather. Tribal participants and revelers showed off their true colors to the frenzied beating of drums, devotion to the Sto. Niño and unity of believers. No untoward incidents were reported and traffic was smooth for all transport vehicles. The Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (KASAFI) headed by Mr. Albert Meñez proved capable to the task despite meager budget.
Hon. Regalado mentioned that she is more comfortable in her current position as Presiding Officer of the SB unlike her previous stint as humble legislator for her last two terms. There is harmonious working relationship between the Executive and Legislative body today. She plans to hold regular EIA sessions every Friday of the month to fast tract vital legislative measures. This is the first time in Kalibo in few decades when elected Mayor and Vice Mayor belong to the same political party.
Mayor Lachica has lined up infra projects for 2011 that include:
a) Auxiliary market at Bagsakan Terminal (Oyo Torong) costing P12.5 million. Meanwhile, documents on land ownership required by Land Bank of the Philippines for the loan is being processed. Project contract was awarded by the previous Administration. Further delay in implementation may lead to revision of budget due to the rising cost of construction materials. It appears that lease contract covering portion of the site is due to expire in mid 2016 which requires renegotiation;
b) Rehabilitation of Drainage System – While there are initial accomplishment in deccloging drainage canals in six major thoroughfares in the Poblacion, there is a need of a Master Drainage Plan. Mayor Lachica has confirmed its existence. He now awaits for the budgets’ release;
c) Rehabilitation of Slaughterhouse – Expenditure of P391,855 was undertaken recently but ultimate goal is to qualify for Triple A status. Upgrading will be on further improvement of physical facilities. A total of 125 heads of livestock is slaughtered per day with income of P27,000 to P30,000;
d) Asphalting and or asphalt overlay – this target secondary streets inside downtown area that have deteriorated over time and constant use;
e) Road Widening and Extension – Due to worsening traffic jam, critical road sections will be widened and or lengthened.
f) Rehabilitation of Dumping site – While a sanitary landfill site in Feliciano, Balete is in the process of acquisition, the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bakhao Sur channels its biodegradable waste for vermicomposting. Kalibo LGU received three vermicomposting equipment from DA-Bureau of Post Harvest and Research. Kool Earth, an NGO is coordinating with 16 barangays of Kalibo to have a functional MRF in their respective areas to reduce, re-use, and recycle solid wastes; and
f) Installation of Closed Circuit TV Cameras (CCTV) – due to be implemented in 2012. The identified areas are Golden Salakot marker, Pastrana Park, Municipal Hall, Kalibo – Numancia Bridge, and Roxas Avenue.
a) Street Lighting from Kalibo International Airport to Poblacion, Kalibo, a tourist – oriented project of Governor Carlito S. Marquez; and
b) Spillway Connecting Brgys. Bakhao Norte and Sur funded at P10 million by DPWH Region 6.
Undoubtedly, there is resounding success of the recent Ati-Atihan festival. Private sector cooperation was prominent.
Moreover, there are institutions with purple hearts which are Garcia College of Technology, St. Gabriel College of Nursing and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They initiated to rid Pastrana Park and its streets of littered garbage after the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival.
If the Administration opts to develop the Bagsakan terminal as an auxiliary market, it is necessary to widen and decongest the access road at Oyo Torong St. which during rush hours, street traffic is jammed with vehicles, people and baggage. A perennial problem here is the non functional drainage system that is both health hazard and sanitary problem. Commuters are assailed of fetid water and residual garbage.
Obviously the proposed P10 million spillway project funded by DPWH is grossly inadequate since it traverses the Aklan river. More than 10 years ago, a bridge construction was started to connect two sister barangays. Unfortunately, it was aborted and the fund was transferred to Tinigao-Mobo. With this sad experience residents of the area are apprehensive of another shattered dream.
Rehabilitation of slaughterhouse to conform to Triple A standard is long overdue.It is the bread and butter of Kalibo and source of people’s daily meat supply that necessarily be of standard quality and hygiene. Government plan to raise slaughterhouse fee must be thoroughly studied because undue price adjustment could drastically affect consumer buying capacity.
Wiring installation of Akelco, Pantelco, Cruztelco, Kalibo Cable and Aklan Cable must be installed high enough to allow smooth traffic flow. Potential accidents of electric shock, fire, and being snagged can be eliminated. Also six electric posts along Roxas Avenue are traffic hazards since they posted inside the main road. They must be relocated to the pedestrian lane and raise higher.
It is gratifying to note that our leaders in Kalibo are exerting their best efforts to re-invent image of public service. That enduring government and people participation are based on mutual trust and respect. Evidently, this is gaining momentum with big time investors flocking to the provincial capital. Cityhood is within reach as long as we remain united and focused in the struggle. /MP