REELECTED MAYOR. Richard Gomez takes his oath of office as reelected mayor of Ormoc City with daughter, Juliana and wife, Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez at the Ormoc Superdome on Sunday (June 30, 2019). The official vowed to push for the realization of a new water system project in his second term as local chief executive to solve the problem on water shortage. (Photo courtesy of Ormoc City government)

ORMOC CITY, Leyte – Mayor Richard Gomez here vowed to push for the realization of a new water system project in his second term as local chief executive.

The undertaking, he said, will focus on developing the city’s Lake Danao, the region’s biggest, as a major source of water to address the shortage being experienced by residents.

The lake has been one of the sources of water of six Leyte towns and Tacloban City, but it has not been tapped to provide water for Ormoc, he noted.

“It is also ironic that six towns and one city are benefiting from Lake Danao, while Ormoc suffers. It’s time for us to harness the lake’s resources for our own use and solve our water problems for the next 25 or more years,” Gomez told reporters after his oath-taking at the Ormoc Superdome here on Sunday.

In 2018, the actor-turned-politician formally asked the central government to finance the PHP2-billion comprehensive master plan of Ormoc’s waterworks system. He vowed to lobby for the funding allocation.

The major components of the project include the development of a new water source from Lake Danao, construction of four concrete ground reservoirs that would serve as pressure breakers and water storage, and construction of 90,000-cubic meter per day water-treatment plants.

Gomez admitted that without funding support from the national government, it would be “very difficult” for the city to improve the water system with its PHP1.3-billion Internal Revenue Allotment share every year.

The Ormoc waterworks system will “completely overhaul, rehabilitate and expand the existing water system of the entire city of Ormoc into one system,” he said.

The completion of the project will shut down the existing 26 pumping stations and convert these into standby water sources.

“The new water system will be operating 24/7 of continuous water service without interruptions,” Gomez said.

The present water system is run by 26 pumping stations with a low overhead water reservoir, resulting in very limited water pressure, depriving many of the residents of their needed water, according to the city government.

Gomez took his oath as a second-termer mayor with his wife Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, and other local government officials.

Witnessing the event were supporters, family members, village officials, and city government employees.

The Gomezes admitted that the recent election was the toughest they faced because their goal was not only to win as a couple but to make sure that all candidates in their slate would win the city council race.

All of the 10 city councilors are allies of Gomez. Lucy’s elder sister also won as a board member in the province’s fourth district.

In his inaugural speech, Gomez promised to bring more improvements to the city, which, in the past two years, was declared as one of the safest cities in the country.

Another program that his administration will be focusing on is disaster response, to ensure that each barangay in the city is not complacent and always ready to face a disaster. 

Gomez added that they will also work on banning single-use plastic by 2021, increase and strengthen livelihood programs, create sustainable tourism products, implement the City Land Use Plan and zoning ordinances, and clear the national highways of illegally parked vehicles. (PNA/Roel Amazona)