The success and continued progress of the City of Santa Rosa has always been attributed to its people – their resilience and determination have transformed the city into one of the best and most admirable cities in the country. And the annual celebration of the Sikhayan Festival, which marks its 20th year today, is the tribute of the local government to its people – the city’s most valuable resource.
Indeed, citizen engagement and participation in governance are the hallmark of Santa Rosa that has enabled the local government to achieve excellence. The collaboration of local officials, the partnership with businesses and people’s organizations, the seamless working relations among stakeholders have solidified Santa Rosa’s position as a prime location for business, residence and tourism.All these can be gleamed from what the city has accomplished over the last three years alone. Over the least three years, Mayor Dan S. Fernandez and the executive branch, Vice Mayor Arnold B. Arcillas and the entire Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Congresswoman Arlene B. Arcillas have achieved the ideal and shown that what is seemingly impossible is achievable – that collaboration, sharing of a vision, selflessness will lead to better governance that will result in better services to its people.
On top of the list is the Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center (DPRC), which the city pursued in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to action against illegal drugs. Launched on the first year of the current administration, DPRC is the first ever rehabilitation center in the country to be operated and funded by a city government.
DPRC served as home to high-risk drug dependents who voluntarily surrendered during “Oplan Tokhang,” while moderate to low risk drug dependents underwent the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program in their respective barangays.
Since its inception on January 2017, a total of 91 surrenderees completed the program in the DPRC. Of the total number, three completed program under the Balay Silangan Reformation Center which was formally launched on August 2018 to address the need to rehabilitate known drug pushers.
These feats in peace and order enabled the City to become one of the 241 local government units in the country to bag the 2018 Anti-Drug Abuse Council Performance Award given by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In 2017, the city was given the Special Unit Award on the Campaign Against Illegal Drugs by the Philippine National Police – Police Regional Office CALABARZON. In 2018, five barangays were declared drug-cleared by the Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs. In January 2019, another barangay joined the roster of drug-cleared barangays in the city.
Testament to excellent service was the ISO certification of additional offices that has resulted in a more orderly and organized set of frontline services and procedures. The structure of the City Government was also systematized having adopted the City Plantilla as required by the Civil Service Commission. All these are integrated in the re-engineered Citizen’s Charter, the guide to citizens seeking the services of the city government as provided by Republic Act No. 11032, otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
The efficiency in the services of the city, particularly in the registration and renewal of business permits, has earned it the Blue Certification Level I from the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016.
Several infrastructures that are now beneficial and functional for the City and its people were constructed. Primary among this is the state-of-the-art Command Center, which is now fully-operational complemented with its high-technology equipment. The Command Center monitors the traffic and the CCTVs installed all over the city and coordinates with the City Traffic Management and Enforcement Office, the Santa Rosa City Police Station, the Santa Rosa City Fire Station, and the City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office to quickly respond to accidents, disasters, and emergencies.
There is also the Regional Evacuation Center with complete facilities that could cater up to 33 families. This was made possible through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The City also inaugurated the new building for the Santa Rosa Manpower Training Center (SRMTC) on December 2018 to cater to more students seeking to have technical skills for certification by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Complementing this is the construction of additional classroom building for the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Santa Rosa Campus.
In its push to transform the Santa Rosa Community Hospital (SRCH) into a Level II hospital, a new building broke ground on October 2018. Upon its construction, the hospital can accommodate more patients and provide more services and will add more accolades the hospital which received the Hospital Performance Achiever Award based in 2016 and 2017 LGU-Scorecards from the Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health Region IV-A.
In October 2016, the city also launched the Point of Care (POC) Program in SRCH. It is a health care mechanism wherein an indigent person needing urgent medical attention could be admitted in our Santa Rosa Community Hospital at any time and the city will be shouldering the premium contribution for one year.
With all these efforts turned into accomplishments, the city was able to keep hold of the city’s previous accolades, and even garnered some of the highest awards in different sectors of public service.
The City of Santa Rosa secured the prestigious Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Award by the DILG for years 2017 and 2018 for its excellent performance in promoting good governance, transparency, and effective and efficient public services.
Another accolade related to governance is the Recognition of Excellence Award from OpenGov Asia given on April 2018 for the “innovative use of technology through optimization of government processes, delivering citizen-centric services and pushing new boundaries”.
Due to the city’s outstanding performance in its nutrition programs, it also received the highest and most prestigious recognition from the National Nutrition Council – the Nutrition Honor Award (NHA) which elevated the city among the hall of fame achievers in nutrition.
This is in addition to the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon Diamond Award by the Nutrition Center of the Philippines also received in 2018.
In the environment sector, Santa Rosa is multi-awarded. It was recognized as the National Earth Hour Capital in 2016 and ASEAN ESC Model Cities in 2017.
It also received awards from the DILG. These are Silver Award (City Level) for Environmental Compliance Audit (ECA) Awards in 2016, the Silver Award for Provincial ECA in 2017, and Gold Awardee for ECA for 2018. All of these are due to its contribution in the rehabilitation and preservation of Manila Bay and its watershed. It also was accorded the 2018 Environment Friendly Award by The Manila Times Philippine Model Cities.
Other honorifics in the last three years were the 2017 Safe Haven Award given by The Manila Times Philippine Model Cities; Tourism Excellence Award for Local Government given by the Department of Tourism Region IV-A on 2017; and the 2018 Seal of Child Friendly Governance given by the DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
All these and more are a testament to the excellence and fruitful years of the City of Santa Rosa. As in the words of Mayor Dan S. Fernandez, it’s a job well done.