Angeles City—The city government has earmarked a total of P147 million for the improvement of the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center (RLMMC) and its online education program, as it continues to battle the highly infectious coronavirus disease.
Mayor Carmelo Lazatin said the public measures aim to protect the people, prevent the transmission of the virus in the city, and support the government’s online education program under the “new normal.”
In his State of the City address Friday, Lazatin said the hospital improvement aims to turn the center into a Level 2 facility by procuring modern medical equipment for it and constructing intensive care units, pediatric and gynecology services to better serve the people.
“I believe that a healthy citizenry is the backbone of a productive society,” Lazatin said.
Also known as Ospital Ning Angeles (ONA), the RLMMC plays a vital role in the city’s fight against the coronavirus, even providing the cheapest and free medical treatments to residents, indigents and senior citizens.
According to the mayor, the remaining P47 million is intended for buying 90,000 electronic gadgets in support of the digital public program and the improvement of the City College of Angeles (CCA).
The RLMMC and CCA currently serve as quarantine facilities for the city.
“Although the online education system remains untested in the country, we are supporting the program in this time of pandemic with internet connection for public schools free of charge,” he said.
With its annual budget of P2 billion, Lazatin said the city government will continue to strengthen the RLMMC so it can provide more medical services to the people.
Angeles has 29 COVID-19 cases — 23 recovered with four deaths since March 12.
The city government continues to assist all affected sectors, both financial and through relief goods and livelihood projects worth several million pesos, Lazatin said.
“We continue to raise the bar of public service but urge the residents to also follow health protocols of new normal condition under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ),” he said.
For the first time in 13 years, he said the city government has recorded a budget surplus of P192,961,702.95 after requirement due to sound fiscal management and intensified collection of business and real property taxes for 2019.
The remainder of the budget was spent on programs like anti-drug campaigns, peace and order, infrastructure development, and livelihood projects for small businesses, people with disabilities, and senior citizen.
This city, located near Clark Freeport with a population of 411,634 based on the 2015 census, now faces a water shortage, as shown by the findings of a United Nations arm recently.
The UN Habitat has chosen Angeles City as one of its partner-cities in the Building Climate Resiliency thru Urban Plans and Design Project (BCRUPD), as the Philippines is one of 190 countries signatory to the Paris Agreement of 2015.
Lazatin said under the partnership, a pilot demonstration project was established in barangay Margot for tree planting to lessen water scarcity for residents and especially farmers.
“The planting of more trees will increase our ability to adapt to the adverse impact of climate change and reduce greenhouse emissions, as provided for by the Paris Agreement,” he added.
The mayor thanked Vice Mayor Vicky Vega, the city council, chief adviser IC Calaguas, executive assistant Reina Manuel, chief of office Engr. Don Dizon, Social Welfare Chief Edna Duaso, and others for the success of his administration.