By Chito A. Chavez
In throwing her hat in the mayoralty race, Quezon City Vice-Mayor reaffirmed her burning desire to be in the perfect position to enact greater change that would further zoom the city into unprecedented progress.
“They say that if you want change to happen, it’s really at the local level. I wanted to be an effective agent of change,” Belmonte said.
Serving as vice mayor since 2010, the daughter of former House Speaker and now 4th District Rep. Sonny Belmonte said it is “a natural progression” for her to run for the next higher post.
“I think in the past seven and a half years, I have gotten a firm grasp of the problems of our city. I think that’s a definite advantage I have over other candidates who are considering to run for the mayoralty post,” Belmonte said.
“I know and have become well-versed with the problems unique to the city,” she added.
Should she be elected, Belmonte pledged to improve internal governance and pursue greater transparency in the city government.
“I think it is important that the government is seen to be open, truthful, and accountable, in order to build trust with the people,” she explained.
As presiding officer of the city council, Belmonte had pushed for legislations that benefited her constituents.
Belmonte has also implemented programs on health, poverty, women and children’s welfare, and peace and order, particularly her community-based drug rehabilitation and treatment program.
She currently chairs the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCAADAC) that leads the city government’s fight against illegal drugs.
About 16,000 drug dependents have so far surrendered to the city government, about 1,200 of whom have graduated from the rehabilitation program while 300 are still at treatment centers.
“Our focus is on life, and giving (drug) surrenderees a second chance,” Belmonte said.
“We’re really trying our best to live up to that promise: that if you surrender, you get treated, and we’ll help you get back to the mainstream of the society,” she added.