San Carlos City: A united people with excellent leaders

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

While other LGUs are busy reacting to events, here is a city that is thinking and planning 10 years ahead. Today, I am working as a consultant and resource speaker, with the public officials of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, in a three-day seminar workshop on capacity building for both executive and legislative branches in a world-class resort hotel in Mactan, Cebu. The mayor is the hardworking Renato Y. Gustillo, a visionary, conscientious and dedicated public servant. The vice mayor is Christopher Paul S. Carmona, passionate, dynamic, and focused.

San Carlos City, located in the heart of sugarlandia, was named in honor of Saint Charles Borromeo. It was converted into a city on July 1, 1960 by virtue of Republic Act 2643. San Carlos is one of Negros Occidental's 13 cities, and it belongs to the 1st congressional district, along with Calatrava, Manapla, Escalante, Salvador Benedicto, and Toboso. The district is represented by Congressman Gerardo P. Valmayor Jr. San Carlos has a total land area of 451.5 square kilometers and a population (as of 2020) of 132,650 with 86,784 registered voters. It has 18 barangays and 5,862 households. It has some indigenous cultural communities in its hinterlands.

Based on income classification, San Carlos is a second-class city with a revenue of ?1,283,219,777.38 in 2020 and assets of ?4,078,619,421.85 and expenditure of ?1,127,273,280.91 and liabilities of only ?786,625,087.24 in 2020. Its poverty incidence as of 2018 was 28.05% and the density of population over land area is 290 people per square kilometer of the city's area. It is a very livable city with clean and sanitary surroundings. The leadership has focused on nurturing the environment, which includes its seas, rivers, mountains, and fields. It has gotten awards for its environmental protection and ecological balance.

What is impressive about this city is that its leaders are united and after elections, have put aside any partisan interests. The councilors serving the city from 2022 to 2025 are Allen Gustilo, Mark Cui, Yoyong Laguda, Vicky Cabili, Wilmer Yap, Willy Villarante, Kokie Uy, PG Maisog, and Jeffrey Hidalgo. All the heads of departments and all the barangay heads are also in attendance. The leadership of the mayor and the vice mayor enjoy the all-out support of all public officials and personnel. Today and tomorrow, all of them are going to formulate a strategic plan for the development of San Carlos City.

San Carlos City in Negros Occidental should not be confused with San Carlos City in Pangasinan Province. That city on northern Luzon is smaller in size, only 169.03 square kilometers, but with a bigger population of 205,424. Its population density is 1,200 per square kilometer. Our San Carlos City in Negros is more livable with bigger area and lesser people.

Also, the Visayan San Carlos City is much richer in revenue and has bigger assets. San Carlos City in Negros is a second-class metropolis in terms of income while the one in the north is a third-class city. Our San Carlos is strategically located in the heart of the sugarlandia, while the one in Pangasinan is located in the land of bangus and tuna.

I am enjoying my session with the good people of San Carlos City and they are serious in pushing for a greater, richer, more prosperous, and happier San Carlos City.


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