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Muntinlupa City @ 26


BY ATTY. IGNACIO R. BUNYE


Muntinlupa City which is turning 26 today will mark the milestone event with subdued ceremony where Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi is expected to lay down plans for the recovery of the city.

March 1, 1995 marked the day when President Fidel V. Ramos signed the city charter conferring on the former fifth class municipality the status of a highly urbanized city. This writer became Muntinlupa’s first city mayor while Fresnedi became its first city vice mayor. The early period of cityhood was marked by rapid changes in city governance, health, education, and welfare programs but was tempered by several tumultuous attempts by rebels to unseat the Cory Aquino government.

As of this writing, Fresnedi is expected to roll out Muntinlupa’s recovery plan which is anchored on vaccination, economy, education, and infrastructure.

We learned that the city government has already ordered 400,000 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca which is a little bit more than the 383,000 which the City Health Office is targeting to immunize. The lower figure is 70 percent of the city’s population, the minimum target to achieve “herd immunity.”

In order to implement the vaccination program, the city has identified 6,758 medical frontliners in barangay health centers, emergency responders, the Ospital ng Muntinlupa, and six private hospitals, including Asian Hospital, who can inject the vaccines. They will be organized into 82 vaccinations teams and deployed in 35 vaccination posts. They have the capability of vaccinating 8,200 individuals per day.

Fresnedi is confident that the COVID vaccine is safe. To encourage more vaccinations, he and the members of the city council, led by Vice Mayor Temy Simundac, are willing to be the very first to be vaccinated. Simundac told this writer in jest that he prefers to be vaccinated in private, because he will receive his shot in the butt.

Programs to help the most badly affected by COVID are in place, Fresnedi said. These include continuous distribution of relief packs, zero interest loan assistance, Deliver to Recover Program Kasama ang Grab, Community Mart (in coordination with the Office of Vice President Robredo), and job fairs. There is also TUPAD (Tulong Panghanap buhay sa mga Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers – a DOLE project) in coordination with GAD (Gender and Development Office), DRRMO (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office), and the Office of Congressman Ruffy Biazon. Merkadosa Muntinlupa, a street market open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to help MSMEs, was also launched just last week.

The city government has also distributed mobile tablets for students and laptops for public school teachers. 72,628 city scholars continued to receive their allowances.

Just ahead of Muntinlupa City Day, Fresnedi inaugurated the Extension of the Muntinlupa Student Center for Life Skills in Laguerta, a covered court at the Muntinlupa National High School Tunasan Annex, the Phase 1 Development of the Alabang Viaduct, and later today the Cupang Health Center.

A few days ago, Fresnedi led the inauguration of Phase 1 of the Development of Alabang Viaduct, an initiative of the National Government through its “Green, Green, Green” program.

Fresnedi thanked the Department of Budget Management for selecting Mun tin lu pa as one of the recipients of the “green fund” amounting to P17.29 million. Fresnedi said the beautification of the area is a welcome development to the city’s green space and park improvement efforts.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) launched the Green, Green, Green program which aims to make the country’s 145 cities more livable and sustainable through the development of public open spaces.

The newly constructed open space in Alabang Viaduct showcases an iconic sculpture resembling a water lily which is commonly seen near the shore of Laguna de Bay and local tributaries that empty into the lake.

Muntinlupa City Architect Don Causapin, designer of the architectural and interior design of the urban space, said the park’s centerpiece symbolizes Muntinlupa residents’ strength, resourcefulness, and perseverance as water lilies are characterized as resilient plants and able to thrive and bloom no matter the extreme conditions.

Causapin hopes that the open space will upli the spirit of the residents who will visit the area as they find beauty in the elements found within their hometown.

Muntinlupa City is among local government units in the country championing sustainability and building of open spaces as part of climate change mitigation.

In 2020, Muntinlupa represented the country as one of the finalists in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) One Planet City Challenge (OPCC). The WWF-OPCC is a global competition that recognizes cities with effective climate change action plans.

WWF lauded the city’s action plan to combat the urban heat island effect. The organization highlights the city’s holistic approach towards sustainability, including gardening initiatives, first aid trainings to equip city employees in assisting the public during particularly hot periods, climate responsive agriculture training for urban farmers, aquaponics, vertical farming, mulching, and mushroom culture.

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