2023 League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) General Assembly

Speech of Vice President Sara Duterte 2023 League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) General Assembly February 21, 2023

Maayong hapon. Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.

I am happy to join friends and former colleagues in local governance in today’s League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ General Assembly.

Let me welcome all of you and extend my well-wishes as we once again renew our commitment to building a proactive local government that embodies inclusive and accountable governance.

As a former mayor, I am aware of the amount of responsibility that comes with the opportunity to lead and direct our localities to the path of greater growth and sustainable development.

Dagdag pa dyan ang trabaho ng mayor na 24/7. Sa pinakamaliit na bagay at pinaka-malaki na problema, ang mayor ang hahanapin ng taumbayan.

We are called to remain effective conduits of socio-political change, economic advancement, and cultural development of the communities we serve.

Our collective gains in building avenues for prosperity and contributing to the overall advancement of our nation are the lasting legacies we will leave behind not just as local leaders but also as drivers of transformative change.

Hence, as you endeavor in a series of discussions that underscore the functions enshrined in Executive Order 138, may you uphold a productive discourse on the provisions in line with public administration and full devolution transition.

May I just insert, on the part of the Department of Education with regard to the devolution and construction of the school buildings. Right now, under the 2024 General Appropriations Act, the provisions are silent with regard to the order in the devolution that only 5th and 6th class municipalities are given budget under the school building program of the Department of Education so that this year, 2023 GAA, this year when we implement, there will be municipalities…that will receive school buildings from DepEd.

And of course, there is an additional budget coming from the House of Representatives from our Honorable Congressmen, Honorable Members of the House of Representatives who also come from the 1st to 4th class cities and municipalities.

So ang sinasabi lang po namin is that, hindi po kami nalimitahan ngayon sa 5th and 6th class municipalities sa budget namin sa school building program.

However, because of maliit na budget na binigay as compared to the need of the entire country with regard to the school building program, we used a system-based approach in selecting who will receive budget for school buildings, what municipalities and cities will receive the budget for school building. And we adhere to the needs-based checklist that we came up with that is used by the Department of Education to prioritise the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas and the Last-Mile Schools of the Department of Education. However, that checklist does not apply to the school building program that were identified by the members of the House of Representatives.

Our sustained and concerted efforts in this pursuit will serve as the foundation of policies and strategies that will hopefully augment the services, resources, and facilities devolved from the national government to the local government units.

I urge our municipal mayors to remain dedicated to building the capabilities of your respective municipalities as we endeavor toward the path of local autonomy and greater resiliency.

Together with representatives from relevant national government agencies, I am optimistic that you will steadfastly work with other local chief executives in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in tackling salient concerns faced by LGUs across the areas of peace and order, public health, environmental protection, and local tourism among others.

May I just share my experience as city mayor, hindi po ako ang pinakamagaling o expert as a city mayor pero meron din akong nine years na naging city mayor and one of the strengths of Davao City during my administration was tourism and peace and order.

Unang-una po sa turismo, kailangan nyo po ng pag-aaral. Hindi po pwede na kung ano yung gusto ninyo na maging tourism program ng inyong lugar ay pwede na syang i-rollout. Kailangan po muna ay gumawa kayo ng feasibility study para po kailangan nyo ng budget para sa pag-aaral, para po makikita ninyo kung anong ano ang strengths ng inyong lugar. Sa amin po sa Davao City dahil wala naman kaming magagandang dagat na gustong puntahan ng karamihan, nagtutok po kami sa MICE market o yung Meetings, Incentive, Travels, Conventions and Exhibit and napakahalaga po ang part kapag nakita nyo na po kung ano yung strength ng inyong lugar as a municipality na pwede ninyo pag-invest-an ng inyong tourism budget, ay kailangan nyo po ang partnership at napakahalaga po nito, ang partnership ninyo with the private sector dahil nasa kanila ang pera.

Kailangan nyo po ng mga ancillary services na kasama ng paglabas nila sa airport at pagbalik nila sa airport — lahat yun kailangan ninyo ang tulong ng private sector ng lugar ninyo.

Pangatlo po, unang-una sinabi ko kanina yung strength ninyo, pangalawa yung partnership ninyo with the private sector, at pangatlo po ay ang plan ninyo — ang short term plan ninyo para sa tourism ninyo at ang long term plan ninyo para sa tourism ninyo.

