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DAVAO CITY—With still more than one week to go before she relinquishes her post as mayor, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte assured the continous implementation of on-going  big-ticket projects in the city.

These include the P74-billion high priority bus system (HPBS) project and the planned P2.5-billion waste-to-energy (WTE) facility.

A few hours before she was inaugurated here as the country’s 15th vice president, Duterte told a news conference at the Davao City Hall Building that she would continue and if possible, to complete, the city’s big-ticket projects under the incoming BBM administration. She said she already took “preliminary measures” to safeguard the continuation of these projects by issuing directives to Assistant City Administrator Atty. Tristan Dwight Domingo.

Domingo is the project head of both the HPBS and WTE.

“We had a meeting with the officer in charge of the HPBS and WTE. I initially gave him instructions to make sure that there is dialogue with the DENR and DOTr [Department of Enviroment and Natural Resources and Department of Transportation] under the Duterte administration so that the projects will be endorsed during the transition to the Marcos Jr. administration,” she said.

The HPBS project has secured funding from the Asian Development Bank and it is currently in its contract bidding phase, the City Information Office here said. The project would replace the jeepneys in the streets and it would use hybrid and electric buses.

For the WTE project, the city government has bought a lot in Biao Escuela in Tugbok District. The WTE project is a joint effort with sister city Kitakyushu, Japan to offset the approaching full capacity of the city landfill.

Duterte also said she hoped that the P19-billion Davao-Samal bridge would be realized in three to four years.  She thanked President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration for initiating the project, which is funded by the People’s Republic of China.

Her brother, the incoming mayor Sebastian Duterte has said her big-ticket projects like the HPBS and WTE would be high on his administration.

“I want to prioritize those big-ticket projects started under Mayor Sara Duterte, just like the HPBS and WTE, those kinds of projects,” he said.

Meanwhile, incoming Vice President Duterte commended as “true public servants” the city hall employees for “working beyond what is expected to ensure that the city government never falters in delivering the needed services to the people despite some challenges.”

“I would like to formally bid you all goodbye in the City Government of Davao. Leading Davao City has been a learning, humbling and eye-opening experience, one with many sleepless nights as well as days filled with tears of both grief and joy. It is an experience that I am glad to have shared with all of you. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your city mayor, it has been an honor serving Davao City beside all of you,” she said in her farewell address on Monday.

The mayor noted the “hard work and work dedication of the city employees, the department heads, and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod for keeping the city government offices running” in her absence during the campaign period, delivering services, the vaccination programs. She was grateful for the support of the vice mayor, department heads, chief of offices, city councilors who managed the city smoothly during her absence.

The mayor said that the city government is an agency that everyone can be proud of due to the presence of employees at all levels who “work beyond what is expected, and are true public servants.”

One of the legacies she would leave her employees, she said, “is the increase of salaries of the workers under contracts of service and job orders beyond the minimum wage set by the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure that no employee shall receive a salary less than 10,000 per month. The city also augmented additional increases starting January 2020 and gave loyalty pay for personnel who have served for more than 20 years but were not appointed as plantilla or regular employees.

“I leave you now in the capable hands of the next set of city officials and I ask that you extend to them the same level of support and cooperation that you have given to me,” Mayor Inday said.

Image credits: Manuel T. Cayon