Envisioned as a city soaring into progress through public service, Manuel Amorsolo, son of national artist Fernando Amorsolo, was commissioned to create the then municipality’s seal, which features a Philippine Eagle. The strongest and the highest-flying bird of the Philippine Republic symbolizes the citizenry’s aspiration to make Muntinlupa one of the leading investment hubs in the country, and inspires its current leadership to deliver excellent public service.

“The City of Muntinlupa has realized unprecedented development and changes over the years,” Mayor Jaime “Jimmy” Fresnedi tells LEAGUE. “Our current projects on education to empower our youth and infrastructure projects to catalyze economic and social growth, are all part of our roadmap to actualizing the vision of making Muntinlupa one of the leading investment hubs in the country with educated, healthy, and God-loving people.” The lawyer has been at the city’s helm for three consecutive terms and has pillared his plans on his Eight Point Program of Governance that is focused on education, health, peace and order, social welfare and housing, local governance, economic development, clean and green environment, and urban housing.

Mayor Fresnedi considers his multi-sectoral involvement as one of his biggest achievements. His approach includes establishing relationships and connections with sister cities, local and abroad, where he and partners facilitate linkages to open up opportunities.

The Fresnedi government reports an estimated and astounding 2.3% growth in business over the past five years with an estimated growth of capitalization of new businesses at 250% from 2014 to 2017. It attributes its progress to the “booming landscape” of dealers, retailers, and service-oriented establishments. The city government says it complements the trust business groups place in the city by being a growth driver for business thereby encouraging more investments and increasing employment opportunities. This local economic development is sustained through participatory governance – that is working with other local government units (LGUs) to “open productive avenues for tackling common concerns” so it can “advance local economic development” to its stakeholders.

The City of Muntinlupa has realized unprecedented development and changes over the years. Our current projects on education to empower our youth and infrastructure projects to catalyze economic and social growth are all part of our roadmap to actualizing the vision of making Muntinlupa one of the leading investment hubs in the country.

THE CITY MEANS BUSINESS
The development of the city’s business climate is predicated on one of Muntinlupa’s missions: to promote broad-based economic growth and a business-friendly environment for sustainable development. In 2015, it streamlined business permit processing through the introduction of the Single-Window Transaction Program that entails just one interaction between client and city government frontline personnel. In the process, it eliminated red tape.

Muntinlupa also established the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO), Point of Sales (POS) terminals, allowing the city to accept payments through debit cards from any bank. In a report, the city administration explains that “an essential component of easing the conduct of trade and commerce” are various technological tools that facilitate the “the seamless quality of transactions in the local government.”

This is also seen in the alternative payment modes now made available to taxpayers, like the Muntinlupa Online Real-Property Payment System (MORPS). It is a “web-based scheme capable of handling real-time collection of real property tax payments through a Landbank ATM account” that will soon be supplemented by online payment options for online business permit applications that can be settled through mobile, bank, and non-bank payment centers.

The city’s Quick Response (QR) Code on business permit certificates enables businesses, their customers, and other stakeholders to verify the authenticity of licenses, as well as prevent the counterfeiting and falsification of the same. Future plans include opening kiosks in malls and other commercial centers for permit applications. Aside from providing convenience, the city government aims to prevent corruption through zero client contact.

In recognition of such efforts, Muntinlupa received the award for being the “Most Friendly LGU” from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in 2018. Its technological offerings earned it second place for the award for Best in eGOV Government Inter-operability (G2G) that is given by the Digital Cities Philippines Awards for Best Practices in eGovernance for Local Government Units, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP).

As proof of this commitment to education, Muntinlupa has constructed 44 school buildings, 330 classrooms, and two public libraries in the past five years. A report states that since 2014, a total of P1.25 billion has been allocated for scholarships for around 58,000 students from the elementary and college levels.

Muntinlupa promotes itself as a “strategic bridge between the National Capital Region and the progressive locales in Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas.” The latter three form an economic zone that continuously attracts foreign and local investments. Within Muntinlupa is the Alabang Central District that the local government has made more conducive to business through traffic management and infrastructure initiatives. Its infrastructure programs were recognized in the 2018 Luminaries Award of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for its contribution to nation-building.

