“Councilors as Partners for Effective Local Governance”

Speech-councilors-for-effective-governanceSpeech of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.
2nd National Board Meeting of the Philippine Councilor’s League
17 June 2011, Apo View Hotel, Davao City

Distinguished Guest of Honors, Vice Mayor Duterte and Secretary Ochoa, Officers and Members of the Philippine Counselor’s
League, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I consider it an honor to be with you this evening, I understand that this is not only the 2nd Quarterly National Executive Officers and Board Meeting. This is also the Orientation and Enrollment on Baccalaureate and Masters Degree Courses Program. The Philippine Counselor’s League after all represents our legislators from the grassroots known as the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panglungsod.

Rooted from Presidential Decree 337, which was enacted during the time of my father, President Ferdinand E. Marcos, both the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panglunsod eventually were granted broader powers and greater responsibilities under R.A. 7160, the Local Government Code, the most revolutionary piece of legislation ever crafted under the 1987 Constitution.

That you have chosen Davao City, Metropolitan Center of Region 11 speaks well of your desire to recognize this fast growing economy which is now developing into a center for agro-industrial business, trade and tourism. May I commend Davao City and the entire region for its growth and development. This unprecedented phenomenon is a well deserved recognition of the achievements of the leadership qualities of metropolitan Davao City and the region as a whole.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Allow me to begin with the Constitution.

Article X, Sec. 3 of the Constitution on Local Government provides:

“The congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanism of recall, initiative , and referendum, allocate among the different local government units theirs powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.”

As duly elected local government officials, your mandate under the Code, let me stress, is for “a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization…..”

This mandate grants you, as local government officials, tremendous powers and awesome responsibilities. Through the system of decentralization, you are provided with the exercise of inherent powers granted to the national government: police power, the power of taxation and the power of eminent domain. These expanded powers are granted to local government under the 1987 Constitution as a means of ensuring that local governments, through its local officials are held primarily responsible for its security, social services and economic development.

Let me call your undivided attention to these expanded duties and responsibilities which as local representative officials you are expected to legislate. These duties and responsibilities came about as result of what we call “devolution”

Let me enumerate briefly some of these

• Agriculture
• In. general, provide support services for agricultural production and marketing;
• Distribute seeds; (planting materials)
• Operate stations; to collect or buy farm produce.

• Health
• in general, deliver basic health services;
• promote general hygiene;
• promote sanitation;
• construct and maintain health centers;
• provides solid waste disposal systems.

• Environment
• Beautification;
• Solid waste collection and disposal.

• Infrastructure
• Maintenance of
• Roads,
• Bridges,
• Water system & drainage.
• Construction and maintenance:
• Multi-purpose pavements,
• Halls,
• Sports centers,
• Information and reading centers,
• Satellite or public markets (where viable).

• Social Welfare
• Social Welfare Services,
• Day care Centers.

It is clear, my legislator friends, that like us in Congress. I mean, both House and Senate, your local government duties and responsibilities could only be discharged by enacting into laws or, as in your case, ordinances , policies and programs for your respective constituencies. The executive, after all, cannot act without legislation.

You are the ones who know your respective problems and it is therefore expected that after careful study and analysis you should also know the proper solutions. This is also expected of you as legislators. Thus the colatilla, ‘in aid of legislation.”

You therefore serve as vanguard of your respective local governments.

But even as you are mandated to develop plans, programs and priorities, you are also granted by the Constitution the inherent power of taxation, a vital power which, with your permission I wish to reiterate:

Section 5 of the Constitution reads: Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees and charges shall accuse exclusively to the local governments.”

This is one of the biggest challenges to us as legislators, the power of the purse. We create our own sources of revenues in order for us to utilize what we raise for the benefit of our constituencies. We are expected to balance revenues with expenditures that whatever is earned is properly spent, with emphasis on properly spent.

All taxes levies, fees and charges raised must go back to our constituencies, whether in the form of economic development or social services not to mention security.

My friends. It is said that legislative bodies represent the hopes, the dreams and the desires of our constituencies, including some of the frustrations that goes with public services.

More than the executive, legislative bodies represent diversity of interests therefore making different concerns, at times conflicting, duly representatives of the people. This to my mind is the beauty of legislative bodies, where needs, concerns and views are fully debated and clarified. Legislative bodies represent the people. It is where the voice of the people are heard and, thru us, fully articulated;

But I would like to believe that despite conflicting views, despite diverse concerns, when votes are taken, it is the common interest of your city, your municipality or, in our case in the senate, the nation, that will ultimately prevail.

That whatever individual, district, local or national interests are brought into the legislative arena, let us always bear in mind that we are all working towards one goal: The betterment of our people and our nation.

Thank you and good evening.

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