The kind of ‘recall’ Puerto Princesa City needs
This is in response to the articles written by Neal C. Cruz (“Why is Comelec delaying recall election?” Opinion, 1/2/15) and Ramon Tulfo (“Why Brillantes is delaying recall poll,” Metro, 1/3/15) on the so-called clamor for a recall election in Puerto Princesa City against Mayor Lucilo Bayron.
Both columnists asserted that the recall has the popular backing of the people, stemming from their disgust over the current city administration’s alleged “gross negligence” and “graft practices” which have resulted in declining tourist arrivals, among many other issues. Nothing is farther from the truth.
Truth is, under Mayor Bayron’s able stewardship of Puerto Princesa, good governance is dutifully implemented. This is clearly demonstrated by how he efficiently put the city’s coffers (left by the previous administration in a state of bankruptcy with a cash deficit of more than half a billion pesos or a whopping P663 million) back in the black.
Mayor Bayron implements a sound fiscal management policy; he has settled many of the city’s outstanding obligations and has increased the local government unit’s efficiency in collecting the business tax and realty tax. This is felt by the city’s public employees, whose salaries are paid on time, including their GSIS and Pag-Ibig contributions. And for the first time after a very long time, they received their much-deserved Christmas bonuses this past December.
Also, under Mayor Bayron’s watch, Puerto Princesa achieved a historic record in 2013 with 694,000 tourist arrivals. In fact, in Mayor Bayron’s first seven months in office—from July 2013 to January 2014—the number of tourist arrivals surpassed those made in 2012-2013 by more than 12,000 tourists. As such, the accusation that Puerto Princesa’s tourism has faltered under Mayor Bayron’s term falls flat in the face of this undeniable data.
The Commission on Elections is correct in exercising caution in handling this so-called recall which is contrary to the public’s true sentiments. One and a half years have passed since Mayor Bayron defeated the forces of abuse that reigned in the city for 20 years; and his administration has already planted the seeds of reform and meaningful change in Puerto Princesa.
The sham call for a recall, which is obviously led by a discredited politician bent on returning to power, runs counter to Puerto Princesa’s campaign for reforms. If there is a “recall” the people of Puerto Princesa need, it is a collective effort to recall the city’s shady and abusive past, which they left one and half years ago when they elected Mayor Bayron. This is the only “recall” Puerto Princesa needs to sustain the momentum of change.
Office of the Mayor,
New City Hall Complex,
Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City
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