When the youthful, good-looking Lucy Torres-Gomez was sworn in earlier this year as mayor of Ormoc City, she ended her inaugural speech with the exciting and hopeful promise, “The best is yet to come!”
As a young boy who spent my summers in that city, my mother’s hometown, listening to Mayor Lucy’s assurance got me so thrilled, revved up, and very optimistic about the city’s future.
A few weeks ago, Ormoc City celebrated its 75th Charter Day with a week-long series of festivities. There were all kinds of fun events – beauty competitions, basketball exhibition games, concerts, etc. – but what I was looking forward to was Mayor Lucy’s State of the City Address (SOCA) as I was very interested to hear the details of “the best” that was in store for the city and its residents. And, I was not disappointed!
Mayor Lucy pictured her plans for the city as a steadfast, strong, and tall Tree of Dreams, which embodies her vision for her constituents’ wellness, health, prosperity, and abundance. This tree, she will continue to nurture so that it will bear fruits that always benefit her constituents and visitors alike, towards making Ormoc a beautiful city.
She wants a cultural transformation by exposing the residents to the arts, which is one reason why she and her spouse, Congressman Richard Gomez, converted the old City Hall into a beautiful museum with dozens of art masterpieces on display, including Congressman Richard’s personal collection of Amorsolos. Plans include art appreciation tours for grade schoolers and high school students to, hopefully, develop their valuing of fine art at an early age.
One of the events during the week-long Charter Day celebration was the performance of the entire Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at the plaza, which overflowed with residents who enjoyed the beautiful contemporary, classical, and OPM music played to perfection by the illustrious group. Speaking of the plaza, the mayor already contracted a well-known architect and design expert to convert it into an architectural wonder for the residents to take a leisurely stroll in, any time of the day.
Mayor Lucy plans to make Ormoc a wellness destination, to make yoga a popular activity among the Ormocanons. She wants everyone to be mindful of their health, towards making the city a Blue Zone, much like Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and others where many residents live to be a hundred years old or more.
Of course, she attributes the present development and transformation of the city to her beloved, former mayor and now congressman, Richard Gomez. Just like the very recent, first-of-a-kind plebiscite in the country which asked for voters’ consent to merge 29 barangays in the city, all of which were too small and too scarcely funded to deliver benefits to its residents.
The then Mayor Richard took the cudgels of doing the dirty job, trying to convince his constituents that such a move was for the residents to enjoy all the benefits due them. Much to the delight of Mayor Lucy, the plebiscite took place on her 100th day in office and the affected residents delivered overwhelming support for Congressman Richard’s earlier proposal. The city now only has 85 barangays, streamlined for easy management for the city government.
The former Mayor Richard also started an intensified campaign against illegal drugs and crime in the city, resulting in the city now being declared one of the safest and drug-free cities in the country. Mayor Lucy bannered the city’s “Best City Mobile Force” and her putting together a second SWAT Team to ensure pegging the city’s crime rate at near-zero.
She has also put up a Natural Resources Office to protect and care for the environment, especially because the city is the first carbon-neutral, climate-resilient city in the country. Mayor Lucy recalled that forty years ago, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos inaugurated the Geothermal Power Plant in Tongonan, a barangay of Ormoc, and this is still in operation until now, providing much-needed power to the entire region with its 232.5 MW capacity, making it the world’s largest capacity geothermal power plant.
Plans are afoot to build an Ormoc City Community College which will help develop the skills and capabilities of the Ormocanons, focusing on youth training for leadership skills. I’m confident that all these projects can easily materialize because the local government has the political will to really make the city match international standards. After all, it is the first ISO-certified Local Government Unit in the country.
There are many other exciting plans the lady Mayor has laid out and it all boils down to one thing – as I mentioned earlier, she wants Ormoc to be a beautiful city because she knows that Ormocanons are beautiful inside and out. I guess the whole world agrees because if you google “The City of Beautiful People,” “Ormoc City” is the only thing that comes out. Nobody can contest that. Just look at the city’s First Family.
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE
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