Hundreds of spectators, all stakeholders and representatives of the different sectors in the city, gathered on January 22 at the Tacurong City Cultural and Sports Center; they were eagerly waiting for the first-ever State of the City Address of Mayor Angelo O. Montilla, six months after taking office in June 2019. They were not disappointed.

Montilla boldly reported that in the short period since taking the reigns, his administration was able to accomplish many firsts in the history of this city’s governance.

Foremost of these was the Php655,697.585.86 annual budget boosted by his decisive order of stepping up the treasury’s tax collection efficiency: business owners were persuaded to pay taxes, business license processing was made faster and easier, and payment deadlines were enforced. After operating expenses, the city’s coffers retained a Php 122,477,633.35 surplus, a first in the city’s history.

Proof of such efficiency is the Blue Certification Level 2 given by the Office of the Ombudsman in December 2019 for passing the standards set for ease of doing business by embracing efficient systems and procedures.

Not wasting time in infrastructure, Montilla got down to working on the city’s dialysis center, two-story public market, multi-purpose and legislative buildings, rehabilitation of Magsaysay Park, and the conversion of Quezon Avenue into a food street. Heeding the call of the constituents on social media, solar-powered streetlights are starting to be built along the streets of the roundabout, public market, and Brgy. San Pablo. Farm-to-market roads in barangays Buenaflor, San Emmanuel, and San Pablo are constructed, and construction continues in other barangays.

A 32-camera CCTV network and 24/7 command center have also been established.

Other works in the pipeline include the establishment of the city fuel depot, purchase of lots for land banking, upgrade of the interactive fountain into a musical fountain, beautification of the oval area, centralized sound system for the city gym, and strengthening of the city’s CCTV system.

Awards also came pouring in: Bronze Award on PRIME-HRM conferred by the Civil Service Commission, one of the Best-Performing City Peace and Order Councils in Region 12 conferred by the DILG, rank 2 in Regional Gawad Kalasag Award, national finalist in the Digital Governance Awards by the DILG and DICT, and election of Mayor Montilla as Regional Representative of Region 12 to Mayors in the League of Cities of the Philippines.

With all these accomplishments under his belt after just a few months in office, Montilla still calls on the continued support of the citizenry, the business community, the transport groups, and the public and private sectors. “Give us a little bit more time, more patience if you please; give us a chance to do good on our promise of achieving great things for our dear city,” Montilla pleads.

Lastly, no longer a novice to the cruelty of social media, Montilla especially calls on the attention of the bashers, “Kung mag-issue kamo, amon guid ina ginabaton, kag ginasulod guid namon sa amon nga mga huna- huna kag tagipusuon kung ano ang maayo para sa aton siyudad. Kung maghikay, tagai man ninyo sang gakalaigo nga solusyon ang inyo hikay para mas mapadali naton ang pagbag-o sang aton pinalangga nga syudad.” (Whatever your criticism, we always accept it, and we put into our hearts and minds things that are good for our city. If you criticize, suggest the right solution along with it, so that we may effect change faster for our beloved city.) (YMR, LGUTac-Info)