AUGUST 2, 2022 — Despite testing positive for CoViD-19, Mayor Mike Rama managed to lead mayors who are officers of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), of which he is the president, in their courtesy call on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. at the Malacañang this afternoon.
No, he was not physically with them, but he was still able to address the president and his fellow LCP officers via Zoom video conference, where he told the president of his situation.
“(I’m) sad but still happy because I am not there physically but from a distance,” he said, emphasizing his concern not to infect anyone.
During the courtesy call, the LCP, through a remark read on behalf of the organization by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung, requested the president to also consider the situation of respective cities when implementing Executive Order (EO) No. 138.
EO 138 provides for the full devolution of certain functions of the Executive Branch to the Local Governments Units (LGUs), as well as the creation of a Committee on Devolution. (http://www.csc.gov.ph).
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued the EO on June 1, 2021 to jibe with the Supreme Court ruling in the case “Mandanas, et al. vs. Executive Secretary”, also known as the “Mandanas ruling”.
Through the Mandanas ruling, the SC held that all collections of national taxes, except those accruing to special purpose funds and special allotments for the use and development of national wealth, should be included in the computation of the base of the just share of LGUs starting in fiscal year 2022. (http://www.csc.gov.ph).
According to EO 138, with the total shares expected to increase significantly this year, LGUs will become empowered to provide basic services and facilities to their constituents. National government agencies can then “assume more strategic and steering functions to address persistent development issues.” (http://www.csc.gov.ph).
But the LCP told President Marcos that not all cities are capable of fulfilling the mandate given to them, especially the “44 low-income cities” as well as the “highly-populated cities” of the country.
“An initial step is to improve each city’s capacities. Not all cities are equal…. Each LGU has to be given the opportunity to pursue devolution based on its capacities,” said Belmonte-Alimurung, reading from the prepared remark.
An initial step is to improve each city’s capacities. Not all cities are equal…. Each LGU has to be given the opportunity to pursue devolution based on its capacities.
Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung
In response, President Marcos said he has already “put together a team headed by (Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Benhur) Abalos to really look into the devolution”.
“We started talking about this when I was still in the Senate. I was the chairman of the committee on local government, he said.
“Ang aming tinitingnan is what (responsibility) belongs to the local government and what does not…. Kung ano ang hindi natin kayang gawin, tingnan natin ulit,” the president said.
In particular, he mentioned that the need to repair schools should already be under the LGUs and that what funding the national government has should be coursed through them.
He also reminded the mayors that with the pandemic negatively impacting the country’s economy in 2021, the LGUs should expect a significant decline in its share in the year 2024.
“Baka magtaka kayo,” President Marcos said, as he told them that each LGU must adopt “right-sizing” or “streamline” their respective workforce.
“When I talk about right-sizing, ang ibig sabihin lang naman diyan ay lahat nga taong natira kailangan talaga,” he said.
Ang aming tinitingnan is what (responsibility) belongs to the local government and what does not…. Kung ano ang hindi natin kayang gawin, tingnan natin ulit.President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
The president also told the mayors that they should learn how to effectively implement projects and projects using the “Public-Private Partnership” (PPP) model, as well as adopt digitalization in their respective operations.
“Digitalization will be something of a natural fit for PPPs, pati sa national level. Local government cannot do it alone you need partners. Sanay kayo diyan,” he said. #