Muntinlupa City is among 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees

Muntinlupa City is among 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees

Today the City Government of Muntinlupa announced that they have been feted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as one of the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees for its excellent delivery of public service. This latest development continues to show why Muntinlupa is a standout city among South Metro Manila’s cities.

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DILG Sec. Eduardo Año turns-over the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance award to Mayor Jaime Fresnedi during an awarding ceremony at Manila Hotel last November 4. SGLG is the DILG’s progressive assessment and reward system that gives LGUs distinction for their remarkable performance across various assessment areas in governance. Also attending the program were Muntinlupa City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela and DILG Muntinlupa Field Office chief Bernadette Ferino. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

The prestigious SGLG award was received by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi from DILG Sec. Eduardo Año during the awarding ceremony held at the Manila Hotel yesterday. With the mayor were City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela and DILG Muntinlupa Field Office chief Bernadette Ferino.

Despite having a more stringent assessment criteria for the award, the City of Muntinlupa has passed “all-in” seven assessment areas in governance namely: Financial Administration; Disaster Preparedness; Social Protection; Peace and Order; Business Friendliness and Competitiveness; Environmental Protection; and Tourism Culture and the Arts.

To put things in perspective, Muntinlupa City was among the three hundred and eighty local government units (LGU) in the country conferred with the coveted award in governance. In the National Capital Region or NCR, only eight LGUs received this year’s Seal including the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Navotas, Pasay, Quezon City, and San Juan.

Fresnedi thanked the DILG for its recognition of Muntinlupa’s commitment in improving local administration and service delivery for Muntinlupeños.

“We are honored to receive this award as it validates our efforts towards local governance reforms and development. This recognition is an outcome of the collective efforts of dedicated city officials and employees who tirelessly worked in facilitating a transparent, caring, and accountable government for the people,” the mayor said.

As an incentive, 2019 SGLG recipients are set to receive Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to finance local development projects and capacity development assistance from the DILG.

To be clear, SGLG is the DILG’s progressive assessment and reward system that gives LGUs distinction for their remarkable performance across various pillars. This year’s award is the second SGLG award conferred to Muntinlupa City after receiving the same recognition in 2015.

Furthermore, Muntinlupa City was also awarded with three major awards from the Department of Health (DOH) last November 4 at the Metro Manila Center for Health Development’s “Gabi ng Parangal” held in Crowne Plaza Manila.

The DOH conferred the City Government with Best in Rabies Prevention and Control Program, Best in National Voluntary Blood Services Program, and Plaque of Appreciation for the implementation of the Universal Health Care.

Previously, Muntinlupa became the only South Metro Manila city to make the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities when the results of the 2019 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) were revealed.

Parañaque City Government officials silent

More about the NCR city governments and the DILG’s organizing of the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance awards, I reached out to my contacts at the City Government of Parañaque and asked what was their reaction about their city NOT receiving the prestigious SGLG award. They did not reply at all today.

Those same Parañaque City officials did not reply to my previous inquiry regarding their city’s failure to make the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities of the entire Philippines as per the results of the 2019 CMCI.

I guess it’s more comfortable for them to remain silent than answering tough questions about competition with other city governments. Now I’ve got to check with one other South Metro Manila city regarding the SGLG awards.

 

 

 

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My Observations: Muntinlupa City the 8th Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City of the Nation in this Year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI)

When it comes to being competitive among the many cities of the Philippines, making the Top Ten of the most important category is a big achievement already. Thanks to the respective news releases of Business Mirror and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the latest Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) for 2019 showed that Muntinlupa City is now the 8th most competitive highly urbanized city (HUC) of the entire nation.

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Specifically, Muntinlupa is one of six Metro Manila cities that made the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities category as revealed during the 7th Regional Competitiveness Summit held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on October 24.. The city that is home to Ayala Alabang, Alabang Hills, Filinvest City and Northgate Cyberzone is the only South Metro Manila city to make it in the Top 10 of the said category. This is a notable improvement over last year’s results.

Muntinlupa’s Public Information Officer Tez Navarro responded to my inquiry by saying that their administration is glad that the city made it in the Top 10 among HUCs. I also made inquiries to my sources within the city governments of Parañaque and Las Piñas and, as of this writing, nobody responded. The Most Competitive City for HUCs is Quezon City.

In my view, it’s not surprising that Muntinlupa made it big given the City Government’s (headed by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi) continued public services, efficiency and the local economy’s strong growth. Muntinlupa also made it in the Top 10 on the categories of government efficiency and infrastructure.

