Gov. Edgar Chatto led regional officials in pushing far-reaching agenda for meaningful programs and banner projects in separate Cebu meetings of three powerful bodies that capped another year of accomplished governance.
Highlight discussions included the KALSADA, a national incentive for local road management program that is a first of its kind in the country with the Bohol leader its champion advocate no less.
As its chairman, Chatto himself led the Regional Development Council (RDC-7) in its joint meeting with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-7), which is headed by Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, at Harolds Hotel in Cebu City on Friday.
The governor afterward attended the night consultation-dialogue on â€œ#ParaSaBayan: Pagtataguyod sa Makabuluhang Adhikain ng Pamamahalang Lokalâ€ Advocacy initiated by the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) at Quest Hotel.
The dialogue was attended by leaders and officials from different regions, including the new Negros Island Region (NIR), in the Visayas.
The advocacy, which translates to pursuing meaningful agenda for local governance, notes of the local-empowering KALSADA, which P6.5 billion budget could expand to P20 billion,Â and P12.5 billion Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) for 2016.
Chatto said #ParaSaBayan emphasizes that the development of local communities is commensurate to the progress of the country.
In the RDC-RPOC meeting, Chatto and fellow Central Visayas leaders foresaw more significant change in the development landscape in the region with the implementation of big-ticket projects in Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor.
These projects, including the new Bohol airport which construction is on-going, Mactan-Cebu airports and proposed Cebu bus rapid transit system, will more than definitely steer the region as one of the fastest growing in the country, Chatto said.
The Boholano top man of Region 7â€™s most influential development policy body expressed â€œhappinessâ€ that â€œnext year, we will be seeing the improvement of Siquijor airport runway and construction of its passenger terminal.â€
The RDC under Chatto has also supported the completion of the seaport passenger terminal in Siquijor, which is small compared to its island-province neighbors yet likewise awash in tourism potentials.
The council endorsed a new big-ticket project, the proposed Cebu international port, which will hugely impact on both regional and national economies.
As 2015 is ending, Chatto thanked every member of the council while citing the â€œmany things that have happened to this region—positive ones—which have been products of our discussions and decisions in the RDC.â€
The joint RDC-RPOC meeting gave the two councils an opportunity â€œto listen to each otherâ€™s agenda for their programs to complement as peace and development normally come together,â€ Chatto said.
It was Chatto himself who had batted in separate previous RDC and RPOC meetings for joint regular meetings henceforth because while most of their respective members are the same, there are concerns of one council which need fast action or support of the other.
But in their first joint assembly on Friday, Chatto ensured the observance of protocol and decorum by having the two bodies separately going through their respective orders of business.
FIRST IN THE
In both RDC-RPOC meeting and ULAP #ParaSaBayan consultation-dialogue, Chatto highlighted KALSADAâ€™s significance of no precedence as a national-local counterparting to rehabilitate and improve roads for inclusive growth and broader prosperity.
He stressed that â€œfor the first time in Philippine local governance, the national government opens the door to provide subsidy to LGUs in aid of road rehabilitation that enhances connectivity and economic productivity in the countryâ€™s 80 provinces.â€
Chatto said under the program, each province initially receives subsidy via downloading of funds from the P6.5 billion budget guaranteed in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016.
The provincial LGUs implement the projects with local counterpart, which can be in cash or kind, of P10%, 20% or 30% depending on the class of the concerned provinces.
The criteria in selecting qualified LGUs include the Provincial Engineering Officeâ€™s (PEO) capability to handle infrastructure works, which further include technical designing, submission of road development plan, and commitment of LGUs.
KALSADA and BUB, as well as the preparation of the latterâ€™s budget for 2017, topped the ULAP dialogue as the #ParaSaBayan stores much welfare for LGUs under the meaningful devolution policy and clearer program direction.
In theirÂ national executive board meeting the other week, Chatto and fellow ULAP officers pushed for the issuance of a joint memorandum circular from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and other concerned agencies for direct downloading of BUB funds to barangays.
The #ParaSaBayan dialogue discussed, too, ULAPâ€™s commitment to the implementation of the sub-national components of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Innovative Solutions to OGP.
The #ParaSaBayan advocacy sets commitments in celebration of the Local Government Codeâ€™s 25thÂ Anniversary in 2016, according to ULAP which is the umbrella organization of all leagues of local government units and locally-elected officials.
The idea first emerged in a series of policy discussions of ULAP, which founding secretary-general is Chatto, with the DBM and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on higher performance-based incentives and direct downloads.
TheÂ bayanÂ is a genuine Filipino concept to both mean a town of origin and a nation, hence, the advocacy emphasizes that pursuing what most responds to the needs ofÂ bayanÂ as a town is the same as responding to what is best forÂ bayanÂ as a country.
The advocacy also accounts for participative and inclusive governance , directly engaging the civil society and non-government sector in decision-making and development initiatives.
According to the advocacyâ€™s overview, the elements of transparency and participation have been the foundation of noteworthy programs empowering towns and communities such as BUB, Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), KALSADA and other expanded national-local programs for universal health care and â€œlast-mileâ€ efforts for education.
Moreover, Chatto said, there is a continuing discussion of amending the Local Code, particularly on increasing the shares of the LGUs from the national wealth.
Chatto said all these are key points for solid commitments in answer to such concerns as how to scale up the demand among LGUs and contribute to push the meaningful agenda of the local governments. (Ven rebo Arigo)