People first: A blueprint for development

“Inclusive means that no one is left behind and everybody should reap the benefits of industrialization. For this, the city strives to pursue faster economic growth, increased employment, greater income distribution, increased tax revenues, and poverty alleviation.”—Santa Rosa Mayor Danilo Ramon ‘Dan’ Fernandez

At Chestnut Village in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Peter Paul Canilang does not worry about the safety of his 18-year-old daughter Dustin Kyle during the typhoon season. Dustin is a Grade 12 Information Technology student at Philippine Technology Institute (PhilTech) Santa Rosa.

Peter Paul Canilang, wife Margie, and daughter Dustin Kyle

“Pag may bagyo, automatic nagte-text sa bawat estudyante ang local government para sabihing walang pasok. Aktib talaga si Mayor at ang pamahalaang lokal [When there is a storm, the local government automatically sends text messages to every student to say if there are no classes. Our mayor and local government actively attends to this],” the 47-year-old part-time stuntman said.

The Canilang family belongs to some 353,767 bonafide residents of Santa Rosa. Spread all over the city’s 18 barangays, residents are the direct beneficiaries of the city’s blueprint for development, which translates to programs and projects guided by the catch-phrase: “Serbisyong makatao, lungsod na makabago. [Humane service for a modernizing city]”


Santa Rosa City offers a wide variety of private schools and affordable public education for its constituents. It shows the local government’s long term commitment to education as the main engine for upward social mobility for the average Filipino.

The Polytechnic University is a state university located at the New Santa Rosa Village in Brgy. Tagapo. It is a vanguard of quality education at affordable cost.

Science and Technology High School in Santa Rosa

The Santa Rosa Science and Technology (Sci-Tech) High School, on the other hand, follows the S&T-oriented high school curriculum from the First Year to Fourth Year levels. It is focused on pure science and its applications to industry. It has a well-stocked library, complete with subscriptions to professional, scientific and technology journals, magazines, and manuals. With internet connection in every computer, Sci-Tech comes equipped with multi-media classrooms. Students supplement their science knowledge with visits to S&T institutions, laboratories, and industrial plants.

There is, likewise, the Alternative Learning System (ALS) which offers   school-based and community-based (non-formal) instruction. Community-based programs are conducted in community halls and private locales, while school-based programs are conducted in school campuses. Instruction is provided by government-paid teachers or by private non-government organizations (NGOs). Just like in formal college education, its academic subjects cover the sciences, mathematics, English, Filipino, social studies, current events, and other subjects.

For Muslim Filipinos, Santa Rosa City has the Madrasah Education Program. It is designed to positively contribute to the ongoing peace process, thereby enhancing educational development of Filipino Muslims through an Islamic-friendly public education system that seeks to improve the quality of life of Muslim school children.


Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center

Santa Rosa Mayor Danilo Ramon ‘Dan’ Fernandez proudly acknowledges that the drug problem in their city has been already minimized. He attributes the success in the combating of illegal drugs to the Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitaiton Center.

“Our Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center is designed to help those who voluntarily surrender to the barangay and to the police. We do not wish to make them suffer, but rather, to help them come back to the community as responsible and productive citizens. The rehab center will help cure them of their addiction and will support them in making the most of this new lease on life,” Fernandez said.

Started on January 14, 2017, the center is the first-ever, local government unit-operated rehabilitation center for drug addicts and illegal drug users.

Fernandez added: “It is being financed by the City government and is a project initiated as an immediate response to President Duterte’s call to address the need for a facility to help rehabilitate drug dependents who voluntarily surrender to the police during the conduct of Operation Tokhang.”

As mayor of the city, Fernandez said that they have been able to graduate almost 100 addicts from 1,800 surrenderees. “We rehabilitate them for six months to one year. They undergo rigid rehabilitation and detoxification. We spend at least P25,000 per month for every person. The City government shoulders the expense.

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, guest speaker at the opening of the Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Center, said he was impressed with the Community-Based Rehabilitation Center component of Mayor Ferdnandez’s rehabilitation formula.

He added that, “if only all mayors in the country will be as pro-active as Mayor Dan, then the war on drugs would end sooner, just like how President Duterte and I envisioned it.”

The Dangal ng Pagbabago Rehabilitation Program starts by having drug addicts and drug dependents voluntarily surrender to the barangay or the police. They are then assessed by doctors from City Health Office I and II to classify the severity of risk.

“The intention is that after they finish rehabillitation in the center. they can go back to their families and communities as responsible and productive members of society,” Fernandez said, adding that the city government then provides livelihood and skills training while partner locator companies offer them employment opportunities.

Those classified as moderate and low risk are directed to undergo the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program conducted by the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC). The BADAC is composed of barangay officials and chief tanod, representatives from the public education sector, non-government organization or civil society, faith-based organization or the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS), and the police chief as adviser.

