GENERAL SANTOS CITY (6 June 2016) – Going into his second term now, he is still thirsty for change.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera, the political maverick from the recluse side of Gensan’s business community, was inaugurated again as the local chief executive of Gensan on the morning of Monday (June 6) in front of City Hall.
His inauguration was witnessed mostly by local government employees and different stakeholders.
His family was also present, including his parents Rodrigo Rivera and Dolores Rivera—the luminaries behind the RD Group of Companies.
But most importantly, Mayor Rivera’s oath-taking ceremony was seen by the residents of Gensan—the very people he promised real and continual change.
Now, Mayor Rivera admitted there’s still a lot to be done, despite the drastic positive inputs he has brought to the city.
As reference for this, he cited in his inaugural speech the growth of the city’s overall revenue collection.
“I am happy to announce that we have had promising data in the areas in tax collections from 2013-2015; we made an increase of 32%, over all. In fact, we have had a steady surge of increase of 22% for our overall revenues,” Rivera declared.
“However, let us not be too ecstatic, we are still greatly IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) dependent, and to me, it is not acceptable and it is a challenge for all of us,” he added.
The increase in the revenue collection benefits the city.
This means that the city can provide more budget allocations for programs and projects such as paving of roads, installation of street lights, and provision of water systems to rural areas.
In one of his guestings in a TV station here in Gensan, Rivera said that his second term will be focused on bringing more economic drive in the city, as well as giving solutions to seemingly perennial problems in the transport sector.
He also said that education and housing and relocation sites for the marginalized sector, indigenous, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be prioritized in his second term as the city mayor.
The institution of a public safety office, just like the Central 911 of Davao City, will also be initiated.
But before all of these, Mayor Rivera has already embarked on the journey towards changing the former status quo, which he described as inadequate and complacent.
He started the change by reinstituting the General Santos City Hospital which had been previously left out with inadequate medicine supplies, equipment, and personnel.
Rivera also led a full-system audit of the said hospital that has resulted into uncovering anomalies and resignation of some of its personnel.
The mayor also instigated a major street light installation in different main thoroughfares of the city for the past two years and ten months.
This street lighting project cost around P100 million, proving Rivera’s efficiency and accountability in handling government funds.
Rivera is also the first local chief executive in Region 12 to implement a strict and highly abided Anti-Smoking Ordinance, just like in Davao City.
Despite all of these considerable achievements, Rivera still accented that he wants more, especially now that the Philippines is under a new administration that operates under the same battle cry for change.
“I have realized [that] we need to get General Santos City to grow more, and this is our time to lead. Blaming others is not of my menu of leadership. I always say, tayo na ang nandito, tayo na ang may responsibilidad na gawin ang mga bagay na dapat gawin,” Mayor Rivera bared.
Other elected public officials in Gensan, specifically vice mayor Shirlyn Bañas Nograles and the rest of the city councilors also took their oath of office on the same day. (Ian John Lagare/ Gensan CPIO)