League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) - Luzon Island Cluster Conference & Mayors’ Forum

23 July 2015

To Gov. Ryan and Gov. Chavit Singson,

Cong. Manny Pacquiao,

Senator Ping Lacson,

To all the Municipal Mayors of the Luzon Island chapter in attendance tonight, led by its current roll of officers and its National President Mayor Sandy Javier,

Other esteemed guests and friends, both from government and the private sector,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening to all of you!

‘Ika nga po sa amin sa Ilokano:

Naimbag a rabi-i yo amin, apo!

Thank you very much for making me part of your 2015 conference for the whole Luzon Island cluster. I am indeed very privileged to join the chief executives of the municipalities of the entire Luzon island tonight, of course, along with our other esteemed guests from government and the private sector—here, no less, in the newly inaugurated “Wonder City of the World”, and pride of the Ilocos Region, the City of Vigan!

Lest I forget, please allow me, first and foremost, to take this opportunity to congratulate the Heritage City of Vigan, which was officially inaugurated as a “Wonder City of the World” just two months ago!

Allow me to do the honor of addressing you all, as you wrap up your conference and forum for this year 2015. We know that this year is such an important milestone for us elected officials, for it signals yet again the conclusion of our terms of office and a another call for fresh new official mandates from the very people we have served.

And so I laud and congratulate the LMP for its industrious efforts and its commitment to professionalism and continuing education, the nearing twilight of our terms notwithstanding. I am confidently hoping that this conference proves yet again to be a big success for the League, of course, under the able leadership of Mayor Sandy Javier.

The subject matters and the range of public services that you have lined up in the training component of your conference—such as the viability of free Wi-Fi, improvement of tourism and agriculture, local budgeting and governance, local infrastructure development and community resilience, and models of municipal best practices—indeed are topics of continuing practical significance and vital public concerns of our time, impacting on your day-to-day work as chief executives of your municipalities.

Of course, equally important as the others, updates on the 2016 elections, courtesy of our Commission on Elections, are likewise essential information that can help us in our discernment, and in our planning and preparations for what is to come in 2016.

Kaya naman po napakapalad talaga ng LMP na nakadalo sa inyong conference ang ilan sa mga opisyal ng mahahalagang sangay at ahensya ng pamahalaan at pribadong sektor, dahil malaki ang kanilang maitutulong sa pagpapalawak ng kaalaman ng ating mga Alkalde at Punongbayan.

Mahalaga po sa atin ang lahat ng mga bagay na ito. ‘Ika nga po ng inyong tema para sa pagtitipon ngayong taon—“TULOY-TULOY, SAMA-SAMA!”— which conveys a sense of yearning to move on together—until and even beyond 2016!

Pero gayumpaman, hindi po natin maiiwasan na magkakaroon pa rin ng “major facelift” sa ating hanay sa susunod na kumperensya sa susunod na taon. Tiyak na mayroong mga ga-graduate, at marahil ay mayroon ding mapo-promote!

Ngunit hindi po maitatatwa ang kahalagahan ng inyong hangaring magpakadalubhasa sa kumperensya ninyong ito. The people we have pledged to serve deserve no less than the best public servants, and the highest quality of public service possible. Hence, built into our mandates from the people is a corollary commitment to professionalize, to continue enhancing our knowledge, and continue improving our management skills and our brand of public service.

Lahat ng mga itong inyong tinalakay sa araw na ito ay kasama sa ating pangako sa taumbayan, na ating pasan-pasan sa ating mga balikat gaano man kahirap at kabigat!

(IF Cong. Pacquiao is present)

(At tutal ay “balikat” ang ating pinag-uusapan, nandito po si Cong. Manny Pacquiao, na siyang masakit pa rin siguro ang balikat dahilan ng kanyang huling laban doon sa Amerikanong boksingero na magaling din sa takbuhan o track and field!

Cong. Manny, sana patuloy lamang ang paggaling ng iyong balikat. Sabi sa balita noong isang araw na nagalit daw di-umano si Bob Arum tungkol sa issue ng pagpapagaling ng balikat ni Cong. Manny. Siguro ang sagot ni Cong. Manny kay Mr. Bob Arum:

“Sorry, but I am busy attending to the needs of my people in the Philippines, you know?”

Makakaasa ka, Cong. Manny, na mananatili kang “idol” ng buong sambayanang Pilipino sa iyong halimbawa ng kagalingan, katapangan, at kabutihan sa kapwa!)

