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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Marcos tells mayors: Don’t waste mandates, use it for ‘grand things’

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President Marcos told members of the League of Municipalities (LMP) to not waste their mandates from their constituents on petty things, but rather use them for “grand things.”

In his message to LMP’s General Assembly on Tuesday in Pasay City, he told public officials that they should innovate their problem-solving skills to align with the current challenges the local government sector is facing.

“That’s why I often say: Mandates should not be wasted on petty things. It should be used for grand things,” President Marcos said.

“We need to start thinking of new ways to address the problems we are facing here in the local and international economy, global economy, and with the advancement of technology. We need to prepare for it,” he added.

Mr. Marcos further stated his vision to make his administration a “transformational one” to keep up with the present changes and challenges.

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“I am hoping that this administration… I am working very hard to make this administration a transformational one. That means we really need to make a lot of structural changes,” he said.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, who was at the same gathering, assured local officials that the House of Representatives, carrying out a directive from the President, is supporting local government units (LGUs) with a bigger share of the annual budget.

“The order of our President: do everything that is appropriate and necessary to benefit your communities in the development of the entire country,” Romualdez told the LMP, headed by Mayor Joseph Bernos of La Paz, Abra, at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

The conference focuses on the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs’) Localization: Pathway to Sustainable Municipal Development.”

SDG is a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations member countries, which provide a roadmap on how to transform our planet where everyone can live in peace, prosperity, and dignity.

Romualdez said the House is allocating more funds to LGUs in acknowledgment of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling, which augments the share of local governments from national taxes.

“This ruling signifies a transformative shift, aimed at enhancing the fiscal autonomy of LGUs, thereby empowering you to better address local developmental needs. The 2024 budget reflects this change, ensuring a larger portion of the national tax allotment (NTA) is directed to local governments,” he said.

The Speaker said the increased funding enables each LGU to allot more funds for local development projects that are crucial for advancing the SDGs.

“However, it must be recognized, per instruction of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the Speaker, that the windfall from the Mandanas ruling, though substantial, is not sufficient to fully meet the developmental needs of local government units,” he added.

President Marcos emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts between local and national government units in achieving the 17 SDGs, noting that this “shared journey” is a testament to the administration’s commitment to Filipinos’ well-being.

“It is our commitment to solving the problems of today, while ensuring a better tomorrow,” he added.

Mr. Marcos commended municipal leaders for their “clear understanding” in crafting and implementing programs aligned with the SDGs, such as promoting community participation and empowering citizens to contribute to sustainable development.

“You are at the forefront of action, our invaluable partners in achieving sustainable growth. Let me be clear: this isn’t just about delegating responsibility. This administration is fully committed to achieving these goals,” he stated.

The national government’s dedication, the President said, is reflected in the P2.09 trillion budget allocated for social services in 2024.

Additionally, P457.41 billion will be dedicated to climate change solutions, including water security (P373.45 billion), sustainable energy (P18.19 billion), and environmental stability (P6.48 billion).

The House leader also pointed out that the Executive Department, in conjunction with Congress, “is committed to working collaboratively to identify and harness additional resources necessary for LGUs to effectively realize their development goals.”

He revealed that the House is also deliberating on several bills aimed at further increasing the NTA share of local governments.

“This initiative seeks to deepen local government engagement in national development, ensuring the growth and progress we envision are experienced at the community level,” Romualdez stressed.

“The national government feels your need. We know that you need all the help from the national government to raise the livelihood of our people,” he said.

Romualdez emphasized the national government’s commitment to work with LGUs “so we can effectively integrate local health systems in the implementation of Universal Health Care.”

Following the Speaker’s speech, Mayor Bernos handed over to him LMP National Directorate Resolution No. 2024-02 expressing the league’s support to the leadership of Romualdez and his effort to fiscally strengthen LGUs and further accelerate the nation’s economic development.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “Marcos to municipal mayors: ‘Don’t waste mandates on petty things.”

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