Introduction Jeffrey Ferrer started his political career in the City of La Carlota. He is currently had an immediate concerns for the two cities and four towns that is La Carlota and Bago City, Valladolid, San Enrique, Pulupandan and Pontevedra but I will deal on the first city mentioned mainly because this is his hometown and this is the reason why I managed to focus my study within the city and not on the whole of the 4th District since La Carlota is very important for him, this is where his heart belongs to and where he would always look back.
Even at the point of running as a Congressman, majority of his votes came from the City in which it can be inferred that most of the La Carlotenos believed in his capacity to be a public servant.
He asked everyone to walk with him in the new path of public service as he will offer a much broader opportunity for everyone.
On the other hand, it is expected that I would be focusing on the projects implemented and to be implemented only in La Carlota City however, I will also present some existing relevant data of other cities and municipalities that he and with the help of other governmental offices had conducted a million-worth project that might help me to enlighten my mind whether Jeffrey Ferrer is indeed effective in terms of his project implementation and as a whole being effective as a Congressman.
From a poor family who had a dedication towards his work hence giving him this kind of opportunity to become a public servant. How it is to live like Jeffrey Ferrer? He started at the lower position as the Barangay Councilman in his native city, he became Councilor and that position made him to realize that he has the potential to become the mayor of La Carlota City with the help of course of some “big-shots” persona in the city and the whole Negros Occidental until he successfully became the Congressman of the Fourth District.
In his term as the mayor, he gave his all to prove to the people that he got something that people expected him to have that is, sense of dedication being a politician. However, it is inevitable for the politician to be involved in some corrupt practices and the people are not blind not to see the reality of what is happening in the system. In his mayoral term, the construction of the La Carlota City gymnasium has been one of the controversial issues that he faced since the construction did not flourished knowing that it was worth million and yet the funds is not feasible that time and only to realize that e got that big house for her mother in an instant so people’s speculation on certain areas of concern is to be anticipated by many but he must not only to be blamed in here but all those politicians involved in that construction. Going back, those “big-shots” persona and a political figure as well that I have mentioned that aids him to be where he is now included the former representative of the 4th District, Congressman Charlie Cojuangco who endorsed him to be the successor under the National People’s Coalition-United Negros Alliance, Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. he NPC-UNA chairman Emeritus who appoint him as their party’s standard bearer in the 4th District, his godfather, Governor Joseph Maranon and the philanthropist Ms. Gretchen Oppen Cojuangco who happened to be planning also to enter in the same position of that of Congressman Ferrer but dropped her earlier plan to run for Congress and eventually she realized that it would be better for herself to be somehow get away from the political perspectives and later decided to just concentrate on her advocacy towards the environment, women, helping the poor and other related stuffs so she openly gave the spot to the present Congressman Jeffrey Ferrer.
With all the things that he had already been achieved, life is already a fulfillment that he thought must be gladly shared with other people especially to the La Carlotenos as well as to the whole 4th District here in Negros Occidental. The commitment to work led him to run as a Congressman with the hope that he could give a better life for those people who give him the chance to freely perform his duties well and he hopes that in return, being in the current position could give him the opportunity to thank all the people in Negros Occidental particularly in La Carlota.
Being a Congressman is a hard task so it is up for Jeffrey Ferrer to manage to get into top and have a good perception to the people. Running for Congress as he said opened him a new dawn of responsibilities and that he must took seriously. It is now time to assess all those projects he plans to implement and delve with other projects he had already implemented and completed. Four-Point Agenda as Congressman and Projects Implemented and to be Implemented with the Help of Governmental Offices
In order for me to conclude if Congressman Jeffrey Ferrer has been an effective catalyst for the change and a linkage function for the development of the 4th District specifically in La Carlota City, I have to go deeper and review the set-up of his Four-Point Agenda in the said city whether he accomplished this all then if I have found out that he had able to work out on this things, I would have my own opinion to foretell whether he is an effective Congressman.
Compare it to other cities where there are infrastructures, malls, lots of establishments from fast-food chains to popular restaurants and night-out places, La Carlota did not have these all. What makes La Carlota a city was mainly because of its land area, sugarcane industry and many haciendas. When Jeffrey Ferrer entered the politics into a much higher position, La Carlota transformed in terms of its economic opportunities not only to the city but to the lives of the people.
