MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA) — He was here in 2003, at that time Francis Tolentino was Mayor of Tagaytay City, and eleven years later, he was back in this city, this time as chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), a cabinet-level post.

The MMDA chair was in the city as guest of honor and speaker during the 14th charter day anniversary program Sunday, August 10.

In his speech at the jam-packed city gymnasium, Tolentino said the secret to progress are the people and the local leadership, as he noted the wide participation of various sectors such as senior citizens and past barangay officials, among others, during the festivities.

“The people are out most valuable resources,” Tolentino shared, adding that the people-plus-leadership secret formula for progress cannot be found in the local government code but in the heart.

The well-coordinated and strong leadership of the city and province was also a great factor for smooth implementation of programs and projects.

City officials led by Mayor Maloney Samaco, as well as provincial officials headed by Gov. Roger Mercado and his brother, Cong. Damian Mercado, were around during the charter day program, as well as some Mayors led by Mayor Roberto Loquinte of Anahawan, the President of the provincial Mayor’s league.

At the press conference held right after the luncheon in the Vice-Mayor’s office, Tolentino reiterated his observation that much has changed in the city since his first visit.

“You cannot readily see the changes when you live here. But try going out and come back eleven years later and you will notice the big difference,” he told members of the local media.

With the MMDA chair at the presscon were Mayor Samaco and world boxing champion Prince Albert Pagara.

Asked about the new round of traffic lights in addition to the ones the MMDA already had delivered, Tolentino said these will be sent in due time, and will be set up based on the study conducted by MMDA men recently.

The MMDA will also install closed circuits television cameras (CCTV) on key streets in the city when requested to do so by the city government, Tolentino also said.

Mayor Samaco readily picked it up, saying the city local government unit really desires to have some CCTVs in strategic sections of the city. (AJC/MMP/PIA8-Southern Leyte)