BAGUIO CITY-Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. stressed the vital role the vice mayors and municipal councilors play in local governance, saying they serve as the “check and balance in the democratic process.
Speaking before the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines, region 1 chapter, on the opening day of a regional seminar-workshop on “Capacity Development and Agenda Formulation,” the governor said that in playing their role, the local councils deliver the most important piece of legislation – the annual budget.
Being the direct provider of basic services, Espino called on the municipal councils to identify the priorities and prime their expenditures to effectively deliver the vital services to their constituents.
The governor made the appeal as he noted that there are still a lot of municipal governments which still “allocate and consume its financial resources to non-essential projects, such as boundary arches, plant boxes, and waiting sheds along the highways, as well as the holding of lavish fiesta celebrations that are invariably attended only by the rich and famous, at the expense of vital projects and services for which funds would have been used to help the poor, and to achieve long-term benefits.”
He, instead, asked the local officials to shift their priority to simple but essential services such as: “maintenance of peace and order, primary health care, clean and orderly environment, livelihood opportunities, and vital infrastructures such as repair and maintenance of municipal roads and bridges, public markets, potable water, and school buildings through the judicious use of the Special Education Fund (SEF) derived from real property taxes.”
Espino stressed the need for a “lean-and-mean organization provided with just compensation and incentives, conducive working conditions, and creating an overall work environment that encourages solidarity, teamwork, professionalism and excellence.”
The governor encouraged the local chief executives and local sanggunians to work in harmony to “enable them to govern effectively, and jointly lead their people, especially during these difficult and trying times.”
He commended the vice mayors league headed by its chairman, Sta. Barbara Vice Mayor Ruben Jose, for undertaking the three-day seminar-workshop designed to improve their “knowledge and skills in local legislation, and to take bold steps to help make local autonomy become a true and effective engine for growth and prosperity in the country..”
The other officers of the vice mayors league are: Amante Tito Purisima (Ilocos Sur), executive vice president; Teofilo Humilde of Alaminos City, president, Pangasinan chapter; Corazon Abad, Ilocos Norte chapter president and the regional league’s secretary-general.