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HomeOpinionFrom Pimentel to Moreno: Cagayan de Oro’s journey to metropolitan status

From Pimentel to Moreno: Cagayan de Oro’s journey to metropolitan status

THE scheduled presence of former Senate president and former Cagayan de Oro City mayor Aquilino Pimentel Jr. as guest speaker in the June 30 inauguration of Mayor Oscar Moreno, Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy and the incoming 19th City Council is both welcome and fortuitous as far as the city’s future is concerned.

Fortuitous in the sense that it gives the now retired Pimentel a venue to revisit and to remind City Hall officials and employees who would attend the June 30 inauguration of his unfinished plans for Cagayan de Oro City.

These include the City Convention Center which had yet to be completed and is now only being worked on no thanks of course to the vehement opposition of Moreno’s predecessor, the late mayor Vicente Emano.  

But that’s another story for another time.  For now, it would be inspiring to hear and listen to Pimentel’s thoughts on the city, what he thinks are being done and what needs to be done for it and how it all works within the framework of Republic Act 7160 or the  Local Government Code that he authored in the Senate.

Pimentel is aware that amendments are in order for the Local Government Code to conform to the needs and demands of the Filipinos for improved, immediate basic services from the country’s local governments.

Such changes include reinforcing existing provisions in the law that allow local governments to procure through other means aside from public bidding the equipment and services it needs to serve their constituents.

That way local officials can provide such facilities with dispatch and expedite completion of projects for their constituents. We all know about the administrative and criminal charges filed by the opposition Padayon Pilipino bloc against Mayor Moreno in relation to the acquisition of heavy equipment by the Capitol during Moreno’s tenure as then Misamis Oriental governor.

About 24 of these administrative cases filed against the mayor and his trusted (mostly former) Capitol officials by a Padayon Pilipino intermediary and pursued by the Ombudsman had been dismissed recently by the Court of Appeals. 

The June 30 inauguration will also give Moreno the time to acknowledge Pimentel’s role in influencing his decision to leave a lucrative career in the private sector and pursue public service.

Though the journey to public service had been tough, we also know how Moreno eventually won a seat in Congress as Misamis Oriental’s first district representative, his critical role in the historic impeachment of former president Joseph Estrada and his successful pursuit of mass electrification in the province’s first district.

As a three-term governor of the province, Moreno built roads and opened areas long plagued by the communist insurgency to the rest of Misamis Oriental.  He also oversaw the completion of the long gestating Laguindigan airport project.

Now on his third and final three-year term, Moreno wants to finish on a high note and with the support of Uy and the City Council, the mayor wants to leave behind completed projects that would make a difference to the city.

Mayor Moreno did manage to complete a long list of projects like more schools, more roads and a fully operational sanitary landfill to complement a sustainable waste segregation program in tandem with livelihood for the scavengers and an eco-park in the former Dagong, Upper Carmen dumpsite. 

Despite this, Moreno admitted that much remains to be done like resolving the perennial and persistent traffic congestion, the drainage problem and the city’s water supply woes.

Moreno may elaborate more on his plans for the city in his June 30 inauguration message though he did touch on his priority concerns for the city in his June 15 City Charter Day message at Kiosko Kagawasan which I missed due to a conflict in schedule.

Moreno may also talk about the metropolization of Cagayan de Oro which I, a native of neighboring Tagoloan town, would find most wonderful.

The metropolization of Cagayan de Oro, a national government development plan for the city and its neighboring local governments, will establish another growth center to be known as Metro Cagayan de Oro by 2025 or six years from now.

As Moreno had been actively promoting to the public ever since he snagged his third term of office, Metro Cagayan de Oro is seen to become a gateway of trade and investments in northern Mindanao and the Southern Philippines.

Moreno envisions Cagayan de Oro City as an education hub for northern Mindanao since the city has top government and private schools like the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP), Xavier University, Liceo de Cagayan University and Capitol University among others.

Set against this backdrop, not a few people will ask if Moreno with his final three-year term can see the completion of some if not all of these projects as well as partial realization of Metro Cagayan de Oro.

I say yes he can do it and Moreno can leave behind a solid foundation for his eventual successor whoever he or she may be.  I just fervently hope and pray that whoever will succeed Moreno will continue and even build on the gains made by his administration.
By that time I hope the multi-billion flood peso control project for the city would be completed so we can at least see an end to the city’s flooding problems.

It is the millennium after all and what Cagayan de Oro City residents in particular and Misamisnons in general want and need are forward looking leaders like Moreno who have both the vision and the political will to fulfill that vision of sustainable development for the city and eventually for the soon-to-be Metro Cagayan de Oro.

What they don’t want and need are ‘barriotic’ or parochial minded politicians who remain in office in Misamis Oriental and are concerned only with perpetuating their grip on power and passing on that power to their family line like a prized inheritance, not as a mandate earned from public trust.

Such politicians with zero accountability and responsibility deserve to be rejected resoundingly in every election or if proven to have committed corruption, to be jailed and made to pay for their sins to their constituents.

Again my congratulations to Mayor Oscar Moreno, Vice Mayor Joaquin ‘Kikang’ Uy and the 19th City Council.  Please don’t fail us and may you serve us with utmost commitment, honesty and integrity. (For questions and comments email me at susanap.dennis @yahoo.com).

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