Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Philippine Mayors Forum
Thank you to our DILG Secretary, Secretary Benhur Abalos for your kind introduction. [Please take your seats.]
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Gustavo González who has become a — he was teasing me earlier and he said because we have been — who has become a fixture in the Palace because of the many things that we are doing together with the UN and he was teasing me I am already practically a Cabinet secretary to the Philippines and that would be — and I told him, if we could do that, we would; the United Nations Governance and Public Administration Expert, Ms. Ana Thorlund [applause]; our host for today’s activities, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte [applause] and the other honorable local chief executives present, lahat ng ating mga butihing mga punong bayan na nandito ngayon; fellow workers in government; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
I’m happy to join you today for this year’s Philippine Mayors Forum, which coincides with the 32nd Anniversary of the enactment of the Local Government Code.
I think it is very significant the fact that we are celebrating also the Local Government Code which gave autonomy to local government. And that autonomy is now being used by these programs.
Kung wala po tayong Local Government Code, that autonomy that we gave to our local chief executives would not be available to you. But now that it is and now the coinciding program that we are availing of with the United Nations is making that autonomy even greater and even stronger.
And it also demonstrates that if you see the greetings and the different agencies, the different parts of government, private sector, United Nations, all of these have come together. And when we talk about the whole-of-society and the whole-of-nation approach, this is a perfect example of that.
Lahat ng kailangan nating tulong ay inilalagay natin para harapin itong problemang ito. And this I believe is very, very important especially in this day and age. This will strengthen once again the autonomy of our local governments and it will give us a direction when we are now — Governor Dax is here. We are now putting together the final implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling that is of course relevant to all our local government executives.
And to include that now into that plan, into what we are going to do is to have a very potent weapon in facing the challenges of climate change, of digitalization, of sustainability, of mitigation, of all our efforts to make the local government an important part of all what we do at the national and in this case, international level.
I think it was an inspired revelation, if I can call it that, to recognize — for the UN to recognize that it will need local government assistance. We cannot do any of these.
We are talking about global issues here but nonetheless we depend on the local government. Maraming magandang salita sa national, mahuhusay na speech, maraming mga display pero ang bagsak niyan, ang puno’t dulo niyan ay kayo ang ating mga chief executive, local chief executive dahil kung hindi niyo — kung wala kayong kakayahan na gawin lahat ito, you know what will happen. We will not reach down to the ground level and that’s what we count on local government to do.
So, for more than three decades, this landmark law has provided us with a trusted set of guidelines and I’m talking about the Local Government Code, on how to go about the process of devolution, with an emphasis on making our local government units more efficient, more empowered, and more self-sustaining.
However, we are now in the 21st century, there are new challenges in both the local and national levels—issues that were not conceived of by the code’s framers 30 years ago—that require us now to discover, to explore, to employ better ways of capacitating our localities.
So, I welcome this forum which seeks to harness the power of innovation, digital governance, resiliency-building to ensure that the government can better respond to the demands of the times.
And when I speak of government, I speak of government at every level.
At this point, let me recognize the DILG and the UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs, the UN Resident Coordinator Office in the Philippines, the UN Development Programme Philippines for organizing this forum.
It is a most opportune time for our national government agencies and LGUs to come together—with the support of international partners—to augment our strategies and approaches towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
This gathering also reaffirms this administration’s commitment to making our government more transparent, more responsive, and accessible to our public.
It is my hope that these discussions will result in the wider adoption of multi-level governance; the rise of smarter, more sustainable communities; the emergence of stronger, more resilient local institutions.
So, let me challenge our mayors to not only make the most out of this forum. Let us make good use of this forum. It is going to be a very effective multiplier in terms of the efforts that we bring. And the support that the United Nations brings now to this effort is going to be a — will accelerate that and will accelerate the capacity-building of our local governments.
Sa palagay ko, dapat ganyan ang tingin natin. How do we make full use of this UN program? And the way to make full use of this UN program in my view is that we take full advantage of the knowledge, of the training, of the experience that the UN has gained, not only in the Philippines but all around the world, and apply it to our own constituencies and we capacitate ourselves, make ourselves more competent, make ourselves more knowledgeable, make ourselves more learned, when it comes to all of the problems that we are now facing.
And that way, you are able to achieve more. So, we must also explore international partnerships such as that, with your counterparts, not only in the Philippines but in other countries. And that way, we will learn the best practices in improving public service delivery.
I assure you, our mayors, that this administration will remain your leading partner in enhancing your capacities to achieve our sustainable development goals, Ambisyon Natin 2040.
May I just inform the body that both our mayors and the subject of local [governance] are close to my heart, as I was not only a governor. I was a congressman which although ang tawag sa amin ay national officer, ang constituency ng congressman is local. So, I was that for many years. And furthermore, because of that experience, I was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government.
And so this is very close to my heart and that is why I understand the importance of what we are doing here today. I understand how this will help our mayors, all our local communities, how we will bring a new — we will breathe new life into this effort of sustainability, this effort of autonomy, this effort of capacitating our own organizations, our own provinces, our own cities, our own municipalities, to be able to face — these are new challenges.
Like I said earlier, the framers of the Local Government Code did not — 31 years ago did not have to think of all of these problems simply because they did not exist. But they do now and that is our job. Our job is to face those problems, find the solutions to make a better life for our people.
So, together, let us continue working hard to serve our nation—to give a better life to every Filipino, to prepare a better country for the next generations.
Thank you and I wish you all success in these endeavors! [applause]
Sama-sama po tayong umusad tungo sa isang Bagong Pilipinas! Mabuhay kayong lahat! Magandang umaga po sa inyo.
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