Rogério Bacalhau, "the conductor" who is giving a "great concert" in Faro, took the stage at Teatro das Figuras, this Monday, 11th October, not to guide his “good orchestra”, but to take office for his third and final term as mayor of the capital of the Algarve.
The musical metaphors in the mayor's inauguration speech did not stop there, but we'll be here, because before Rogério Bacalhau's ascent to the stage, at the inauguration ceremony of the municipal elected officials, there were other speeches and moments worthy of mention. .
The first to speak was Luís Graça, from the PS, who ended his term as president of the Municipal Assembly. The deputy in the Assembly of the Republic made a point of congratulating Rogério Bacalhau for being the first mayor of Faro to obtain "the election for the third term" and promised to always have "the door open", as a parliamentarian, for the problems of Faro.
Graça also made a revelation that left some of those present surprised: “in the next few days, I will introduce a symbolic initiative to the Assembly of the Republic. I will propose the elevation of Montenegro to a city. is the land of Faro which has evolved the most in various aspects, such as commerce, and deserves to be a new city», he added.
This was followed by the election of the president of the Municipal Assembly which, this time, was even won by the social democrat Cristóvão Norte. Exactly four years ago, there was a "surprise" in the vote, which is secret, and ended up being the list headed by Luís Graça, from PS, to win.
This year, there was only one list under scrutiny and the “surprise” was the number of votes that the single list collected, which were 16 out of 31 possible. There were 15 blank votes.
Bearing in mind that, counting on parish council presidents, there were 15 elected from the coalition united by Faro (PSD/CDS-PP/IL/MPT/PPM), one of the municipal deputies of the PS, PAN, CDU or Chega even cast his vote for the list headed by Cristóvão Norte, which has Francisco Soares as 1st secretary and Cláudia Luz as 2nd Secretary.
The new president of the Municipal Assembly of Faro he then went up to the podium for a speech that, he insisted on stressing, “had been written four years ago. I had to change some things that, fortunately, changed for the better», he joked.
Cristóvão Norte stressed that, in this mandate, «Faro entered a new time of great transformations, great opportunities and greater challenges" and appealed to the "need to generate consensus" in this body, bearing in mind that despite "the voters having given an absolute majority in the Chamber, they did not do it in the Municipal Assembly" .
Therefore, argued Norte, «the democratic dynamic cannot be a fan of prejudice. lose Faro and the citizens win the blockades and delays».
So that the «necessary convergences are possible», the president of the Municipal Assembly said that he will take «the initiative of proposing committees to monitor fundamental matters: tourism, housing, land use planning, the environment, animal welfare, the application of Faro the European Capital of Culture, accessibility and reduced mobility”.
At the inauguration of the municipal executive, there was a notable absence: João Marques, PS candidate for the Chamber of Faro, did not take the place of councilor.
In addition to Rogério Bacalhau, the executive for the new term is composed of Paulo Santos, Sophie Matias, Carlos Baía and Adriano Guerra, who were already part of the previous team, and Teresa Aleixo, the only new face elected by the coalition led by the PSD. Elected by the socialists, Anabela Afonso, Aquiles Marreiros and Paula Matias took office, who “came up”, taking the place of João Marques.
Once the formalities for the inauguration had been completed, Rogério Bacalhau began his speech. With a trembling voice, he thanked his family and then his team, since “it is true that the conductor is important, but without a good orchestra, what good are his qualities? In this case, the triumph is much more than the sum of a good orchestra and a good conductor. What the electorate awarded in this election was also the score of this great concert that we are performing in Faro».
A “concert” that, in the next four years, will have moments such as the requalification “of the public space, in particular the green areas and bringing quality and comfort to the city's and parishes' traffic routes”.
Another of the main priorities is the re-encounter of Faro «with its vocation as a coastal city».
And there are several projects to achieve this end, «they are mature and have been meticulously and time-consumingly scrutinized by various government entities: the APA, Docapesca, Portos, the Navy, the Natural Park… all of them were called to speak, some of them more than once, about what we are going to do: at the Cultural Kilometer, at Fábrica da Cerveja, at Doca de Recreio and on the entire tour that goes from Parque Ribeirinho to Largo de São Francisco».
Rogério Bacalhau wants to do these works, but there are other “development opportunities, which are often moribund, on the top of a desk in Lisbon”.
The example given by the mayor was a project for Cais Comercial. Three years ago, Ana Paula Vitorino, Minister of the Sea, was in Faro «to commit to the progress of the detailed plan for the Commercial Wharf. A term has passed and, between government changes and a pandemic, everything remains undispatched. And so the city is losing golden opportunities to rise to the fore as a nautical city, with a unique marina, which will simultaneously be a research center and an investment destination for both public and private».
It is due to cases like this that Rogério Bacalhau will not wait for the funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) to intervene in housing in the municipality.
“The Government announced months ago that, through the PRR, it would finance all local housing strategies. In our case, the promised financial envelope is more than 28 million euros, but we already know that words do not always correspond to deeds. With or without the funds promised by the Government, I want to assure the Farenses that the social housing projects will not fall. Therefore, we are already consulting the banks in order to establish a loan that will give us the necessary liquidity to go ahead with the social housing that the municipality needs and that nobody has done for over 20 years», he revealed.
Housing at controlled costs will also “continue, with new homes in the 2 lots already sold for this purpose”.
The 2021-2025 mandate will also be marked by the candidacy for European Capital of Culture, a project that “overcomes our territorial limits. It encompasses the entire Algarve and represents a common desire of all the Algarve», also praised Rogério Bacalhau.
"Teacher" Faro already has.
Photos: Nuno Costa|Sul Informação