For Mayor Fresnedi, the city’s “numerous infrastructure projects will catalyze the economic and social growth of Muntinlupa in the coming years.” He adds, “These projects are all part of my roadmap to actualizing the vision of making Muntinlupa one of the leading investment hubs in the country.” Under Fresnedi, Muntinlupa established a city-wide Traffic Management Plan to free its streets of “obstructions and gridlock, specifically in major thoroughfares and its Central Business District.” It implements a traffic code and utilizes automated traffic lights, closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring, recalibrated traffic scheme, and has a systematized traffic control plan supported by integrated traffic engineering, traffic education, and traffic enforcement.

The city government also shows how it values micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that want to open shop in Muntinlupa. Together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), it offers a multi-faceted assistance scheme through the Negosyo Center for business registration, business advisory services, business information and advocacy, and monitoring and evaluation.

Aside from the economy, the main areas of Muntinlupa’s mission are environmental sustainability and resiliency, social development, and participatory governance. The development goals of the city are outlined in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) where investment is directed towards identified growth notes and viable new industries.

CITY COMPETITIVENESS
Education is another key priority area for Mayor Fresnedi. “Hope lies in our youth, particularly in their education,” he shares. “This is why I have put paramount importance on it throughout my political career. There is no greater investment that can beat the education of our youth – providing them the means to go to school and finish their studies and give hope and light to the succeeding generations of Muntinlupeños. I want to leave a legacy to the youth who will eventually become successful members of the society.

The Muntinlupa Care Card is one of the many ways local government engages stakeholders and attract investments in new technologies that also include cashless system, electric vehicles, renewable energy, green building, robotics, and quality codes, among others.

They will be trailblazers and leaders of groups and even governments.” As proof of this commitment to education, Muntinlupa has constructed 44 school buildings, 330 classrooms, and two public libraries in the past five years. The city has a local university, a local institution for engineering, a science high school, and two business high schools as well. A report states that since 2014, a total of P1.25 billion has been allocated for scholarships for around 58,000 students from the elementary and college levels.

Muntinlupa also targets to educate its citizens on business through the Joint Resources Financing Program-Tulong Negosyo. The micro-financing scheme provides “sustainable financial assistance at 0% interest, and training sessions on product development, technology transfer, business planning, skills, marketing, financial management and others.” Its participants are “provided with shared service facilities, as well as mentoring and counseling services, and are engaged in a micro-savings program to inculcate the value of financial literacy.” Over 6,000 micro-entrepreneurs have been assisted by the program that like similar instruments aim “to improve productivity and increase income, especially among the disadvantaged.”

To further assist its most vulnerable sectors, Muntinlupa has put in place programs like Jobstart, Vocational Summit, Trabaho Para Sa Kapwa Muntinlupeño, free work immersions for scholars, and collaborations on livelihood, environmental sustainability, and entrepreneurship through its Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4). It engages with groups like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Muntinlupa and the private sector to further its development plans.

Another P4 initiative is the Muntinlupa Care Card (MCC). Initially a benefit card with health and social privileges, and exclusive discounts provided to over 130,000 Muntinlupa residents, it has now been upgraded to the MCC Plus, a smartcard and PayMaya VISA debit card in one. It is one of the many ways local government engages stakeholders and attract investments in new technologies that also include cashless system, electric vehicles, renewable energy, green building, robotics, and quality codes, among others.

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
With all these in place, Mayor Fresnedi calls on his constituents to exhibit self-discipline and conscientious participation to facilitate social change. “I encourage them to be responsible and disciplined in doing their part to effect change in their communities,” the Muntinlupa native turned city leader says. “The thrusts of the local government are on the welfare of the people and it cannot be done by the government alone. Their full and active participation is needed in creating safe spaces, healthier children, better homes, and brighter smiles.”

As a firm believer of transparent and effective public service, Mayor Fresnedi’s government partnered with the Development Academy of the Philippines to introduce groundbreaking solutions that can notably impact the quality of public service delivery through the Innovation Laboratory project. It also established a Muntinlupa Integrity Circle with the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines for a multi-sector program to foster “a culture of transparency, accountability, and, foremost, integrity.” The initiative seeks to create and implement “integrity mechanisms centered on preventing and reducing, if not completely eliminating, avenues for corruption, dishonesty, and other related acts among government employees, as well as other members of the society,” a city report states.

With all sectors covered and the introduction of innovative means to serve its citizens, Muntinlupa is well-placed among local governments which aim for excellent, responsive, and effective public service. — JOYCE REYES-AGUILA

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