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Young Metro mayors trying to outdo each other

/ 04:01 AM November 26, 2019

Just 149 days in office today, our young mayors in Metro Manila are acting swiftly to improve the lives of their constituents.

Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian launched his 10-minute “Paspas Permit,” an integrated online system covering application, assessment and payment in what could be the the future standard for transactions with local government units. Normally, it takes one to 60 days for processing business permits alone.

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Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who was at the launching, lauded Gatchalian and suggested that Paspas Permit be replicated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Pag-Ibig Fund, the Social Security System and PhilHealth, among other agencies.

Mayor Francis Zamora is fulfilling his promise of “digitalizing” all government services for San Juan to attain “smart city” status by next year. He will set up electronic kiosks in each of the 21 barangays supported by a new city mobile app called “Makabagong San Juan.” Partnering with Multisys Technologies Corp., this app covers business permit licensing, real property tax, civil registry, senior citizen management, tricycle permits on top of an e-wallet feature with payments via QR code.

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San Juan today is the first city in the country with the largest free Internet access under the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s “Free Wi-Fi for All” program. Another partner, Smart Communications, is also launching free Wi-Fi hot spots in most of the city’s public places.

Six days ago in Barcelona, Spain, the 2019 World Smart City Expo Congress of 54 countries gave one of its five global “Innovative Idea Awards” to Makati City. This award is given to “concepts, at any stage of elaboration, that contribute to achieving sustainable integrated development in cities.” Makati championed its “use of technology to improve disaster preparedness and communication to and from city citizens.” The award highlighted the use of mobile technology and an app to allow citizens to reach a city’s command center to request assistance and report crimes, engineering and waste management issues, among others. Mayor Abby Binay must be extremely proud of this award considering that her city bested others in Southeast Asia to become a 2019 World Smart City finalist.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is pursuing his cultural reformation campaign by completing in just 60 days the restoration and beautification of William A. Jones Memorial Bridge. The “La Madre Filipina” statue, designed by the late National Artist Juan Arellano, was also returned to its original spot on the bridge.

Moreno has declared war versus “dugyot, “salaula” and vandals who continue to desecrate monuments and landmarks in Manila. He has ordered a citizen’s arrest of these irresponsible sectors of society.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is anticipating the renewal next year of more than 75,000 mayor’s permits and licenses. She signed agreements with different shopping malls for the establishment of business centers where residents could apply for renewal instead of going to City Hall. These include Robinsons Galleria in Manila, Novaliches and Magnolia, and Ali Mall in Cubao. Expected to open in January are two more business centers in Fishermall and Ayala’s Fairview Terraces. “We want to empower QC business owners, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises, by giving an easier, time-saving way of managing their business,” Belmonte said.

Overall, I would commend the young mayors for their excellent performance. At this early stage, they are already proving themselves deserving of people’s votes.

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TAGS: Abby Binay, Francis Zamora, Isko Moreno, Jake Maderazo, Joy Belmonte, Metro Manila mayors, Rex Gatchalian, Sharp Edges
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