From a municipality that first came to the common man’s awareness by way of a delicious rice cake delicacy, the Biñan of today has shed much of its provincial, agricultural past to make way for a rapidly industrializing, modern city.
Under the leadership of Biñan City mayor Arman Dimaguila, Biñan has earned quite a number of accolades under its belt, in terms of Business Friendliness and Competitiveness—No. 1 most improved city in the province of Laguna; No. 1 in infrastructure; No. 5 in Economic dynamism; No. 7 most improved LGU and in overall competitiveness; No. 13 in government efficiency; and no. 17 in resiliency. Add to this, the city offers a Business One-Stop-Shop to business locators.
Biñan takes pride in the development of its human capital of some 333,000 people and goes by the adage, “Sa Lungsod ng Biñan, mamamayan ay maaasahan [You can rely on the citizens of Biñan City]!”
“Biñan City is raring to show the world that we have a wealth of ideas, an abundance of professionals and investors,” said Mayor Dimaguila.
At the city’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO), hundreds of direct and overseas companies participate in its periodic job fairs, most notable of which is the Mega Jobfair organized in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“Not just service, but quality service is the aim of Biñan PESO,” Dimaguila said.
One of Biñan PESO’s newest offerings is the Jobstart Philippines Program, a flagship program of the DOLE. It is implemented with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and funded by the Canadian government.
Jobstart aims to shorten the jobseeker’s school to work transition by enhancing knowledge and skills acquired in formal education or technical training in order for them to be more responsive to the demands of the labor market.
Biñan Peso also has in its portfolio livelihood programs with livelihood assistance from DOLE Region IV-A.
One of its outstanding livelihood ventures is the Kaserbisyo Garments Factory, launched in 2017 to help women and solo parents. It is now one of the flagship programs of the city mayor.
With 120 brand new sewing machines, Kaserbisyo makes school uniforms for students in public and private schools, as well as employees of the city hall. Gingersnaps, one of the leading brands for kids apparel, is one of its clients.
ORGANIK FARM, MRF
In 2017, the City Youth and Sports Development Office of Biñan started “Big Basket,” a project that saw the construction of a three-hectare organic farm in Barangay De la Paz.
Some 23 out-of-school youths and unemployed folk participated in its trainings in Tagaytay City, culminating with a practicum at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) compound in Brgy. Timbao.
The MRF, for its part, works to make Biñan City a model local government unit (LGU) in ecological solid waste management.
According to the City Environment Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the MRF was established in Brgy. Timbao to reduce the volume of garbage in Biñan City.
The MRF “will maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that could generate possible revenues for the barangay,” CENRO said.
Biñan City’s MRF comes complete with segregation rooms, composting machinery, and a conveyor. The facility can accommodate current trash collected and process segregation fo mixed recyclables.
To date, other barangays in the city now have their own MRFs. It is the duty of each barangay to collect all segregated waste for proper waste management, CENRO added.
MODERN BUILDINGS, WALKWAY
As 21st century information technology (IT) becomes more and more a facet of the Philippine landscape, the Biñan city government is doing its part to upgrade its educational facilities with state-of-the-art IT.
It is now in the process of establishing Lecture Halls for Senior High School students that can accommodate 200 students. The beauty of these lecture halls is that they are capable of teleconferencing—the exchange and mass articulation of information among persons in different locations.
The lecture halls will also serve as the students’ auditorium and performing theater for events, activities, and presentations.
Also undergoing construction is the Biñan River Walkway, which began in 2017.
Designed after the Spanish Colonial Era, the 1.2 meter, cobblestone walkway will be able to accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. It will begin all the way from Evangelista Bridge to Brgy. Dela Paz to Brgy. Malaban.
Posts with LED lights will be put in the walkway with high fences to prevent people from throwing away trash and garbage on the river area.
Observers say that the past and the future meld and mesh with many of the programs and projects of Biñan’s eclectic city mayor.
But nowhere is the future more felt than in the Command, Control and Communication Center of Biñan City.
With 10 computers linked to a mega-screen, the center and its 16-man team operates 24 hours a day, receiving calls for urgent situations that require immediate assistance from the police, as well as fire and rescue teams.
Rommel Yatco, a computer science graduate manning one of the computers, said that the Center is equipped with the most advanced telephone switching radio equipment and a computer-aided dispatch application system.
Roman E. Carencia, Biñan City Information Officer, said that 96 security cameras were installed all over the city and connected to the C3, which provides real-time data on traffic, crime, and emergency situations.
He added that the city has a Biñan 911 application that gives assistance to emergencies such as accidents, traffic, brownouts, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in distress, floods, fires, and other natural and man-made disasters.
Mayor Dimaguila said that 12 mobile police sub-stations with 48 CCTVs (4 each) are bounded in 24 barangays all over Biñan City.
“We built our Command, Control and Communication Center for only P6 million,” Dimaguila said, “It’s a small amount compared to the P250 million Command Centers put up by the big cities in Manila. But it works for us, perfectly, because there is people support.”
Through all his myriad programs and projects, Dimaguila’s formula for developing Biñan City seems to be to restore the past while fully embracing the future.
It’s a great way to view Biñan’s next century.