By Judy Flores-Partlow | Balita
DUMAGUETE CITY, Aug. 14 (PNA) -– Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Thursday held consultations with local officials to include the governor and mayors of Negros Oriental, as well as sectoral representatives, to get a “feel” of their priority development projects that needed attention from the national government.
Sen. Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government and recently named chair of the Senate committee on public works, disclosed in two separate dialogues in Dumaguete that the reason for his visit here was to collect information vital for his planned creation of a national infrastructure development plan.
The senator first met with the mayors during the regular meeting of the League of Municipalities of Negros Oriental, which was also attended by Vice Governor Mark Macias and some Board Members at a hotel in the city.
At lunch time, he proceeded to the Negros Oriental Convention Center to meet with Governor Roel Degamo, provincial government department heads and other government agencies representatives for a multi-sectoral dialogue on infrastructure development.
According to Marcos, legislators are trying to formulate and put together a national infrastructure and development plan but local officials, local government units and the different agencies are asked for inputs on what their needs and priorities are.
“Because it is always by instinct that local officials know more their areas than everybody else”, Marcos said.
He explained the need to harmonize the priorities of both national and local governments in terms of infrastructure development.
Marcos pointed out that in many instances, the needs and priorities of both do not match.
Some projects are erected but not needed while others are imperative but are not built and this has been a problem the national government has been facing, he further noted.
The senator also mentioned that the Philippines has fallen behind in infrastructure development with a spending of 2.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which he described as “very low”.
However, government is looking at doubling this at five percent but it would still be low compared to other ASEAN neighbors, Marcos added.
The senator disclosed he has been going around particular provinces, especially the bigger ones, and some cities, too, to get a glimpse of the priority development projects at the local level.
Marcos explained that those consulted need not necessarily talk of specific projects but in general discuss plans for the future.
Also, the senator admits that while his visit is primarily to cover infrastructure issues, other concerns also surface, him being the chair of the committee on local government.
“Many issues on public works and infrastructure development are connected to local government issues”, he pointed out.
Prominent priority projects raised by the governor, mayors and other sectors during the twin consultations centered on power issues to include the cut-back on royalty fees for LGUs from the geothermal leader, Energy Development Corporation, the Dumaguete City port which could no longer accommodate heavy traffic and thus the need to build a new port for cargo outside of the city and dilapidated school buildings, among others.
Being pressed for time in his latest visit to Dumaguete, Sen. Marcos assured that his office welcomes further suggestions and consultations and can be reached via various forms of communication, to include e-mail and even the social networking site, Facebook.