MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, March 20 (PIA) - Before he bows out of office next year, City Mayor Maloney Samaco envisioned that work on the city's long pending reclamation project shall have been started.

The expansion of land space by reclaiming the city's tidal flats in its coastal side has been widely seen as the solution to the ever rising demand of business establishments in the city for more land to expand their existing sites, Samaco said in a press conference Monday at the city gymnasium following his 8th State of the City Address (SOCA).

In his SOCA, Samaco mentioned that despite the untimely demise of a Cebu-based investor, negotiations for the reclamation project and the location of some Cebu-based businesses in the city has continued.

The bulk of the more than an hour city address dwelt more on his successes in the field of sports, where several city-honed athletes brought honor to the city by winning medals in regional and national games, and the several awards the city reaped in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, foremost of which was on nutrition and anti-smoking.

Samaco also discussed in his SOCA that the city is now qualified to become second class from its previous status in the sixth class category, due to increased local revenues generated and the share in the annual Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

In the press conference, Samaco explained that a change in city status classification to a higher level can serve as a motivation for investors to come in and locate their businesses in the city, which in turn would put additional demand for more land space, especially within the city proper.

He expressed confidence that the technical requirements of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) will eventually be met, so construction of the reclamation project can proceed before his term of office as Mayor for nine consecutive years expires on June 30, 2016.

This early, Samaco had announced his plan to run as the City Vice Mayor, a post he previously held, so as to insure continuity of the programs that he started, in coordination with the new chief executive.

In past interviews of the local media right after his previous SOCAs, Samaco had said the sharing agreement had stalled the planned reclamation project, but this time around the sharing issue was already settled, and what remained were the technicalities set by the PRA. (ajc/esg/mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)