“We also have a barangay-based project for light users. Nire-rehabilitate natin sila sa barangay na lang kasi light risk lang sila.   Yung mga high risk, yun ang dinadala natin sa mental hospital [We rehabilitate them at the barangay level since they are low risk. Those who are high risk are sent to the mental hospital],” Fernandez said.

Augmenting the program are CCTV cameras and intensified police visibility. Fernandez added that they have no cases of summary deaths or unsolved murders concerning the drug addicts in Santa Rosa.


Most cities in Laguna have command centers where the use high tech surveillance equipment is de rigueur or standard operating procedure.

But in the case of Santa Rosa, their command center has a “human face” in the sense that it comes with a Community Mobilization Program.

“Usually, the command center deals with disaster. So it tends to just report what happened. But our command center has the capacity to mobilize people—something that has earned the respect of PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde,” Fernandez said.

Simply put, Santa Rosa’s command center also functions as a crime deterrent. Aside from the numerous CCTVs employed in various areas, people in the Command Center are enjoined to undertake a “people’s participation” seminar. To date, some 4,000 people have undergone seminars.

All the 4,000 people have been clustered into groups equivalent to 20 households per community per group. The cluster head reports to the Command Center and if there is a crime, the people in the community participates in its resolution. “People’s participation becomes an effective deterrent against crime,” Fernandez explained.

To date, there have been talks between the Santa Rosa local government and the Chief PNP to include the community mobilization component in all command centers all over the country, in a bid to stop criminality in the community.


Perspective of Santa Rosa Community Hospital

The City Health Office in Santa Rosa is divided into Health Office I and Health Office II. Each health office equally attends to the 18 barangays in the city.

The City has a total of seven hospitals with a hospital bed-population ratio of 2 beds for every 1,000 persons. To augment bed capacity, the city government of Santa Rosa started the construction of the Santa Rosa Community Hospital on the last week of September.

The community hospital is a primary public hospital with an additional bed capacity of 170 to 180 more beds. “We will be expanding it and calling it a City Hospital soon,” Fernandez said.


The city of Santa Rosa has endorsed PhilHealth benefits to its indigent constituents.

The benefits include medicine for common diseases like asthma, acute gastro-enterities, upper respiratory track infection, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection.

Also available under PhilHealth ng Masa are diagnostic services such as complete blood count, urinalysis, sputum microscopy, fasting blood sugar, lipid profile, and chest x-ray.

Started in 2012, the city of Santa Rosa became the first city in Region IV-A to endorse sponsorship of enrollees, accounting for at least 17,000 of Santa Rosa’s aging population.


Mayor Danilo Ramon ‘Dan’ Fernandez with 1st District of Laguna Rep. Arlene Arcillas receives the Nutrition Honor Award of the National Nutrition Council

Santa Rosa’s nutrition program is designed to achieve zero malnourished children by ensuring that each child gets proper, nutritious food.

To achieve this, the city holds a total of 12 supplementary feeding sessions every month.

The Feeding Program also comes with Operation Timbang, which measures the number of malnourished children in every barangay every first quarter of the year. These malnourished children, between the ages of 0-7 are then fed through the city’s Food Assistance Program.

The city government likewise disseminates information on health and nutrition through the Barangay Nutrition Scholars. Data and useful information on the three basic food groups in food preparation are provided, including the tools to prevent malnutrition in the home.


Santa Rosa City Mayor Dan Fernandez believes that climate change is the new normal. “I’m telling my people that they should no longer be shocked by the occurrence of heavy rains and sudden floods. This is climate change and it is now a common occurrence. What we need to do is learn to be disaster resilient. We need to reverse the situation. That’s the reason why we’re putting up peripheral river waste and Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in every barangay.”

He added that the city has put up a City Disaster Risk Reducation Management Office (CDRMMO) in order to properly implement disaster preparedness.

To better address waste and debris in the community, Santa Rosa regularly implements the “Bayan ko, Linis Ko” clean up drive. It brings together the government sector and private individuals from various barangays under the common call of promoting cleanliness to protect the environment.


Santa Rosa City’s Multi-Purpose Complex was started during the administration of former Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas and was completed by its current Mayor Danilo Ramon “Dan” Fernandez.

The complex is sprawled over a two-hectare development area and has a 16,700 square meter floor area.

It has a basketball court capable of seating 5,700 people and four badminton courts that can be converted into a multi-purpose exhibition area.

The complex also has an Olympic-size swimming pool, an outdoor wading pool, two outdoor tennis courts with a grandstand and an area for offices and commercial spaces.

For the local government of Santa Rosa, the world-class multi-purpose complex was put up to serve the city’s constituents by serving as a venue for honing young sports talents, as well as promoting the talents of local artists—in a bid to make them globally competitive.


Local and international investors and locators can come to the Business One-Stop Shop of Santa Rosa to fast-track their business needs. Every January, there is the Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS). During this time, the city’s various offices—Treasury Office, Assessor’s Office, Zoning Office, Engineer’s Office, City Environment and Natural Resources, the City Health Office, and the Bureau of Fire Protection, a national agency—are there to serve every business need.




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