The construction of the Lopue’s, a mini-mall became the stepping stone for the people to acquire jobs and the present status of that mall is booming since it is the only mall in the city and it allows those unemployed to be employed and it aids also those working students having it as their part-time job. There are new businesses that are currently running in the city like the Jollibee fast food chain it was the first fast food chain in the city and there are developments to some areas for tourist attraction.
The festival in La Carlota known as the Pasalamat Festival, is one of the highlights of the city to attract tourists to come over at the city to experience the drumbeating, beauty and dances and the culture itself as it is reflected in the name, thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest of sugarcane and everytime this time comes, Congressman took part on the festival, inviting guests from Manila and foreigners and even by the mere song of “Let’s Go La Carlota” in which it became popular all throughout Negros even in Bacolod City during his term depicts how he value and being proud to La Carlota City.
He dedicate his time and experience to serve his constituents with all these agendas. The city is far from before it is more commercialized now and that proves that in terms of economic development Congressman never failed to uphold this agenda. Resolution No. 58 series of 2008 entitled Resolution Authorizing the La Carlota City Water District (LCCWD) to Conduct Water Services Operations in Barangays Baliwagan and Sibucao, Municipality of San Enrique Negros Occidental has its approval to implement the said project.
Working hand in hand together with the Congressman, the La Carlota City Water District became the instrument for the implementation of his project with a total project cost of 7 million pesos, the copy of this resolution including the costs of the project is attached at the end of this paper. According to the data of the Water District, the municipality of San Enrique has no communal piped water system for the general population. However, the three barangays of Tibsoc, Baliwagan and Nayon used to have level III water supply system which has then managed by the barangay officials.
The system used small dugwells as sources but due to lack of technical expertise of the management, the system bogged down and was totally abandoned. The residents generally use dugwells to meet their water requirements. The common use of dugwells is attributed to the poor groundwater potential in the Poblacion owing to its topography which is almost surrounded with saltwater bodies. Basically this project aims to implement the water supply of San Enrique, Negros Occidental to further enhance the current situations of every household.
The system adopts the required design criteria and standards to come up with an economically viable program with immediate-impact benefits consistent with the goals and objectives of the municipality and Local Water Utilities Administration. This is the current major project done by the LCCWD together with Congressman Jeffrey Ferrer and the collaboration of the two makes it possible for the people to have safe and manageable drinking facilities.
I have interviewed some of the beneficiaries of this program and they appreciate the project since it is the first that they will have a supply of water in the areas concerned. This has been a proposed project way back in 2001 and now it has finally implemented with the help of course of the Congressman of the 4th District giving an additional fund of 2 million pesos for the implementation of the project.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) releases its infrastructure projects last year with all the various infrastructure including local projects-nationwide with its specific amount for the corresponding projects. Without any biased, it seems that Congressman Ferrer do his job as possible to give the constituents in La Carlota and other neighboring municipalities making up the 4th District the kind of good impression towards him.
He has done different projects all throughout his term. The Construction of Yubo Farm-to-Market Road costs 1. 5 million pesos as can be seen in the official copy of the infrastructure project. The 2 million construction of Balabag-Cainaman Road in Barangay Balabag has been a helpful way in accessing the roads for convenience sake. For almost a year, the roads in La Carlota City are poor that is bulky and lots of bumpy roads all over and it was blamed to the Congressman who is in position.
I could compare it to the roads of Negros Oriental it is far better off than in the Negros Occidental but Representative of the 4th District finally made some changes on how to deal with this. He was influenced by Governor Joseph Maranon in every action that he does. There is also the Proposed development of Farm to Market Road JCT. National Road-Old FACOMA-Tabao baybay Road worth 5 million that will require the construction of road, widening, backfilling, rip rap and grouting of riprap and establishments of r. c. pipes and other more.
This projects aims to provide permanent access to the market by construction of a 1200 kilometers Farm to Market Road to the more than 2800 farming families and their dependents who will use it in their daily development activity he added that this will improve the living conditions of the farmers and their dependents through cost savings in the transport of goods and services translating to additional income and finally it lowers the cost of production per hectare of rice and sugarcane due to easier transport of farm inputs and farm products.
