By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental said the local government purchased P21 million worth of service vehicles not only to fast-track delivery of basic services but more for the purpose of saving lives.
The town is located in the upland area of the province and is a former hotbed of insurgency.
Dela Cruz described the undertaking as ambitious for a fourth-class municipality like DSB (Don Salvador Benedicto), but it was an answer to the call of the times.
Acquired by the local government for P21 million are 11 pick-up trucks and 2 vans.
All seven barangays will receive one pick-up each, while the other four pick-up vehicles will be assigned to the local police, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office Municipal Health Office, and the education sector.
The two vans on the other hand are assigned to the Sangguniang Bayan and Municipal Social and Development Office.
The vehicles were acquired to be able to deliver timely services to the people and to minimize the negative consequences of the crisis, to recover as quickly as possible from the Covid-19 pandemic, and to respond to upcoming disasters, according to Municipal Planning and Development Officer Leovilyn Acepcion.
Dela Cruz said that with the barangays located far from the town proper, having a service vehicle in times of emergencies will save lives as the patient can be transported immediately to the hospital without having to wait for a rescue vehicle from the municipal government.
The town’s top cop, Major Ray Tolosa, said that with the service vehicles, they can respond immediately to calls for assistance.
Dela Cruz said this is among the reasons why they agreed to avail of a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines for P246 million although they were given a loan ceiling of P280 million.
Dela Cruz said that the P21 million is part of the loan package availed by the town.
The rest of the loan was allocated for farm-to-market roads and other development projects for the locality.
Dela Cruz said that the project is ambitious because they also have to ensure payment for the loan.
One of the revenues they are looking at is the local property tax considering the exodus of people who want to invest in the town through the acquisition of lots and those currently owning properties designed as vacation/rest houses to attract local and foreign tourists who are looking for “cool places” to visit.
Dela Cruz said DSB is now a must-visit town in the province tagged as the summer capital of Negros Occidental.
Vice Mayor Nehemia de la Cruz, the younger brother of the mayor, said the vehicles acquired by the LGU also serve as a morale booster for the town.
“Indi na ta nila ma mata mata, bisan taga bukid kita,” he said.