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‘I am a businessman, a father, a family man and now, I am the mayor of Cabuyao City. I will use these experiences to help me manage our city better.”
This was the promise made by newly-elected Cabuyao City Mayor Dennis Felipe C. Hain in a recent interview with BusinessMirror.
Cabuyao became a component city of Laguna province in 2012. Hain is its third city mayor. A clear winner in the recent May polls, this father of four consistently led in all pre-election surveys for Cabuyao mayor.
Cabuyao City will be celebrating its 10th cityhood anniversary this August. It is the 142nd city in the Philippines and the 5th Component City in Laguna along with the cities of San Pablo, Calamba, Sta. Rosa and Biñan.
Known as the “Enterprise City of the Philippines,” Cabuyao has effectively served as long-time host to main factories of multibillion-peso manufacturing corporations like Nestle Philippines, Asia Brewery Inc., San Miguel Corporation, Tanduay Distillers Inc., Wyeth Philippines Inc., Procter & Gamble Philippines, among many others.
Also situated in Cabuyao City are the Malayan Colleges and the Light Industry and Science Park of the Philippines. The latter has a total area of 178 hectares.
As the first privately-owned industrial estate registered with the Board of Investments (BOI), the Light Industry & Science Park 1 is home to 92 locators, including Procter & Gamble. The locators provide employment to more than 28,000 workers.
It is under this climate of steadily-growing investments and strong people support that Hain has set his sights toward the configuring of “Bagong Cabuyao.”
From entrepreneur to mayor
BORN in Biñan City, Hain grew up in Cabuyao. His mother was a businesswoman, who later became a grade school teacher while his father was a barangay captain who later became a city councilor. His parents, according to Hain, encouraged him to help in their family businesses that included a wooden palette business, eventually expanding to construction, waste management, resorts, and hotels.
Of their businesses, Hain is the first to say that their family “started out small.” But, he said, they were never encouraged to be employees.
“We were encouraged to open our own business and to help in the family business. It was only recently that I realized that thanks to the training that I received while managing the businesses, I became successful and eventually became mayor,” Hain recalled.
As to why he decided to enter politics, Hain said he was exposed to the world of politics through his father. He recalled that he would tag along when his father held office in the barangay hall.
He also remembered times when people would be visiting his father at home asking for assistance. When the elder Hain won a seat in the City Council, the younger Hain decided to run, eventually rising in the local government ladder as barangay councilor, barangay chairman,city councilor, and finally, as city mayor.
Equal opportunity for education
HAIN’s dream is for each family in Cabuyao to have either an engineering or information technology (IT) graduate so that the graduate can be gainfully employed by the locators at the Science Park.
“I strongly believe that those who want to study in college should be given equal opportunity to do so. A person’s success should not be measured by his intelligence because there are late bloomers and that is what I experienced while growing up,” he related.
Hain ordered the removal of the entrance exam at the Pamantasan ng Cabuyao and allowed all those who wanted to pursue higher education to enroll.
“Everyone is welcome to enroll in whatever course that they like. Those students who do not like their chosen course can talk to school officials either after the first semester or after one school year. We are planning to come up with a program like this, of course, with the approval of the Commission on Higher Education,” he said.
Hain noted that during the pandemic, many teenagers realized that they would have a better future if they studied. With such a growing interest in education, Hain said the LGU should throw their support behind these teenagers, adding that they had the budget to support them.
To augment the education budget, the mayor said he would push for the monetizing of the Mandanas Ruling. The Mandanas Ruling increases the share of the national government tax revenue that will be transferred to local governments. It is projected that LGUs will have a 27.61 percent increase in the total internal revenue allotment. In the case of Cabuyao, Hain estimated that the city will receive an additional P20 to P25 billion.
“If we can get this money, we should spend it on what we want to achieve. For me, this would be education and health. I want to get this done within my first term. We should invest now and reap what we have sown later,” he said.
“Admit all” health policy
TO IMPROVE the LGUs health services, Hain said he is currently in talks with health professionals on how best to deliver health services to his constituents. He wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened during the pandemic where the Cabuyeños had nowhere else to go.
“We should have an ‘Admit All’ policy. Right now, I am meeting up with the experts in managing hospitals and we also plan to hire more doctors. We want our health system to succeed, especially when it comes to the supply of medicines,” he added.
Hain also plans to drum up the campaign for Covid-19 boosters as he found out that a large percentage of the population that is eligible for boosters have not availed of them. The LGU plans to give three to five kilos of rice to those who get the Covid-19 booster with a 50 percent target in the next three months. The plan is to achieve 100 percent a month after.
Vision for Bagong Cabuyao
Hain said he wanted the city to be “livable and business friendly” so that it will be able to attract more investors.
“We will have a major re-focus of our infrastructure goals. We have a big hospital erected. However, we need more rooms for our Pamantasan ng Cabuyao. My political referendum is laser-focused on improving the existing medical, educational and social services facilities of the City of Cabuyao. Building new structures can wait. The deserved benefits and services of the Cabuyeños cannot,” Hain said.
In terms of infrastructure, Hain pointed out that the narrow roads in and around Cabuyao have hampered progress. This was made worse by the fact that Cabuyao has only one exit leading to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
“The plan is to open two more exits to SLEX. One of the exits will be at the boundary of Calamba and Cabuyao while the other one will be in the boundary of Cabuyao and Sta. Rosa. I have been coordinating with the two mayors and I am hopeful that these exits will be opening soon so that Cabuyao can really grow as a city,” Hain said.
Hain admitted that he was initially overwhelmed with the work that had to be done. However, he decided to take up the challenge and look for people he could trust to help him run Cabuyao.
“By delegating some of my work and getting people that I can trust, I am now more relaxed and efficient. It is also my way of training my staff in good governance. In a business, you must have capital to run your enterprise. When you manage an LGU, you already have a budget and you just need to learn to spend it wisely,” he explained.
Assessing the city government’s performance over the last 10 years, Hain said: “I can proudly say that the City of Cabuyao and every Cabuyeño entered a phase of rapid transition and improvement. Although hampered by the usual push and pull of economic socio-political forces and the two years of Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to secure major wins that led us to where we are right now—Bagong Cabuyao.”