In second SOCA: Gullas pays tribute to COVID-19 ‘heroes’
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - October 14, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. yesterday honored the public servants and the frontliners who succumbed to the novel coronavirus while being in the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic.

A fast-paced second State of the City Address (SOCA) to the Talisaynons ended on an emotional note as Gullas dedicated his administration’s accomplishments to the unsung heroes and others who continue battling against the unseen enemy.

“What always saddens me is our deaths. We reached 96. One life will always be one too many to lose. I’d like to dedicate this SOCA to all the public servants who succumbed to COVID-19 and to all the frontliners who fought bravely and fell. To all nurses, doctors, and medical personnel who are looking at us from heaven. You will be missed,” said Gullas, who is serving his first term in office.

Gullas also expressed his appreciation, love and respect to the rest of the frontliners who are continuing fighting against COVID

“We will continue to serve the people of Talisay and our country, in your honor,” he said.

COVID Efforts

The city government established its own Emergency Operations Center as early as February for a centralized and unified effort in addressing the problems concerning COVID-19.

The center continues working in containing the virus.

Contact tracing teams and isolation centers were also established and equipment provided for better coronavirus monitoring.

The city also distributed relief goods for eight waves to the needy and even provided a sack of rice to every household during the lockdown regardless of social status.

“As of October 8, 2020 we have 18 active cases in the city. Even lower than cities and municipalities with a lower population and densely populated than us. Today, we have an 88 percent recovery rate and active cases remain at two percent,” said Gullas.

Gullas said his administration is not asking for applause or praises or smiles, but for the public to remember all the Talisaynons who died because of COVID-19, especially government workers and the frontliners.

8-point agenda

Due to the pandemic, Gullas said, some of the city’s priority programs have been temporarily put on hold.

“Our first SOCA was full of excitement, joy and optimum because our Aksyon Agad administration as I reported in my SOCA last year was off to a blazing start. Unfortunately, the world took a different turn, as far as our 8-point agenda is concerned, some programs have been implemented, some have been temporarily suspended,” said the millennial mayor to a selected few at the City Hall.

The SOCA was also aired online.

Gullas said the city has continued with its education program, Cream of the Crop, despite the pandemic. The program provides scholarships for poor but deserving students.

Gullas emphasized to the city’s selection committee not to include their family-owned school, the University of the Visayas, as part of the scholars’ choice of university out of delicadeza.

And as a classroom set-up for learning is not allowed yet, the city government provided logistical support to its public school and the Talisay College.

Its war on drugs also continued along with the “Oplan Limpyo Talisay” together with the local police led by Police Major Gerald Ace Pelare. The program provides an aftercare for the rehabilitation of the arrested drug users.

Various environment awareness programs and activities have also been established before and even during the pandemic.

Gullas also took pride in its sports and wellness program.

He acknowledged the Talisaynons who gave honors to the city during the 30th Southeast Asian Games, including dancesport Pearl Caneda, metallic silhouette shooter Larry Avila, triathlete Andrew Kim Remolino and gymnast Daniela Dela Pisa.

Also, the city’s basketball team that won back-to-back in a provincial tournament and its women’s volleyball who figured out well also in a province-wide tournament last year.

Moreover, Gullas said he is looking forward to developing cycling and trekking in the mountainside as part of the city’s eco-sports tourism program, which he is starting out now.

The proposed Talisay Lechon Park and Boardwalk at the Poblacion is also expected to finally be realized together with the other city’s infrastructure projects that include the long overdue drainage projects, and the construction of the social service building with a dialysis center.

Despite the delays in drainage projects, the city’s disaster team is always on the go to help the affected residents during floods.

Gullas lauded the city’s disaster team for its efforts not only in natural calamities but even in the time of COVID-19.

He also lauded the Aksyon Agad team for assisting the Talisaynon’s medical needs and burial assistance and the city’s traffic division team, CT-TODA, for ensuring that the health protocols are properly observed in streets, public market, and terminals.

Meanwhile, the City Council led by Vice Mayor Alan Bucao along with Mayor Gullas presented a little statue of Mother Mary as their birthday gift to former Talisay mayor and Congressman Eduardo Gullas after the SOCA.

Rep. Gullas turned 90 years old yesterday. —Gabriel Bonjoc, KQD (FREEMAN)

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