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Caluag’s vision for San Fernando: A global smart city

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Mayor Vilma Caluag’S vision for the City of San Fernando to be a global smart city.

In her first 100 days in office report, the first lady mayor of the city said she is eyeing to make San Fernando a model city in social development where citizens live in a healthy, safe, and sustainable environment with sufficient economic opportunities.

“For the following days to come, let us be together and destroy whatever that hinders us to… Let us help each other to be bridges that will connect hope to all Fernandinos… Let us cross the bridge and see what is on the other side so we could learn to be more compassionate and kind,” she said.

She added that under her term, the city should have a rich cultural heritage, stronger public governance, and responsible citizenry.

On health capacity improvement

Among the thrusts of the Caluag administration is the delivery of excellent quality healthcare to the public.

As early as her 99th day in office, the local chief executive inaugurated the first Fernandino hemodialysis center located at the City Civic Center compound in barangay San Isidro.

“I am proud to tell you that our dialysis center was erected without any cost from the city. This will be the same with our patients. We will not let them spend a huge amount of money because we will be providing this for free,” Caluag pressed.

She added that the construction and operation will not cost the city any monetary requirement as it was built through a public-private partnership with Luzon Medical System. 

At present, the center has 25 dialysis machines that can cater about 75 patients daily. 

It is awaiting its license to operate before it begins to give treatment to indigent Fernandinos. 

“During the previous administration, when we still do not have our own dialysis center, we have spent approximately P8.9 million for financial assistance given to patients. Now that we have our own center, we can just possibly spend about P3.8 million per year for the medicines given to them,” Caluag stated.

Fernandino dialysis patients who opt to avail the services of the center may register by submitting the requirements including medical abstract, prescription, certificate of indigency or residency, and any government-issued identification card.

Records from the city shows that there are already 219 enlisted dialysis patients, as of October 6.

On equal access to education

In addition, Caluag is prioritizing the provision of quality and equal access to education for all Fernandino youth.

She amended the admission qualification standards of the City College of San Fernando to make inclusive policies for average students whom she said are equally qualified and deserving.

“Let us not deprive our youth with a weapon that they can use as they go through the battles of their lives. Let us not become hindrances on the achievement of their dreams… The city government will strive to be a bridge that will link these students to their dreams,” she stated.

There are now about 1,500 students, from the initial 700, enrolled in the said school.

The local chief executive also laid out her programs for the college including the opening of more courses for students, the continued expansion of its facilities, and plans to raise the number of scholars from the city.

On boosting tourism

Apart from these, Caluag also endeavored to boost the city’s tourism especially during the –ber months.

She had proven that San Fernando is indeed the Christmas Capital of the Philippines by displaying various lanterns and decorations in 13 strategic places in the city ahead of the Christmas season.

The city government tapped five lantern makers this year, with all the holiday decorations costing about P7 million.

“We have also opened the first-ever Paskuhan night market located at the Giant Lantern and Tourist Information Center. Visit and join us there with your family and friends,” she added.

The night market is open every Fridays to Sundays until December 30, with weekly performances of local artists.

There is also a Christmas food fair at the Heroes Hall where the public may enjoy various local food products every Fridays to Sundays at 5:00PM to 10:00PM.

Also, the local chief executive bared her programs in support to the giant lantern tradition of the city.

Caluag recently announced that the city government doubled the subsidies for the participating barangays in this year’s Giant Lantern Festival (GLF) to P300,000 from the initial P150,000. The grand prize also doubled to P300,000.

The GLF is a decade-long tradition of the city featuring 20-feet-tall lanterns composed of about 10,000 light bulbs operated manually. It gathers thousands of spectators every year.

Ten villages including Bulaon, Calulut, Del Pilar, Dolores, Pandaras, San Juan, San Nicolas, Sta. Lucia, Sto. Nino, and Telabastagan will be competing for this year’s festival which will be held at the Robinsons Starmills on December 17.

City of San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag delivers her first 100 days in office report on October 10, highlighting her various accomplishments on health, education, and tourism (PIA 3)