The office of the Congressman Jeffrey P. Ferrer with the office of the Municipal Engineer of the 4th Congressional District of Department of Public Works and Highways will undertake the implementation of this project. In this project, he is knowledgeable on the current situation of the farmers in the city. According to him, to finance the farmer’s production cost, they usually borrow loans from informal sources such as agents or traders.
The harvested palay is often sold to the trader/financier who deducts the total loan from the proceeds of the harvest because of the difficulty of road access they tend to borrow more funds to compensate for the higher cost thereby increasing the cost of money. The greatest difficulty of the farmers is the availability of a permanent access to the Market because of the lack of a developed farm to market road.
An important infrastructure support that will lessen the burden of transporting farm product cost to the market but also will improve the access of their dependents to vital social development centers such as education and health by shortening the time and cost of travel giving the farmers cost savings translating to additional income. In addition, there is also a Rehabilitation of Farm to Market Road in the JCT.
National Road-Purok Himaya-Alijis provincial Road, Barangay Tabao Proper, Valladolid with a funding requirement of P1 million that will require the backfilling, paving, regravelling of aggregate base course. In his Four-point Agenda, he mentioned the irrigation system but he did most of the programs in terms of irrigation in Bago City Negros Occidental particularly the Bago River Irrigation System Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (BRISRIP).
The Congressman as expected is on the Batasan Complex in Quezon City that is why they (National Irrigation Administration) sent a monthly brief progress report that will suffice the information needed by the office of the Congressman to actually monitor what is going on with the project that he is undertaking. The letter signed by the project manager contained all the data; activities, the status and pictorials in the locale. City Health Office works hand in hand with Congressman to provide quality in terms of its service to the people.
According to the nurses and midwives in City Health, there is a provision of the New City Health Office Building to foster the needs of the people and due to the fact that the Office is old enough to accomodate more patients that is why the need to provide a new office is likely to happen and is highly awaited by the doctors and nurses in the City Health Office. There is also the provision of Medical Supplies to Indigents where he indicated the need for those people to acquire a free medicine to the poor.
PHILHEALTH sa MASA, in order for the people to ensure their health in the future. One development in La Carlota City that I have seen is the Agora Public Market, it was repainted and Congressman added buildings beside the Public Market built a sculpture inside and they do landscaping to beautify the market. When I went home I simply stared at the recent development of the city and just began thinking if what he did is right. Many controversies existed again when he did the reconstruction and repainting of the public market.
Many problematized the effect of the new building mainly because of the added tax that they require for the sellers to pay if they use the new building it should be free since it is a public market. In effect, low class sellers settled instead on their previous stall and those who had a capacity to pay go for that new building but for me it is somewhat useless since it has been fully used by the people. However, it is good in the eye to see the development rather than sticking with the previous physical beauty of the market wherein I cannot even think that the city is a city itself but today with the help of Congressman Ferrer and a ormer mayor of La Carlota there is a rapid progress in the city. The roofing of La Carlota City Gymnasium is a project also done by Jeffrey Ferrer, the gymnasium is not a typical gymnasium merely because of the broken wood chairs, malfunctioned lightings and other more but when I have the chance to go home, I saw the big change, it was now completed and fully utilized not only by the students but during the special occasions that happened here in La Carlota City.
Former Mayor Jeffrey Ferrer put importance towards education that is why he made projects like Rehabilitation of School Building in La Granja and San Miguel and other schools within the city with the help of the Department of Education. In the 4th District as a whole, he gives a scholarship grant for those individuals who are financially incapable but deserve to achieve quality education to help them get a good education. Analysis and Conclusion
I find a hard time interviewing Congressman Jeffrey Ferrer since he was away in Manila so I have decided to use some connections to get relevant information of his projects implementation and went directly to the Headquarters or his office here in La Carlota City and I just asked permission to Congressman so I could freely bring with me all the documents that I need for this analysis and fortunately enough, he openly gave permission to access the public documents situated at the headquarters.
I could infer that there is transparency towards his public documents because he trusted me to access everything that would be valuable for this paper including all the amount, letters and everything that had been compiled. Going through the papers that had been given to me, I made an assessment that all the projects in the City is effective although there are delayed projects but they still managed to finished it. Some are subjects for approval of Congressman to start the project. All in all his projects took into effect and the people benefitted from that.
