LAST Wednesday, I was among thousands of proud Muntinlupeños who packed the Muntinlupa Sports Complex to the rafters to listen to City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi deliver his State of the City Address.
The occasion coincided with the date, 22 years ago, when President Fidel V. Ramos, signed into law RA 7926, also known as the Muntinlupa City Charter.
The celebration was also part of a year-long schedule of activities to mark the 100th year since Muntinlupa became a independent municipality in 1917.
Ramos, the most prominent adopted son of Muntinlupa, has been very much part of Muntinlupa's development and progress. Another of his landmark contributions was his decision to open up the Alabang Stock Farm to a joint venture development by the private sector.
The venture produced the Filinvest Corporate City which constituted the "second wave" in the development of Muntinlupa as a business and commercial hub.
Much earlier in the mid 80s, the Ayala group led the "first wave" with the development of Ayala Alabang and the Madrigal Business Park.
Residents are now eagerly awaiting the "third wave" with the planned relocation of the New Bilibid Prison and the conversion of the vacated area for mixed use commercial development.
Fresnedi, who in 2013 reassumed office which he earlier held from 1998 to 2007, was not boasting when he enumerated the gains he made during the last few years.
The infrastructure development boom in Muntinlupa is simply evident everywhere.
On Muntinlupa Cityhood Day, Fresnedi led city officials and residents in inaugurating Centennial Road which provides easy access from the national road to the Sports Complex. Also inaugurated was a children's playground (Bulilit Center) in Barangay Tunasan.
One cannot miss the newly completed police headquarters in the vicinity, now regarded as the most modern in the country. Even NCR Regional Director Oscar Albayalde concedes that the Muntinlupa police headquarters eclipses the facilities at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
Earlier, Fresnedi completed the DepEd Division building, several school buildings, gymnasiums, covered courts, pavilions, and day care centers.
Among the projects in the pipeline are the following: the proposed Muntinlupa museum, a 3-storey government center in Barangay Poblacion, a modern fire station, more health centers, an upgrade of the Ospital ng Muntinlupa, and a proposed Colegio de Muntinlupa in Barangay Sucat.
The construction of the first building of the proposed college will start this year. When completed the proposed new college will offer a course in engineering.
Fresnedi also reported on the city's initiatives in human resource development. For 2017, the City Government has earmarked 214 million pesos to cover basic expenses of 50,000 scholars at all school levels - from elementary, high school, technical-vocational, college and even post-graduate courses.
Muntinlupa's Joint Resources Financing (JRF) Program, now also nicknamed as a “5-5” because it gives interest free loans for micro-entrepreneurs, has already helped around 5,000 beneficiaries. Loans range from P3,000 to as high as P100,000.
The city has also adopted a few more office process innovations to further improve the speed and ease of transacting with city hall. Case in point is the new system in place at the business permits office, the single window transaction or SWIT.
Related programs include tie-ups with DBP, Land Bank and BDO, all designed to facilitate point of sales payment during tax payment periods.
BPLO head Gary LLamas estimates that with the more efficient system, they expect to hit P1.84 billion pesos in business taxes, more than double that collected five years ago.
Already host to satellite offices of key frontline government offices (e.g., DFA, BIR, NBI, SSS), Muntinlupa will soon welcome the opening of the satellite office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Muntinlupa is currently headed by Jaime R. Fresnedi (City Mayor) and Rufino Rozanno Biazon (Congressman).
The following make up the City Council: Celso A. Dioko (Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer), Councilors (District I): Ivee A. Tadefa, Atty. Patricio L. Boncayao Jr., Bal Niefes, Stephanie G. Teves, Louisito A. Arciaga. Allan Camilon, Ringo A. Teves, Alexander B. Diaz. Councilors (District II): Christine Abas, Grace Gonzaga, Ma. Dhesiree G. Arevalo, Lucio Bago Constantino, Victor Ulanday, Marissa Rongavilla, Rafael T. Sevilla, Lester Baes. ABC Chairman: Walter A. Arcilla.
Muntinlupa's 9 barangays are led as follows: Sucat - Mamerto Sevilla, Buli - Ric Cole, Cupang - Rainier Bulos, Alabang - Ahyie Gonzaga, Ayala Alabang -Ruben Baes, Bayanan - Ador San Pedro, Putatan - Danny Teves, Poblacion - Allen Ampaya and Tunasan - Walter A Arcilla.
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