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Gatchalian: “Empowering governance” behind Valenzuela’s safest city ranking

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – The City Hall of Valenzuela in perpetual gaze of Katipunan’s top leaders (from L): Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto, brought to life with “Triumvirate,” the monumental work of National Artist Napoleon Abueva, 29 Aug 2013. Senator Win Gatchalian said Valenzuela’s culture of empowering governance catalyzes the city’s reputation as a safe and livable community. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian on Tuesday credited Valenzuela City’s “culture of empowering governance” as the driving force behind its recognition as the safest city in the Philippines, and one of the safest in all of Southeast Asia.

In a report released by Numbeo, a respected online database often cited by major publications across the world, Valenzuela City was ranked as the 2nd safest city in Southeast Asia, surpassed only by the first-world city-state of Singapore. Valenzuela bested four other Philippine cities in the top ten: Davao (4th), Makati (5th), Baguio (6th), and Cebu (8th).

“The people of Valenzuela City have spent years building a culture of empowering governance that makes basic social services and economic opportunities widely available to all residents, especially the poorest of the poor. This has been a significant deterrent against crime in our city,” said Gatchalian, who served as mayor and congressman of Valenzuela City for 15 years before he was elected to the Senate in 2016.

The senator explained that equitable access to education, healthcare, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities provided by the city government to its constituents have virtually eliminated the need for Valenzuelanos to resort to crime to provide for their families.

“I believe that the most common motivation behind crime is a desperate need to put food on the dinner table, pay for a family member’s hospital bill, or to make sure that your child has enough baon to survive at school. In Valenzuela City, these needs are met through local social services programs. We take care of our own, and this empowers Valenzuelanos to resist the temptation of crime and become full-fledged partners in our drive to build a better city and a better country for all,” he said.

The senator also highlighted the city’s resilient fight against corruption as an important component of Valenzuela’s low crime rate.

“Unfortunately, corruption is one of the most common crimes in the Philippines, often driven by greed more than desperation. Thankfully in Valenzuela City our public servants – from rank-and-file employees all the way up to the chief executive – are committed to providing corruption-free governance,” he said.

Having made the transition from local leader to national legislator, Gatchalian said he would work hard to champion legislation to nationalize the best practices of Valenzuela’s culture of empowering governance.

“We can reduce crime and make the Philippines a safer country by ensuring that Filipinos have universal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Desperation and poverty fuel the flames of crime and corruption, but empowered citizens build safe cities and safe countries,” Gatchalian said.