Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman presented her 2023 State of the City Report (SOCR), July 27, outlining the achievements, challenges, and future plans for the city.
The local chief executive began by highlighting how Isabela City became the first and only ISO 9001:2015-certified local government unit in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, and the establishment of the Isabela City Barangay Affairs and Governance Office (BAGO) which is also the first in the region.
In the area of peace and order and public safety, the report mentioned Isabela City being named as the 2021 Best Performing LGU for its Peace and Order Council Functionality and how the City Government doubled the budget allocated to support the security sector based in the city, from 6 million pesos in 2020 to 13.7 million pesos in 2023.
Meanwhile, in the aspect of the local economy, Mayor Turabin-Hataman indicated how microfinance and support for MSMEs paired with social amelioration programs contributed to the decline of the city’s poverty incidence rate of 53.1% in 2018 to 23.7% in 2021. In the same line, the Local Economic Development and Investments Promotion Office was credited for shepherding Isabela City to be ranked as the 7th Most Improved LGU in the Philippines (Component Cities Category) in the 2022 Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index, making it the only component city in the Philippines which joined the Top 10 ranking nationwide, two years in a row. There was also the report from the City Treasury Office of a revenue collection amounting to P29,941,430.95 as of the second quarter of 2023.
For the segment on tourism, the SOCR presented data showing that in 2022, Isabela City welcomed 370,903 tourists, excursionists, and visitors to its tourist spots. In fact, Fuego-Fuego Beachfront, which reopened on Valentine’s Day, has generated 11,299 visitors equivalent to P360,865 income as of June 2023. Mayor Turabin-Hataman also cited the success of the in-person Sakayan Festival after two years of muted celebration brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the address also emphasized initiatives for the “care of vulnerable members of the community” which include among others, distribution of assistive device for PWDs, cheques for centenarians, and a soon-to-be completed 300 housing units for IPs in Malamawi Island.
For the its Maternal and Child Health Program, cited was the provision of maternal kits to pregnant women delivering at the city’s public birthing clinics as reason for having the lowest maternal and neonatal deaths in in the city’s history. In fact, as of this month in 2023, Isabela City recorded only one maternal mortality rate, the lowest in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula.
In keeping with its status as a Child-Friendly City, Mayor Turabin-Hataman said: “In terms of our nutrition ang governance program, tayo po ay nakapagtala ng mababang stunting and wasting rates; mula 18.12% ay naging 4.13% na lamang ang stunting; samantala, mula 12% ay nasa 1.53 na lamang ang wasting ng ating mga batang may edad na 0-59 months. Sadya tayong naglaan ng pondo upang maisagawa ang iba’t ibang supplemental feeding sa iba’t ibang mga barangay.”
Further, the report on health also indicated the contributions of the the Telehealth and Mobile Clinic and Dental Health Services of the City Health Office which has served almost three thousand Isabeleños so far and also the unveiling of the Isabela City Clinical Laboratory at East Terminal so residents may avail of the basic laboratory tests at the cheapest price possible.
With public information as one of the gauges of public service, the City Information Office was hailed for its IsaTV Productions and its groundbreaking Sakayan-Kaalaman Reading Project which sought to aid struggling/frustration level readers in Busay Elementary School.
Finally, the SOCR listed some of the many infrastructure projects funded by the 20% Development Fund of the local government unit, which include: construction of nine footbridges worth P14,610,079.31; concreting of eight local roads costing P51,088,695.76; construction of seven covered courts amounting to P24,965,280.63 and construction of for barangay halls priced at P8,385,925.16. It also teased the upcoming inauguration of the Pasangan Commmercial Center at the Isabela City Public Market Complex and the Isabela City Athletic Grandstand. Moreover, Mayor Turabin-Hataman acknowledged the role played by office of Basilan Lone District Representative and Deputy Minority Leader Mujiv Hataman and the Department of Public Works and Highways in ensuring the funding and completion of the said infrastructure projects.
In closing, Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman expressed her sincere gratitude for all partner individuals and organizations, and stakeholders for lending their support for her vision for Isabela City and thus, allowed for the said State of the City Report to be accomplished for and on behalf of all Isabeleños.
“In the years to come, what we have accomplished will echo and reverberate in the lives of our people –it will be a paglanog of hope and promise, of passion and action, of a happy and dignified life for all”, said Mayor Turabin-Hataman. (Words by M. Guerrero & C. Lim/Photos by KJ Evardo & M. Santos, CIO)