Ochoa: LGUs are strategic partners to national development

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Tuesday underscored the importance of local government units (LGUs) as strategic partners of the Aquino administration in national development and in equitably distributing its benefits.

Speaking on behalf of President Benigno S. Aquino III in the 2011 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) in Cebu City, Ochoa said the government will continue to engage LGUs to promote this partnership and help transform communities into vibrant economies.

“With your help we hope to transform our towns, cities and provinces into progressive and vibrant economies that can serve as hubs for the development of new economic regions,” Ochoa said.

“The formula is simple: local progress leads to national development, local productivity results in national prosperity,” Ochoa added.

He encouraged municipalities to work together and pool their resources in drawing up a list of projects that is in line with national economic goals. “Individually, it may not be possible for your towns to undertake programs and projects that have huge financial requirements; but together it will be more feasible for you to launch the kind of projects that can benefit your towns and constituents, as well as complement national initiatives.”

Citing the experience of the national government in pursuing projects under the public-private partnership (PPP), this, too, can be explored at the LGU level to enable municipalities to support their programs.

“As long as these projects can provide a return on investment for those involved, you will be able to attract parties interested in investing in your areas,” Ochoa told mayors of 1,498 municipalities who participated in the LMP general assembly held at the Cebu International Convention Center.

He said LGU projects must be in line with the five Cabinet clusters that were formed by the President to organize our national goals, namely Good Governance; Economic Development; Human Development; Security, Justice and Peace; and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation clusters.

The President’s Cabinet cluster system is outlined in Executive Order No. 43.

More than just establishing a system of governance or organizing the Cabinet into clusters, EO 43 defines the President’s vision to attain “the good life” for every Filipino and reflects the national agenda for development.

While the administration is still finalizing the details of this national-local partnership program, Ochoa noted that its components essentially involve the following:

· Projects that strategically link localities with national and global markets such as construction of ports and airports, and the development of information communication technology portals;

· Projects that create economic enterprises such as “bagsakan” centers, food processing centers, and postharvest and storage facilities; and

· Projects that promote tourism. ###