It is beyond question that the continuing education and training that our Mayors undergo here in this conference aids in the sharpening of their management skills and in the maturation of their social diagnoses and political analyses. Their improvement in these areas in turn enable them to be quick and reflexive in their decisions and actions when important issues come along that tend to challenge or even threaten the integrity of and order within their respective communities.

Halimbawa, tulad nitong bill ng Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) na itinutulak ng Malacañang. Ang bawat mamayan, lalong-lalo na ang mga Alkalde at Punongbayan ng ating mga bayan ay dapat makisalo at makibahagi sa usaping ito. Opo, lahat tayo. Hindi lamang po ang mga taga-Mindanao, kundi pati ang mga taga-Luzon, lalo na ang mga taga-Palawan, ay kasama rin dito.

First, if you will recall, Palawan has been included in the coverage of the term “Bangsamoro People” in the original BBL that came from Malacañang. Hence, the municipalities of Palawan should exert efforts in informing their citizenry, in order to guide towards an intelligent and informed choice, in the event that a plebiscite is conducted for the ratification of their inclusion in the Bangsamoro territory.

Secondly, if, in the final analysis, the BBL would call for and amendment and revision of our Constitution—and there is a great likelihood of this happening—then the ENTIRE Filipino nation would inevitably be called upon to exercise their sovereign right to ratify the structural changes in our fundamental law.

In both cases, I envision the chief executives of municipalities to be at the forefront of information and educational campaigns in line with this monumental event of our history, not only for the macro-level changes called for, but more importantly, because of their betokened implications on the future and destiny of their individual communities.

Ito ring issue ng “imported” na basura mula sa Canada. While it directly involves the Luzon island town of Capas, Tarlac alone, it nonetheless serves as an important case study of municipal local governance. And amid this issue, we see the Mayor again at the forefront, directly involved in the delicate balancing act of promoting trade and commerce in the locality, while ensuring that laws are faithfully executed, and, most important of all, that the general welfare and the right of its citizens to a balanced and healthful ecology are protected.

All these emphasize the need for our local communities to be led by sharp, astute and proactive local chief executives. And we are very fortunate that the LMP leadership is always mindful of this, as may be evidenced by programs such as this one, which are regularly and uniformly organized and held throughout the country.

By gaining more than mere casual or shallow familiarity of our laws, enriched by grassroots and hands-on knowledge at the local level, you develop an enviable expertise in the field of local governance, to the point that you acquire the ability to discover flaws and inefficiencies in our system, which you can, in turn, relay to us, your national legislators, for the necessary improvement, adjustment and finetuning. In the process, you become dynamic partners in bringing about reforms in government that you have sworn to do as League members.

And such developed expertise will also be good for your personal records, CVs and resumes, as you continue to blaze your own career trails. But most of all, it will be good for public service and to your constituents, as your expertise certainly would cascade down to your work, translating in the form of concrete and tangible benefits for your LGUs. Ultimately, all these will contribute to our nation-building!

Pero siyempre, ’ika nga ng kasabihan, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. At masuwerte rin naman kayong mga LMP members dahil bukod sa “Pinakbet Farm Performers”, ay may inihanda pa si Pres. Sandy na kaunting “R&R”. “Rock and roll” ngayong gabi, at “rest and recreation” naman bukas!

Pero mas masuwerte sana, at mas masarap din, kung ang libreng “Pinakbet” ay masasamahan din ng libreng litsong manok mula sa ating butihing Pangulo ng LMP!

Kaya hindi ko na po patatagalin pa! Allow me to end on this high note, as I join you in closing what was certainly an inspired, meaningful and productive conference and learning experience.

Again, congratulations to the LMP-Luzon Island on its 2015 cluster conference. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and privilege to be part of your gathering and celebration!

Nawa’y mag-enjoy ang lahat sa tugtugan na susunod na! Huwag lang po sana kayong magpupuyat masyado para naman makagising nang maaga bukas upang makalibot sa magandang lungsod ng Vigan. Sayang naman po ang pagkakataon na masaksihan ang ating pinagmamalaki na “Wonder City of the World”!

Mabuhay ang ating mga munisipalidad at ang kanilang magagaling at magigiting na mga Punongbayan, lalo na sa isla ng Luzon!

Mabuhay ang League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)!

Mabuhay ang “Wonder City” of Vigan!

Hanggang sa atin pong muling pagkikita!

Maraming salamat po at magandang gabi sa inyong lahat!

Dios ti agngina kadakayo amin!

Let the music begin!