NO, HE didn’t hit the ground running. Yes, Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. was virtually sprinting before he even hit the ground.
Prior to his inaugural, Lazatin had already made public definitive decisions on massive overhauls at the Ospital ning Angeles, and the review – with reprioritization in sight – of the more massive loans the previous administration entered into for a new city hall and sports complex.
Right on the day he was sworn into office, Lazatin declared a “one-strike policy” to weed out erring city hall employees, making specific the “rotten eggs…asking money for fixing permits, arranging discounts on real property taxes, fixing marriage licenses, annulments, adoptions and facilitating building permits.” For that singular purpose of upholding integrity and transparency at city hall, he would task investigators and legal assistants.
Within his first week in office, Lazatin has certainly undertaken more mayoral tasks than any of his predecessors, his father Cong Tarzan not excluded, within the same time frame. Arguably, with even a longer period for the others.
A total truck ban has been imposed along Pandan Road, to include Pandan Bridge. This, pursuant to the DPWH certification on the “inadequacy” of bridge to bear the load of trucks weighing over 20 tons.
This, even as hizzoner brainstormed with DPWH engineers on the development of a diversion road in barangays Cacutud and Pulung Maragul if only to ease traffic in the vicinity of those areas abutting to Pandan.
To reclaim for employees and visitors a section of the city hall parking area, impounded and junked vehicles dumped there for as long as anyone in the city GSO can remember have been ordered release by Lazatin. The absence of the “custodia legis” principle was cited in the release order.
Parking at the city hall complex was constricted with the diggings for the new city hall sited at the very parking area fronting the current one. With the mayor’s order to suspend the construction of the new government edifice, the area will be reverted to a parking lot, the mayor said.
Suspension Speaking of suspension, Lazatin ordered the City Environment and Natural Resources Office to stop the issuance of environmental compliance clearance to businesses, a requirement in securing the Mayor’s Permit.
“The suspension shall be until such time that the process of issuance of such requirement shall have been recalibrated in such a manner that it both satisfies national and local environmental laws, rules, and regulations and serves most of all the best interest of taxpayers,” read the order.
Upholding the highest interest of the public and serving them to the best capacity of city hall employees warranted the strict compliance to working hours and the No Lunch Break policy.
Even more stringent is the mayor’s fiat to the ONA staff , as it is “…their duty to serve the marginalized people of Angeles City with all their heart and sincerity. I will order them to be friendly at all times. To be sensitive to the needs of our marginalized constituents or, otherwise, I will deal with them with an iron hand. I will reiterate that I will enforce a one-strike policy to ONA employees, who are mistreating patients.”
With its P2 billion budget, Lazatin said “there is no stopping my administration from rehabilitating ONA so we can provide excellent health care services to our marginalized sectors.” There fits the need for malasakit and professionalism of the hospital staff.
As for the poorer sectors of the Angeles City society, so too for its captains of commerce and industry.
“In the area of economics, I will make sure that my administration will be business friendly,” said Lazatin, declaring that there will be no – as yet foreseeable – increases in business and real property taxes. In their stead, the enforcement of strict and proper collection of taxes to increase the city coffers.
Amity with the business sector will also include dialogues with the certainty that “their inputs shall be continuously considered in the determination of policies that would enhance the business climate in the city.”
Happy and Immediate, so apparently, was the business sector’s acceptance of the friendly hand Lazatin offered.
Within his first few days at city hall, the officers of the Metro Angeles City Chamber at Commerce and Industry expressed full support of his socio-economic programs during their courtesy meeting with the mayor.
This was followed by Clark Investors and Locators Association chair Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, in his capacity as BB International president-CEO signing a MOA with Lazatin for the establishment of an e-Library at the City College of Angeles where BBI has 30 scholars.
And by the end of the week just past, Lazatin was considering a tourism masterplan to ride on the development of the Clark airport.
“Tourism is a gold mine waiting to be unearthed. Fortunately, we have Clark… Its development shall Angeles City a tourist destination, both international and domestic. We are coordinating with the leaders of the industry and jointly, we will be crafting a city master plan for tourism,” he said.
But first, Lazatin ordered, improved waste management. “In order to attract trade and tourism, we should make sure that the city is physically clean and impressive, and with a properly managed traffic system. Our garbage collection will definitely be given priority.”
Meanwhile, the city library has been ordered open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lola Prudencia Inocencio, aged 101, of Barangay Cacutud was personally handed by the mayor her centenarian check of P100,000 and a DSWD certification. Generating a vow from Lazatin: “The members of the senior citizens, our parents, will be given priority under my leadership. They will be provided with free cataract operations, free medicines and checkups and even simple cakes for their birthdays.”
All in a week’s work. No, Lazatin is not – to use the current parlance for the go-go local chief executive – “umiisko,” after the Manila mayor. Lazatin is simply being himself – Pogi.