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Cortes cites gains of 8-year ‘transformation’ of Mandaue in State of the City Address

By: Eileen G. Mangubat, Melissa Q. Cabahug August 27,2015 - 02:48 AM



Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes describes the “culture change” in Mandaue city government personnel  and partnerships with the private sector in his final  State of the City Address  at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.  (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes describes the “culture change” in Mandaue city government personnel and partnerships with the private sector in his final State of the City Address at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.

Mandaue city’s journey from a “dark, bleak” place full of mistrust and bickering among officials to being a model of good governance was the theme of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes’ last State of the City Address yesterday.

He said the change took eight years, starting with him as a “little candle” slowly regaining public trust in Mandaue city.

“I am proud of what we have done as a team,” he said, listing gains in revenue, projects, facilities, services, infrastructure, efficiency and pride in being Mandauehanon.

The city’s annual budget grew from P633 million in 2007 to  P2.7 billion this year.

Mandaue modernized traffic signals, opened roads and worked closely with business chambers to craft an Investment Code and a new vision as a industrialized city.

The turnaround, however,  was largely due to a governance score card program where Cortes insisted on giving offices “key performance indicators”  and having their work validated in public “revalidas” by private sector panelists.


Cortes said the  #IAMMANDAUE Transformation Program has  changed the “culture” of City Hall employees and officials for the better.

“We changed the way we did things; we were not satisfied with the statement “mao may naandan” (that’s how it used to be). This is our edge and this distinguishes Mandaue from other local government units in Cebu,” he said.

Cortes was not feeling well, having just come out of a two-day hospital confinement due to high blood pressure and dehydration but was able to deliver his 45-minute speech at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.

READ: Cortes is Metro Cebu’s wealthiest mayor

Since he is not eligible to run again for mayor next year, the end of his third term, Cortes appealed to residents to continue the momentum.

“I urge you, please do not bring back the darkness of apathy, indifference and mediocrity,” he said, referring to the situation when Cortes took over from the former mayor Thadeo Ouano.

Cortes is eying a seat in Congress next year and is likely to be trading  places with 6th District Rep. Luigi Quisumbing, who may run for mayor under the Liberal Party.

Present for the SOCA yesterday were Quisumbing, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, former Cebu City congressman Tomas Osmeña.

Mandaue City Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede and  city councilors were there, with barangay captains, City Hall personnel and private sector guests. Councilor Emmarie “Lollipop” Ouano-Dizon was absent.


At the end of his SOCA, Cortes offered “three hearts of good governance and two lamps” from awards won by Mandaue City.

“Let them be beacons of pride for the work that has been done,” said Cortes, “and a source of hope that despite the darkness a light from a little candle can make a huge difference.”

Mandaue City had received the Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2012 and 2013 and Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping in 2014 from the Department of Interior and Local Government  It also won the Silver Trail Blazer Awards twice, in 2013 and this year, from the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines and Center for International Private

Enterprise for being compliant and proficient with their Performance Governance System.


Cortes said the city has focused on opening new road networks to decongest bottlenecks.

“Soon, we will start construction of the new Pilit, Cabancalan road worth P27 million to open an alternative passage towards northern Mandaue,” said Cortes.

The urban landscape will also sees the rise of two major mixed-use developments – Project Diana in barangay Subangdaku (the Aboitiz Soccer Field) with 16.6  hectares, a joint venture of Ayala and Aboitiz and Mandani Bay, 20-hectare project in the city south point,  a joint project of Hongkong Land and Taft Property Ventures.

A new Mandaue City public market will be rebuilt in its old location behind the National Shrine of St. Joseph, welcome news for vendors and consumers who prefer the convenient location.

Cortes said Mandaue’s debt was reduced by 71.7 percent to the current P232 million which is “lower and more manageable” than the initial P819 million debt when he took over.

With a bigger Special Education Fund and help of private sector partners,  Mandaue built at least 129 classrooms and used 1.5 hectares for more classrooms and facilities.

Senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Mandaue receive P3,000 each a year compared with only P500 when the program started.  Next year, the amount will be P6,000 each.

Mandaue built eight barangay halls and its own Center for Children In Conflict with the Law in barangay Basak which will operate in two months.

More indigents were enrolled as  PhilHealth members.

In public safety,  12 more street intersections  will have traffic lights this year and 42 more CCTV cameras.

READ: Traffic lights, cameras in Mandaue streets

Mandaue will thus have a total of 76 CCTV cameras providing round-the-clock surveillance of city streets, said the mayor.

A decade ago, few places in Mandaue were aptly lighted, he said, but now people enjoy illumination “all over the city” where streets are well lit, making sidewalks and roads more safe.

Policemen have ncreased from  only 252 to the present 423-strong force.  Cortes said they will be reinforced by barangay tanods who will soon be getting a P2,000 monthly allowance for 20 tanods each per barangay

Each “field asset” in Mandaue – a traffic enforcer or medical emergency responser  – is equipped with a handheld radio  to stay in touch with the city’s Command Center.

The Bantay Mandaue DRRM office was also created  and will be “fully operational” within the year, he said.

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TAGS: governance, infrastructure, Jonas Cortes, Mandaue City, State of the City Address

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