Kapag sinabi po natin na long term, yun po yung mga plano na iniiwan ninyo labas o beyond your term. Sabihin na natin nakabuo ka ng 9 years, kailangan po yung plano ninyo na long term ay umaabot po sa susunod na mayor. Dahil napakahalaga po ng continuity ng mga programa ng isang local government unit para po hindi nasasayang ang inyong mga investments sa inyong tourism program at naiinstitutionalize ninyo ang lahat ng inyong mga ginagawa.

By cascading relevant reforms that boost local economic development and promote local governance frameworks, you enable the equitable management of resources and efficient transfer of responsibilities to municipal governments.

On this note, let me express my gratitude for your invaluable efforts that led to the successful implementation of our basic education learning recovery plan.

Nagpapasalamat po kami sa suporta ng maraming mga local government units na nagroll out ng kanilang mga reading programs, math and science programs nila para sa kanilang mga learners.

The Department of Education’s gargantuan task of shepherding 28 million learners back to school in August last year would not have been possible without the support of our local chief executives.

While our President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has committed to increase investments in education in the next six years, let me take this opportunity to enjoin our mayors to convene your local school board and evaluate the need of your local schools.

Our schools in GIDA are in dire need of support and we ask you to look into each school kung ano pa pong pwedeng matulong ng mga local government unit ninyo at ng special education fund. An investment in education secures the future peace and progress of your locality.

Following the Marcos administration’s 8-point socio-economic agenda on food security, improved transportation, affordable and clean energy, health care, education, social services, sound fiscal management, and bureaucratic efficiency, we have an opportunity to steer our nation to a wider path of socio-economic development that will redound to the advancement of every locality in the country.

I enjoin you to work with us in reinvigorating our local government’s ability to shape a sustainable future and sustain the strides we are making in our shared aspirations for inclusive and resilient national growth.

Again, my most heartfelt thanks to the LMP for advancing the objectives of decentralization in governance through transparency and professionalism in local leadership.

As you assume larger roles in local administration, I trust that you will exemplify greater responsibility in upholding a competent government that will serve the welfare and best interest of the municipalities you selflessly serve.

Let me insert here our order for our teachers, for principals, our division superintendents, kasama na po sa mga ARDs namin at sa mga Regional Directors namin sa Department of Education to be professional in their work. Dito po kami nakikiusap sa ating mga kaibigan na mga local chief executives na kailangan po namin na iexplain sa inyo na ang kalidad ng edukasyon ay mayroon pong connection sa kalidad ng teachers na hina-hire ng Department of Education. Unang-una po kapag hindi natin sinusunod ang ranking ng ating mga teachers dahil po merong pinipili ang ating mga politicians at pine-pursue natin sa sa loob ng Department of Education, hindi po natin talaga mababago ang kalidad ng edukasyon ng ating bayan. Kaya po kami ay nakikiusap na sundin po natin ang ranking sa ating pagpili sa mga teachers at hindi po dapat nating pinipilit kung sino yung kakilala, kaibigan, kamag-anak natin sa pagpapasok o hiring ng ating mga teachers sa Department of Education.

Pangalawa po ay meron po kaming paulit-ulit na reminder sa aming mga teachers, principals, superintendents, regional directors, assistant regional directors na maging professional po sa kanilang trabaho at wag po pumanig sa kahit sino man politicians. On this point, I’d like to remind our elected public officials, na hindi po ang ating mga teachers, and ating mga principals ang makakapagpanalo sa inyo sa eleksyon. Ang makakapagpanalo po sa inyo sa eleksyon ay ang trabaho ninyo at ang sinseridad ninyo na maipakita sa taumbayan ng inyong mga munisipalidad na gusto nyo ng pagbabago o transformative change in your respective localities — yan po ang magpapanalo sa inyo sa susunod na eleksyon.

Let us remain true to the call of public service, foster lasting progress within our communities, and carry on with the crucial task of nation-building with the utmost integrity and democratic accountability.

Isisingit ko po dito yung pakikiusap namin sa ating mga local chief executives na kung pwede ay wag po nating gamitin ang ating mga paaralan at ang ating mga teachers sa ating mga aktibidad ng ating mga local government unit. Ang atin pong mga teachers ay paulit-ulit naming nireremind na kailangang sila ay nagtuturo at hindi sila gumagawa ng iba pang bagay lalong-lalo na sa labas po ng ating mga paaralan.

And as an end note, I’d like to request everyone to say a personal prayer for the recent violence against elected public officials and local chief executives na sana po ay magawan ng paraan ng ating mga local chief executives sa inyo pong mga municipal peace and order council, city peace and order council, at mga regional peace and order councils ang pagpapanatili ng peace and order sa inyong mga territory.

Lahat – para sa Diyos, sa bayan, at sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino.