In 2007, when Arlene B. Arcillas first assumed office as City Mayor, she envisioned Santa Rosa as a progressive city with sustained growth and improved quality of life of the residents, as encapsulated in her slogan SERBISYONG MAKATAO, LUNGSOD NA MAKABAGO.
With a firm belief that for development to be sustainable, it is vital to strengthen the fundamentals of the city in all aspects, Mayor Arlene established her administration’s platform of governance and framework of sustainable development which she called as the Four Pillars of Development.
Anchored on the major sectors that local governance must address, the platform is grouped into four building blocks that will ensure the local government is responsive, pro-active, inclusive and participative: Pillar of Knowledge and Skills for the Youth and Women; Pillar of Clean Environment and Healthy Lifestyle; Pillar of Livelihood and Job Generation; and Pillar of Peaceful and Orderly Communities.
While pushing for development, she recognizes that the city must also prepare its people, its stakeholders and its institutions so it can properly adapt and adjust to the changing needs and demands of the times.
Mayor Arlene boosted the city’s revenue generation through the computerization program, increasing efficiency in revenue collection. By the end of her first year in office, the income of the City of Santa Rosa has breached the PhP1 billion mark, placing the city as comparable to the major cities of Metro Manila.
Red tape and fixers were also eliminated, with implementation of the Citizen’s Charter under the Anti-Red Tape Act. Santa Rosa was the pilot city of the Civil Service Commission. Further enhancing the efficiency of the city government’s departments and offices was the ISO certification, which is an ongoing program for all offices. ISO certification ensures that the services of the city government are at par with international standards.
Proof of the transparency, efficiency and accountability of the city government under the administration of Mayor Arlene were many awards and accolades such the Seal of Good Housekeeping from the DILG, the Blue Ribbon Certification from the Office of the Ombudsman, among others. The most prestigious received was the Presidental Lingkod Bayan Award in 2011, the highest award given in the country through the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President of the Republic. Mayor Arlene was the first city mayor to receive such honor.
In her three terms as City Mayor, Mayor Arlene worked on further strengthening these Pillars by instituting reforms that she believed are needed to sustain the state of progress the city is in at the time. Programs and services executed were geared towards achieving the vision for Santa Rosa to become a “world class, smart and green city with a sustained and inclusive economic growth that is driven by a transparent and accountable local government, effective civil servants and empowered citizenry.”
In 2016, Arlene ran unrivaled as Representative of the First District of Laguna and extended her care and leadership to constituents in Cities of Santa Rosa and San Pedro.
During this time, Mayor Danilo Ramon Fernandez continued the flagship projects of former Mayor Arlene and implemented a few of his own. It was during his administration when the City of Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex and the state-of-the-art Central Command Center were inaugurated.
As support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign, he also initiated the anti-drug abuse campaign of the city and established the Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center. The unveiling of the marker of Cuartel de Santo Domingo as an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum was also realized during his time. These are only some of the priority programs that Mayor Dan’s administration implemented which he considered to guide the city in a smooth journey towards further growth and development.
The Pillars were established and strengthened during Arlene’s administration as Mayor from 2007 to 2016, and were reinforced even more during the term of Mayor Dan on 2016 to 2019.
Now, similar to a mother coming home to her family, she is back to where her heart truly belongs. After careful focus on founding and boosting the “Pillars” of the city she calls home, Mayor Arlene will now focus on the “Family” and achieve the city’s vision for them. Upon her assumption of office as the elected city mayor of the City of Santa Rosa this 2019, she now endeavors to make the city safe, stable and sustainable for its people – just like what a home should be for its family.
Safe. As defined, safety is a state where one is protected from harm or not exposed to danger. This clearly includes safety in terms of peace and order, and preparedness against disaster; but also includes care for the people’s health and environment, and providing shelter, among others.
Stable. Every family wants stability and this area comprise of favorable economic condition, opportunities for growth in terms of education and skills development, reliable social services and more.
Sustainable. Though not usually associated to families, sustainability – which means the ability to be maintained or continued – is also something families long for. Yes, safety and stability in homes are of vital importance, but sustainability is what parents truly want for their self and their children. Same goes for the city government.
As an institution mandated to provide for the needs of its people, programs and services to be offered must be long-term and continuing for the benefit of families today and in the future. Sustainability is desired not only with regards to, for example, environment and livelihood but more importantly, for the resources of the city government to be able to last and carry on. This means investment must be made with sound judgment and careful planning so it can be beneficial for more generations of Rosenians.
Safe, stable and sustainable. These words briefly illustrate what Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas wants for the people of Santa Rosa whom she refers to as her family. These three words will guide her as she performs her mandate as leader of this city and as she works to truly provide for the needs of her constituents – an act befitting of a true mother of Rosenian families. (macariño)