I have mentioned before that most of the La Carlotenos now had a job and he is still planning to do more on that so he could help the people to find jobs. He is more inclined to help the poor including the farmers and he makes it the point of going through a certain projects that would eventually enhance the lives of the people. The current mayor of the La Carlota City, Demie John Honrado and Congressman had a connection with each other since before when Congressman was still the mayor and Demie Honrado was his Vice-mayor.
He helps Honrado to be his successor as a mayor so he supported him all throughout his campaign in the city and no choice the power of Ferrer simply was unstoppable. All the projects in La Carlota City were being supported by the Congressman because he is considered to be a friend of the current mayor. There is a political friendship that exists between them so the interaction of the two went smoothly thus there is flexibility towards the public decisions and project being employed in the city.
However, I am not really familiar with some issues that the city is currently facing just right after Jeffrey Ferrer leaves the position of being the mayor. I may be inconsistent with my previous arguments but it seems that after the mayoral position of Ferrer, Demie Honrado was stucked will all the debts of La Carlota City and it was found out that there was a lack of funds anymore and where did it go?
The fact was that, during Pasalamat Festival it is a “celebracion en grande” for the whole people but it resulted to the funds deficiency for the present status of the city because there are debts that are still clinging to city’s heart due to the payment of the actors and actresses who went here and it was not yet resolved but towards the project implementation done by Congressman Ferrer well everyone benefits from that so I made my say on that already that he was an effective public servant. Implementing projects in La Carlota City has been successful.
With the collaboration of those governmental offices in the city, I could say that projects were all benefitted by the constituents in the city and from the time that he was the mayor until he became the Congressman at the present, what he did and needs to be done will always serve as a legacy to the next leader as well as to the essential part of the city, the people. When one asked who is Jeffrey Ferrer, then everybody could answer it since he was the instrument to foster visible changes in the city, everything started from him from beautification to economic growth. During festivals everyone simply enjoys to the activities.
He knows how to catch the people’s attention that was when he was still a mayor but maybe I can also see it as a style that he made when he was planning then to enter into a higher office, to be the Congressman. Based on the responses given by the people of La Carlota, the feedbacks that I have commonly heard are all positive but there are instances that they are not satisfied with Ferrer but the development itself that Congressman brought to the city is fairly enough on my part to say that he had established a substantial position on his part to bring his projects into effect and he take the lead of being the leader.
He gets into the higher office mainly because of the support that he got from his constituents who are satisfied with his performance while he was still a mayor. His relationship with an elite and prominent family in La Carlota City known as Kitchie Benedicto, a producer-director in television who is rich enough to give wholeheartedly support whatever endeavors Congressman Jeffrey Ferrer takes served as his shield while taking the hard roads of politics.
He said that he will not be this strong enough without the help of his Mommy Kitchie who contribute much in his personality as a politician. Surprisingly enough, the daughter of Kitchie Benedicto happened to be the wife of Jeffrey Ferrer who is a lawyer by profession thus it can be infer that Kitchie and the rest of the Benedicto would likely to support the projects and undertaking of Congressman now that he is currently in a higher position.
Many knew that he was loved by the Benedicto and got a big support in terms of his political career. They said that there is a charisma on the part of Ferrer on why he get the support of the Benedicto especially Ms. Kitchie. He has all the support by all the elites in Negros Occidental particularly the Benedicto family who took a great impact on where he is now. According to the Benedicto family, the support that they gave to Jeffrey Ferrer is an extension of helping the La Carlotenos in moving forward.
Projects that are worth a million are considered to be just if the people see the developments going on in the city as well as on the whole 4th District. I have no questions regarding the accountability because it was specifically written as to where the funds go and I highly appreciate the accessibility on the funds and that they are open to public whatever archival that they have in terms of the projects information and data.
In my overall assessment on his project implementation, I have seen all the data of his project that he had accomplished, everything in his agenda was carry out and he will have much time on his term to do another project that would cater the needs of all the constituents in the 4th District especially in La Carlota City as he would always carry with him the phrase, “Let’s go, La Carlota! ” and now “Let’s go, 4th District! ”