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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Balanga City’s visionary leader

As Bataan’s seat of government and the province’s center for trade and industry, Balanga is one of the most affluent towns in the area. It was inaugurated as a city on December 30, 2000 through Republic Act 8984. Agriculture has always been its chief industry, with fishing providing a steady source of income to residents near the sea or rivers.

Legends claim that the name “Balanga” was derived from a pot used for cooking or fetching water. This cooking pot, made with a special clay, is locally known as “banga” or “balanga.” During the Spanish occupation, the early community often used this pot for fetching water, and the Spaniards would ask what they called it, and they would answer, “banga.” The Spaniards would repeat the word until they adopted the community’s name.

Balanga City Mayor Francis Garcia

Guiding Balanga residents and preserving the city’s economic status is incumbent mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia, who first assumed the position in 2016 and again in 2022, when he ran unopposed.

Garcia wasted no time improving Balanga’s industries and communities. He focused on his advocacies, bringing great results to the city, including transforming it into a Smoke and Tobacco-Free Generation City. He also oversaw the implementation of excellent educational approaches, the establishment of computer facilities in villages and schools, and the creation of more job opportunities.

It helps reinforce Balanga’s vision of becoming a Smart University Town by 2030, making it an established center for Global Technology Businesses.

Under his administration, he established the City Health Promotion Board and Barangay Learning Centers.

He doesn’t shy away from embracing technological advancements that could bring long-term advantages, like equipping the youth with the appropriate skills required to navigate the modern world. He also provides school supplies to institutions across his jurisdiction to inspire its students to dedicate themselves to their studies and pursue brighter paths ahead.

Last month, he led the 2023 Youth Camp with the theme “Adolescent Friendly City: A Journey of Discovery.”

The camp was an ideal opportunity to strengthen Balanga City’s youth sector by conceptualizing, launching, and participating in projects that improve the younger generation’s social consciousness, like how to use social media responsibly, Adolescent Reproductive Health, and Teenage Pregnancy. Participating youth also learned about their tasks and responsibilities as leaders of Kabataang Balangueño.

In the meantime, the Balanga City Mayor also encourages investors to take a chance on Balanga, as they can play pivotal roles in leading its local industries and economies toward a more futuristic approach.

Garcia (fourth from rigaht) during the opening ceremony of the Bataan Feed Manufacturing Plant in Balanga

As an offshoot of continued progress and development in the province resulting from a continuous offer of outstanding incentives to investors, Balanga City has a growing demand for real estate, including residential and commercial properties for apartments, condominiums, convention centers, and office spaces.

Despite Garcia’s positive outlook for the future, he doesn’t forget to look back at the grassroots communities that contribute immensely to the prosperity of Balanga, namely the agriculture sector.

He finds a perfect balance between implementing new agri-related technology and traditional yet tested methods to empower farmers while increasing their productivity.

Garcia is far from throwing in the towel in developing Balanga City into the progressive city he envisions, making it the standard for good governance and modernity in Bataan. Although it’s his final term in office, he continues to intensify his efforts to meet the city’s 2030 vision and leave a lasting legacy that will benefit Balanga residents.

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