As for Parañaque, this year marks another chapter in history in which the city (whose local government unit is led by mayor Edwin Olivarez) failed to break into the Top 10 among Highly Urbanized Cities. In the 2018 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, the city that is home to BF Homes subdivision as well as those fancy casinos and resorts of Entertainment City ranked 14th among HUCs and 21st place overall in the competitiveness chart that includes HUCs and component cities.

Going back to this year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, Parañaque got tied with Caloocan City for the 3rd place ranking for the Most Improved LGUs category among HUCs. The Most Improved LGU for Highly Urbanized Cities is shared at the top by Valenzuela and Malabon. When it comes to economic dynamism and infrastructure,  Parañaque got mentioned.

Now that the CMCI for 2019 has been published, now is a good time to take a close look at the infrastructure quality and government efficiency in Parañaque. Very recently traffic along Presidents Avenue (the road that connects Dr. A. Santos Avenue with the BF Homes commercial zone and the villages) worsened due to the three road operations (two belonging to Maynilad and one with the Department of Public Works and Highways) happening there at the same time. Those operations occupied significant space on the road making the flow of traffic tighter and more congested. Already motorists who travel regularly along Presidents Avenue are already annoyed with the worsened traffic congestion and a few of them questioned as to why is it that the City Government did not bother to send inspectors on the three road operations. Going back to this year’s CMCI, government efficiency is clearly where Parañaque is lacking.

As for the City of Las Piñas, there is a lack of available information as to how it fared among HUCs in varied categories as of this writing.

Ranking the Competitiveness

According to the CMCI website, The rankings of Cities and Municipalities are based on the sum of their scores on four pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure and Resiliency. Provincial rankings meanwhile are based on population and income weighted average of the Overall scores of cities and municipalities under a province.

The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index or CMCI is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.

My Observations: Former Parañaque City Mayor Bernabe Turned 71 With Big Party

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Former Parañaque City Mayor Florencio “Jun” Bernabe turned 71 and he is still in good health.

On the evening of February 5, I attended and observed the big-time birthday party of former Parañaque City Mayor Florencio “Jun” Bernabe who turned 71 and he showed no signs of slowing down.

The party was held at the multi-purpose facilities of Tahanan Village in Parañaque City which attracted some thousands of guests that include villagers (including those from BF Homes subdivision), business owners/managers, politicians, government workers and the like.

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The many guests dining and waiting in line for meals and drinks at Tahanan Village.

Bernabe did not just celebrate his birthday. He is also running for Mayor in the May 2019 local elections and this explains why his teammates were present during the party such as his running-mate Jeremy Marquez (former Barangay BF Homes chairman) and the many candidates running for seats in District 1 and District 2 of the City Council of Parañaque.

To put things in perspective for those who are not familiar with Bernabe, he comes from a family that has a long history of public service in the history of Parañaque. Jun Bernabe first entered politics in 1998 and served as City Vice Mayor for six years (1998-2004). Then he served as City Mayor for three straight terms (note: 1 term is 3 years) from 2004 to 2013.

During his time as Mayor, Bernabe launched several city projects that not only helped the development of the city but also did so while following national laws. His administration won several awards and citations that are too many to list down in this post. Unlike recent times, Parañaque under his leadership was found to be very competitive with other cities.

What is most notable is the fact that Mayor Bernabe was named as Outstanding Mayor in 2006 with attention paid to his leadership, fiscal management and administrative style that boosted the locality’s finances through efficient tax collection. That award was won during his first term as mayor and so it was no surprise that he went on to get re-elected to serve the maximum of 3 consecutive terms.

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Bernabe with Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on stage. She supports his bid for Mayor, he supports her bid for Senator.

Back to the birthday party, Ilocos Norte Governor and candidate for Senator Imee Marcos arrived big time and was warmly received by Bernabe and the guests. This was the first I ever saw a Marcos in person.  She expressed her support for Bernabe’s candidacy and the mayor returned the favor to support her run for the Philippine Senate. Here in the Philippines, voters nationwide get to vote for candidates for the Senate.

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Former Senator Pia Cayetano expressed her admiration for Bernabe.

Shortly after, former Senator (and current Congresswoman) Pia Cayetano arrived at the party and was warmly received. Like Marcos, she expressed her support for Bernabe and expressed her family’s connection with Parañaque. She is running again for Senator this May.

Finally, I can confirm that the party was very lively. Guests reached out to the public servants and some celebrities. The band hired played very lively music and there was a special presentation celebrating Mayor Bernabe’s birthday.

Can Bernabe and his election team win big this May to change the tone at Parañaque City Hall? We will find out soon enough.

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