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Better programs, higher budget for Zambo’s poor, workers

‘Mayor Beng vows more pro-poor programs, infra projects’

ZAMBOANGA CITY MAYOR Beng Climaco continues to work hard for the welfare of her constituents and progress of Zamboanga City and vows to introduce more pro-poor programs and infrastructure projects for the benefit of all.

Since she assumed as mayor of Zamboanga in 2013, the local government has tripled, if not doubled – with the strong support of the City Council – the various assistance and programs for the poor, the elderly, and the women and children.  And these include “Assistance in Crisis Situations”, “Burial of Unclaimed Cadavers” and “Medical Assistance”.

From the time of Celso Lobregat, who was congressman from 1998 to 2004; and mayor from 2004 to 2013; and congressman again from 2013 up to the present, Climaco not only appropriated a decent increase in many pro-poor programs of the City Government, she also increased the much needed honoraria for untiring day care workers – from P5.7 million during the time of Lobregat (2008 to 2012) and now to nearly P14 million (2014 to 2018) or an increase of 139 percent in just five years.

And for 2019, the total budget appropriation for some 350 day care workers is P8.4 – a modest monthly honoraria of P2,000 for all their hard work and dedication to the job.

The administration of Climaco also increased the honoraria of barangay health workers from only P300 a month in the time of Lobregat as mayor to P1,000 a month from 2013 to the present. And for 2019, Climaco said the monthly honoraria of barangay health workers numbering 460 would be increased again to P2,000 a month.

The number of barangay nutrition scholars also climbed up in the current administration of Mayor Beng from only 85 during Lobregat’s time (with an appropriation of P765,000) to 90 scholars with a monthly honoraria of P1,000 and a total budget appropriation of over P1 million – an increase of 7.50 percent from the previous administration. And for 2019, Climaco said barangay nutrition scholars will now get P2,000 monthly honoraria or a total of P2.16 million budget.

Climaco said as far as salaries and wages of civil employees are concerned, the budget appropriation for 2019 for “manpower complement” is P578 million. Since Climaco assumed office, there had been a steady increase in salaries and wages – from 2,055 employees in 2013 and a budget allocation of P426 million to over 2,200 civil workers now to effectively complement the rigorous jobs at City Hall.

With all these benefits, whose funds come from the tax payers, Climaco assured the public that her administration shall continue to be honest and transparent, and free from graft and corruption.

She also thanked the people for their continued trust and confidence in her administration as she appealed to her constituents to stay vigilant and united against those who are trying to grab power for their own benefit, selfish and personal interest, and political survival.

Because of Climaco’s popularity and dedication to her work, the National Democratic Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that has supported democratic institutions and practices in every region of the world for more than three decades, featured her in their website – ndi.org – and had this to say:

“Beng Climaco is an advocate for women and children’s rights and was inspired by her grandmother, who was a suffragist, and principal authors of the Magna Carta of Women Republic Act 9710. She finished her Secondary Education in the U.S. and holds a Master’s Degree in Family Ministry and Counselling from Ateneo de Manila University. She is a teacher by profession and actively volunteers in stress debriefing sessions to Filipino soldiers. She holds a rank of Lieutenant Colonel, as a reservist in the Philippine Army.”

“Her career in politics began in 1998 as a City Councillor, where her father, also a former Vice-Mayor, served as her mentor and inspiration. She became a Vice-Mayor in 2004 and a member of the House of Representatives for two terms. During her second term, she was elected as the youngest and only woman Deputy Speaker of the 15th Congress. In 2013, she was given the highest mandate as Mayor of Zamboanga City, the sixth largest city in the Philippines. On the third month of her term, her leadership was tested when 500 Moro National Liberation Front rebels attacked the city that resulted in a humanitarian crisis as declared by the United Nations and displaced 23,000 families, 120,000 individuals and the loss of 10,000 homes.”

“Today through her “Building Back of a Better Zamboanga City” initiative, 90 percent of the internally displaced have returned to permanent shelters. In 2017, her city was awarded the “Most Improved City” in the country and was conferred the Seal of Good Local Governance for two consecutive years.”

Climaco was also quoted by the prestigious organization as saying: “Being part of an International Network of Women Mayors gives me the opportunity to share my ‘HerStory’ of empowerment. I am passionate about a simple pillar of advocacy: Security, Health and Education or S.H.E. This is gender fair as it embodies both women and men. If you remove the S, it becomes HE. All are vital in contributing to the development of all gender.”

The good mayor also bared that in 2004, “I was single and was running for Vice-Mayor. My opponent harassed me saying that, ‘I am already dried-up,’ to directly attack my womanhood and my capacity to give-birth. It was cruel and prejudicial. He lost the election for Vice-Mayor.”

Since its founding in 1983, NDI and its local partners have worked to establish and strengthen political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. (ZCH)

 

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