More than two weeks after the assumption of new national and local government leaders, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. encouraged, the country’s 81 newly-elected vice governors to enact policies that are in sync with the national government’s programs and thrusts in consultation with different stakeholders to address the needs and challenges of their respective localities.
“Vice governors are in a unique position to bring about positive change as presiding officers of their respective sangguniang panlalawigan. I strongly support you [Vice Governors] to craft relevant ordinances for the benefit of the people,” Abalos said during the 88th League of Vice Governors of the Philippines National Assembly held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila recently.
“As President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. stressed even during the campaign period, ‘Sama-sama tayong lahat para sa tunay na pagbabago.’ Hence, the national government and LGUs should work in unison to bring about meaningful change in our country, at malaki ang magiging papel ng vice governors para maisakatuparan ito,” he added.
He stressed that President BongBong Marcos, Jr.’s administration is pro-local government development because he was once a governor. “Let us, therefore, be active in collaborating with the administration by anchoring our programs and actions in the same direction while taking into consideration your localities’ needs,” he said.
The DILG Chief also highlighted the importance of multisectoral cooperation in developing LGU plans and actions to solve systemic problems in the provinces and maintain peaceful, safe, and orderly localities.
“Pakinggan natin ang mga sektor para kasama natin sila sa pagbalangkas ng solusyon. With the multisectoral way of doing simple things fundamentally and the involvement of all sectors, we will never go wrong,” he said.
Ally of vice-govs
According to Abalos, the Department shall remain an ally of the vice governors and is committed to providing continuous capacity development interventions on policy-making, one of their most critical responsibilities; Green Space and environmental sustainability; and, implementation of the Newly Elected Officials (NEOs) Program.
He said that through the NEO Program, the DILG will hold orientations on the basics of local governance and administration and provide online training courses about the local government operations and scholarship opportunities for their academic and professional development, and other hands-on and in-depth training and Capacity Development (CapDev) interventions.
During the oath-taking of the new set of officers for the said league, the DILG Chief also urged the Vice Governors to be resolute leaders who are determined to carry out their programs and responsibilities despite adversities.
Citing his experience as the Mayor of Mandaluyong City, he said he restructured the Mandaluyong cemetery despite all the backlash because it will benefit the majority of his constituents and it turned out to be what he described as a “great transformation” of the burial ground.
“Be firm and decisive with your actions. Maraming magagalit, marami kang makakabangga but you need to do what is for the greater good,” Abalos added.
Upholding the rule of law
In his keynote speech, Abalos urged the local officials to uphold the rule of law in carrying out their thrusts and priority programs, especially as the government pursues its anti-drug campaign. "If you need my help, I am just here, but our Constitution should prevail above all and everything,” he said.
He mentioned his initiatives in Mandaluyong which are worth emulating as he sought ways to eliminate the drug menace “without going beyond the bounds of the law.”
In pinning down alleged drug culprits in the Mandaluyong, he said his administration designated employees to be witnesses in anti-drug drives, targeting both big and small-scale drug operations, to strengthen the cases against those involved in the drug trade and increase the chances of conviction.
“We only have to be creative in finding solutions to the issues and challenges at hand. Ang importante lang naman ay wala tayong lalabaging batas sa bawat hakbang na gagawin natin,” he said.