Mayor Cris Garbo, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, and Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda inspect patrol vehicles. Pampanga PIO photo
MABALACAT CITY — “Ngayon ko lang nakita na isang LGU na nagdo-donate ng mga patrol vehicles para sa karatig-bayan. Dito makikita ang importansya ng pagtutulungan.”
So enthused Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar of the Mabalacat City government’s donation of 20 Nissan Navarra pick-up trucks to police stations all over Pampanga. Aside from the patrol vehicles, 10 M-16 UDMC rifles were also handed over to the Mabalacat City Police Station.
“Dito ko lang nakita na dumating lahat pati ang gobernador, mga mayors at kanilang mga chiefs of police,” exclaimed Eleazar during the turnover of the patrol vehicles last Friday at the Mabalacat City hall grounds in Xevera.
Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda assisted Mayor Cris Garbo in handing over the ceremonial key to Eleazar, Police Regional Office 3 director Brig. Gen. Valeriano De Leon, and Pampanga police director Col. Arnold Ibay with all town chiefs of police in attendance along with their chief executives led by Pampanga Mayors League president Edgar Flores of Minalin.
“Maraming salamat po kay Mayor Garbo sa donasyon. Makatulong po sana ang mga sasakyan sa mabilis na pagresponde sa pagpapanatili ng katahimikan at kaayusan sa ating mga komunidad,” Pineda thanked the mayor.
Flores went a notch higher in his articulation of the sense of gratitude of his fellow mayors: “Mayor Garbo, mamahalin po namin itong mga ibinigay ninyong patrol vehicles kagaya ng pagmamahal ninyo sa Pampanga.”
“Love of Pampanga.” Flores could not have worded any better.
“These patrol cars are part of our commitment to the province in augmenting peace and order and public safety in the entire province,” Garbo remarked during the turnover rites.
It was not the first time though that the city government shared with LGUs, not only in Pampanga but even in nearby provinces, its own share of the gross income earned from the locators of the Clark Freeport, which greater part falls within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.
“We were only expecting P600 million, but we got P750 million in 2019,” said Garbo of the city’s GIE share in an interview in February 2020. That he considered as “blessings na pinagkaloob ng Panginoon and had to be shared with less fortunate LGUs.”
Thus, in the second quarter of last year, Garbo presided over the distribution of brand new ambulances to 11 beneficiary towns in Pampanga as well as to Mabalacat’s sister cities of Balanga and Olongapo, the towns of Bamban and Capas in Tarlac, and the provincial government of Pampanga.
The city government spent a total of P26 million for the acquisition of the 16 Nissan ambulances.
“For any eventuality,” Garbo said of the prospective use of the ambulances. “Kumpleto po yung gamit niyan may pang-resuscitate, may oxygen, mayroong pang minor surgery.”
The coronavirus pandemic proving some prescience in the words of the mayor who by happenstance is a graduate of medicine.
The donations of the Mabalacat City government to other LGUs is not just any random act of kindness.
Garbo cites then-Gov. Lilia “Nanay” G. Pineda as the “inspiration behind the idea” that originated when he was still a member of the provincial board.
“Nanay expressed sadness at the disparity in the financial standings of the LGUs: how Mabalacat had so much from Clark while other towns had to scrounge for funds. And why despite that, Mabalacat residents had to go to the Capitol for medical assistance and financial help just like those from other towns,” he recalled.
“I made a vow to Nanay: Mabalacat will share its blessings from Clark with the other LGUs in Pampanga once I become mayor. And I have been true to that vow since,” Garbo beamed.