By LEONARDO Q. BELEN
THE number of prestigious awards she has received are more than enough to prove that Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen excels in public service.
Now in her third and last term as Chief Executive of Iriga City, her accomplishments are unprecedented! The youngest and first female mayor ever elected when she assumed mayorship in 2004, she immediately focused herself - with passion - to the development of Iriga City!
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Under her administration, Iriga City received prestigious awards, among which are: Gawad Pamana ng Lahi 2011 (4th Place, Regional Winner) given by the Department of Interior and Local Government Region IV, October 7, 2011) for excellence in local governance; Best Tourism Event, "Tinagba Festival: 2nd Best Tourism Event and Practices in the Philippines, Arts & Culture Category, City Level, given by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, October 5, 2011; 2011 Regional Best Outstanding Local Government Agency (Non-Accredited Category) given by the Civil Service Commission, September 21, 2011, during the CSC 11th Anniversary held in Legaspi City.
2011 Outstanding Human Resource Management Practitioner (Non-Accredited Category) during the 2011 Search for Outstanding HR Management Practitioner given September 21, 2011 in Cebu City; 2010 Top Ten Performing LGUs (Component Cities Category), a citation from the Department of Interior and Local Government; Award for Excellence in Local Governance (City Level Component City Category) for its outstanding performance in strengthening LGU capabiliites and promoting civil society participation, given on August 25, 2010 in Legazpi City;
2010 Galing Pook Award finalist, given by the Galing Pook Foundation on March 17, 2011 in Malacanang Palace for its "Kalikasan Isaayos (Kaisa) environmental protection program; Finalist, 2010 Regional Search for Outstanding Local Government Unit (Non-Accredited Category), given September 8, 2010 in Legazpi City during the 110th Anniversary of the Civil Service Commission; Citation for Best Practices, given by the Asia Foundation and British Embassy for the city's programs on people's participation, revenue generation and environmental protection on February 22-23, 2010 in Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City, and
Saringaya Award, given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region V, for its various environmental programs, given on June 27, 2008 in Naga City. (Photo, right, is the Rafflesia flower that can only be found in Iriga City)
She also received several personal awards from various institutions in recognition of her excellence in public service.
During the start of her first term, Mayor Madelaine immediately launched on September 4, 2004 her program of making Iriga City as Character City which "encouraged the citizenry to become better citizens as well as strengthening the structure of governance." Corollary to this, she obtained a grant from the Asia Foundation and the British Embassy which she used to enhance programs like Public Service Excellence, Ethics and Accountability Program (PSEEAP), the City Development Strategy (CDS), Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG), and the Public Governance System (PGS).
Thus, Iriga City metamorphosed fast from a sleepy, ordinary city into a booming, dynamic one!
Witness the construction of a new government center which replaced the 60-year old city hall during her second term in 2007. And the state-of-the-art Iriga City Public Library which provides internet facilities for students and professional researchers.
With a lot donated by the City Government, Mayor Madelaine "won the support of stakeholders in establishing the Gawad Kalinga, a housing project for the poorest of the poor initiated by an NGO, which has now become a 'designers village" and a favorite tourit destination."
The core of her vision for the city is to make it an agro-ecotourism center of the Philippines. And definitely, the apex of her administration is the inauguration recently of the P70 Million public market!
She has done so much for her constituents that it would take so much space to mention all of them here. Suffice it to say that Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen has achieved so much for the city - and it's so tragic that her term as the city's Chief Executive has to expire soon as mandated by law!
Off-hand, we can say with certainty, that if, in our humble capacity and through this Towns & Cities e-Magazine (and with our printed Special Edition) we will confer an award to her, it will be "EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SERVICE" Award! (We have presented the awards to at least 25 mayors in the past during ceremonies held at the National Press Club of the Philippines. Questionnaire for prospective nominees can be accessed by clicking "Excellence in Public Service" in this e-Magazine.
For the second time, Iriga City will again be hosting the Tinagba-Gayon Bicol Festival of Festivals on February 11, 2012! Mayor Madelaine said the festival is a Department of Tourism Region V program designed to promote the culture of the Bicolanos and enhance tourism in the region.
The cities of Legazpi, Naga, Ligao and Tabaco, and the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Norte, Catanduanes and Sorsogon will be participating in the colorful festival.
Also to be featured are the Extreme Bike Challenge, Tourism Expo, inauguration of the Eco-Adventure Park, Youth Congress, the International Davis Cup Tennis Tournament, and the Mayor's Night. (Posted December 24, 2011)
Scroll down for an earlier story on Iriga City.
