Curiosity Knows No Boundaries

Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, were officially sworn into office

Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (right), who won a seat in Congress

last May 10 after serving three terms as the city’s mayor, turns over the city’s flag to his successor, Herbert Bautista, during the oath taking ceremony at the Quezon City Memorial Circle

In Quezon City’s latest set of officials, led by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, were officially sworn into office yesterday by Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Both Bautista and Belmonte stressed the need for environmental sustainability to be at the center of their priority programs.

Bautista, who was vice mayor before he was elected as the city’s new chief executive, said his projects would focus on the environment and “saving the lives of those who are in danger.”

He said he also intends to prioritize more physical infrastructure projects, like those for waterways, and putting up “green buildings,” structures deemed environmentally sustainable.

Bautista also said he plans to use technology to make business transactions with the city government paperless. Belmonte said this was not only environment-friendly, it would also prevent corruption by reducing human intervention in government transactions.

Having come from the World Cities Summit in Singapore, Belmonte said environmental protection is at the center of discussions for local governments.

“We have to have technology (for this purpose),” she said, adding that the local government will try to get the support of international financial institutions to assist in the city government’s environmental projects.

According to Bautista, he also intends to set up a system of connecting the city government to the national government, adding that no single agency has the solution to one particular problem.

As for Belmonte, she said her priority projects will also include those on culture and tourism.

Quezon City District 4 Rep. Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., who was mayor for nine years, said the new mayor and vice mayor “have the advantage of youth” in performing their functions as the new leaders of the city.

He said he and his lawmaker allies from Quezon City will push for the creation of additional congressional districts for the city.

The other three representatives are Vincent Crisologo (District 1), Winston Castelo (District 2) and Jorge Banal (District 3).

“We will sponsor a law to increase the districts to at least two or three more,” Belmonte said. Belmonte is said to be a strong contender for House speaker.

Bautista said their target was, at most, to bring to a total of eight the congressional districts in the city.

“The Speaker (Belmonte) and I will talk about it,” Bautista told reporters.

The younger Belmonte explained the need for new congressional districts, citing the case of the city’s second district, which she said has a population of some 1.5 million people.

“That’s almost as big as Manila,” the new vice mayor said. “We should have at least four more new districts.”

The vice mayor said the focus of discussions will be which areas will form part of the new congressional districts.

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