Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez

TAGUIG CITY — Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez on Saturday (Nov. 11) called for a national masterplan through a nationwide summit to address the country’s problems. 

It can be recalled that Tacloban City had been the hardest hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013 which claimed more than 6,000 lives and destroyed billions of pesos worth of infrastructures, agricultural crops, commercial establishments and residential homes. 

During the 3rd Leadership Forum at the University of the Philippines in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, Romualdez said that the development of the country is hindered by bureaucratic “red tape.”

He noted that Tacloban City has a total land area of 22,000 hectares, three universities, five hospitals, an airport and a seaport while Ormoc City has a total land area of 84,000 hectares, which is almost four times bigger than Tacloban City. 

Romualdez took a swipe at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for lacking a masterplan in implementing their infrastructure projects such that the sewerage system, drainage system, and sewage system are not properly taken into consideration before such projects are undertaken.

He also cited for an example his personal experience that he was required to present a clearance from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) even if his vehicle is not “floating”.

The Tacloban city chief executive said that when he travelled to Catarman City, he was required to present an OR (Official Receipt) and CR (Certificate of Registration) of his vehicle when in fact, the registration at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is supposed to be online nationwide. 

Romualdez also mentioned as an example that when he travelled to Malaysia he was required to present an import permit, it only took one week to process it, but if it’s in the Philippines, it would take for so long. 

In a press conference, the Tacloban city chief executive said that he had a meeting with then United States Vice President Al Gore in connection with the climate change, which for Romualdez was very helpful to make Tacloban City adaptable to changing environment. 

Romualdez noted though that the climate change is caused by the combustion or gas emissions by the highly industrialized countries. 

The Tacloban city mayor also said that he had a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visited a smart city in that country so that he can observe and adapt the system and technology of a smart city to his own constituents. 

Romualdez is the Chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Region VI which covers six provinces. 

He scored the predicaments of rebel returnees that their past offenses are still appearing in government records such that it seems that the “amnesty” granted to them has become an “amnesia.” 

“There will be no prosperity if there is no peace and order,” he said. 

Romualdez stressed that the 54-year-old New People’s Army (NPA) which has 50 regional fronts should give up their “armed struggle” and return to the fold of the law. 

He pointed out that the NPA should be declared as a terrorist group. 

Likewise, the Tacloban city chief executive said that being the first cousin of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senator Imee Marcos and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., who are all in the national government positions, made him think not to seek for a higher position. 

“I would rather prefer to be in the local position so that I would remain as the  ‘voice’ of the local chief executives,” Romualdez said. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo. Jr.