MAYOR TO SURGE FORWARD BACOLOD CITY
BY LEONARDO Q. BELEN
BACOLOD CITY - Mayor Evelio "Bing" Leonardia vowed to make this city "surge" forward during the "last three minutes" of his administration.
Mayor Leonardia made the statement during his 4th induction to office held Saturday, July 3,2010 at the front lobby of the new Bacolod City Hall. World-famous boxing champion now Rep. Manny Pacquiao (Lone District, Saranggani) administered the oath of office of Mayor Leonardia.
Mayor Leonardia became the city chief executive in 1995, then in 2004. re-elected in 2007, and again re-elected in the May 10, 2010 national and local elections.
By "last three minutes," he meant his last three-year term as Bacolod City chief executive.
Earlier before his induction, he led the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new city hall constructed at an amount of about P350 million.
Madame Gretchen Cojuangco was among the principal sponsors in the ceremony, with guests Sen. Franklin Drilon, Rep. Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinky, among others.
The new city hall, now dubbed as an architectural wonder and probably the best in the Philippines, sits on a five-hectare lot donated by the philanthropist Fernando F. Gonzaga, represented by his heirs and the Angela Estate, Inc.
Mayor Leonardia cited the growth of the city, making its annual income as its barometer. In 2004, the city had a P618 million annual income which has grown to P1.2 Billion.
He also cited dynamic growth in various industries, like the hotel industry where there are now more than 2,000 rooms, or a 65 percent growth from 2004. "The construction industry," he stressed, "has also grown to more than a billion-peso industry annually."
Another evidence of progress in the city, he also said, was the growth of call centers, where about 7,000 workers are now employed, from a zero in 2004.
"Our new city hall," Mayor Leonardia also stressed, "builds confidence among us, and it is an attraction for new investors."
Bacolod City, also dubbed as the City of Smiles, is business friendly, for since 2004, it has not changed its tax structure.
Further, its peace and order situation is considered as excellent.
The city under his watch, has also won several prestigious awards, such as excellence in economic development, excellence in social service, and peace and order, among others.
"We shall surge forward," he told his constituents, "but I need your genuine support and cooperation!"
Before Rep. Manny Pacquiao administered the mayor's oath of office, the boxing champ said that one reason the Bacolodians must smile with gratitude is that Mayor Evelio Leonardia is committed to excellence in public service! It is worthwhile to recall that during his first term, the printed version of this e-Magazine, conferred to Mayor Leonardia, among 12 other mayors, the "Excellence in Public Service Award.(Posted July 7, 2010)
IRIGA CITY - With an overwhelming landslide victory over her rival during the May 10, 2010 national and local elections, Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen is now even more determined to undertake projects that will make a great difference in the lives of "Irigans" (author).
On the block, so to speak, is a 1.4 hectare public market that will be finished within the middle of the year. "It's a public market whose four sides are all entrances," Mayor Madelaine said. The structure will cost about P70 Million.
The public market will be theMayor's biggest legacy on her third term as a mayor of this city.
The Iriga City Hall is an evidence of the undergoing modernization of the city which the energetic Mayor saw as an enhancement of the city government's services to the people.
The computerization of the City Hall has also improved tax collection, thus increasing the revenues of the City Goverment.
"We have also improved our monitoring of business establishments within the city and we noted an unprecedented increase of compliance to our tax regulations," Mayor Madelaine explained.
"We are also very careful in accepting new investors or economic players," she added. "We must see to it that the business they establish here is viable, that they must have a comfortable ROI. We do not encourage them just so to earn revenues for the City Goverment. We must be fair with them!"
A new visitor to Iriga City may consider night life so dry. No, night life here is vibrant, minus of course the3 night clubs or cocktail lounges like what you see in other cities. "Iriga City is a character city," Mayor Madelaine stressed. "We are promoting here values. Even our Miss Iriga City beauty pageant is devoid of swimsuit catergory."
Yes, we have attended at least two Miss Iriga Beauty pageants and found them to be more interesting and wholesome. The recent beauty pageant held June 11, 2010 was expanded to Miss Iriga City, Miss Rinconada, and Miss Bicol Tourism.
The theme of the triple beauty pageant was Nationalism and Patriotism. Well-known choreographer Dohglas Nierras served as chairman of the Board of Judges with Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez as among the members of the Board of Judges. Multi-awarded movie/TV actress Iza Calzado hosted the show.
The winners were, Linda Buckland, Miss Iriga City 2010; Princess D. Armillos, Miss Rinconada 2010; and Casey Ann A. Austria, Miss Bicol Tourism. The runners-up were Micca Jane V. Vinas, 2nd Runner-up, and Nikki Chairmaine B. Alfelor, 1st Runner-up.