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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mayors back initiative for SDGs at LGU level

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The League of Municipalities (LMP) said it is supporting the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level.

The SDGs are 17 global goals set by the United Nations member countries which provide a roadmap on how to transform the planet where everyone can live in peace, prosperity, and dignity.

The localization of the SDGs is said to be essential as it is at the core of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 which is based on the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s eight-point socio-economic agenda.

Earlier, the President told members of the LMP to not waste their mandates from their constituents on petty things, but rather use them for “grand things.”

In his message to the LMP’s General Assembly on Tuesday in Pasay City, Mr. Marcos told public officials that they should innovate their problem-solving skills to align with the current challenges the local government sector is facing.

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“These SDGs can only be achieved through unified action. One municipality at a time can build a better Philippines and bring Bagong Pilipinas in full fruition. And this is where the localization of SDGs matter. The best practice is to learn from each other while adapting to progress”, President Marcos said.

The assembly gave local chief executives the opportunity to tackle different approaches to the implementation of the UN 2030 SDGs at the municipal level.

LMP head Mayor Joseph Bernos of La Paz, Abra, said the LMP “has always been at the government’s disposal in realizing the programs and projects that will bring progress to the grassroots level.”

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, who was at the same gathering, assured local officials that the House of Representatives, carrying out a directive from the President, is supporting local = government units (LGUs) with a bigger share of the annual budget.

“The order of our President: do everything that is appropriate and
necessary to benefit your communities in the development of the entire country,” Romualdez said.

The conference focused on the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs’) Localization: Pathway to Sustainable Municipal Development.”

SDG is a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations
member countries, which provide a roadmap on how to transform our planet where everyone can live in peace, prosperity, and dignity.

Romualdez said the House is allocating more funds to LGUs in
acknowledgment of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling, which augments the share of local governments from national taxes.

“This ruling signifies a transformative shift, aimed at enhancing the
fiscal autonomy of LGUs, thereby empowering you to better address
local developmental needs. The 2024 budget reflects this change,
ensuring a larger portion of the national tax allotment (NTA) is
directed to local governments,” he said.

The Speaker said the increased funding enables each LGU to allot more funds for local development projects that are crucial for advancing the SDGs.

“However, it must be recognized, per instruction of President
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the Speaker, that the windfall from the
Mandanas ruling, though substantial, is not sufficient to fully meet
the developmental needs of local government units,” he added.

President Marcos emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts
between local and national government units in achieving the 17 SDGs, noting that this “shared journey” is a testament to the
administration’s commitment to Filipinos’ well-being.

“It is our commitment to solving the problems of today, while ensuring a better tomorrow,” he added.

Mr. Marcos commended municipal leaders for their “clear understanding” in crafting and implementing programs aligned with the SDGs, such as promoting community participation and empowering citizens to contribute to sustainable development.

“You are at the forefront of action, our invaluable partners in
achieving sustainable growth. Let me be clear: this isn’t just about
delegating responsibility. This administration is fully committed to
achieving these goals,” he stated.

The national government’s dedication, the President said, is reflected
in the P2.09 trillion budget allocated for social services in 2024.

Additionally, P457.41 billion will be dedicated to climate change
solutions, including water security (P373.45 billion), sustainable
energy (P18.19 billion), and environmental stability (P6.48 billion).

The House leader also pointed out that the Executive Department, in
conjunction with Congress, “is committed to working collaboratively to identify and harness additional resources necessary for LGUs to
effectively realize their development goals.”

He revealed that the House is also deliberating on several bills aimed
at further increasing the NTA share of local governments.

“This initiative seeks to deepen local government engagement in
national development, ensuring the growth and progress we envision are experienced at the community level,” Romualdez stressed.

“The national government feels your need. We know that you need all the help from the national government to raise the livelihood of our people,” he said.

Romualdez emphasized the national government’s commitment to work with LGUs “so we can effectively integrate local health systems in the implementation of Universal Health Care.”

Following the Speaker’s speech, Mayor Bernos handed over to him LMP National Directorate Resolution No. 2024-02 expressing the league’s support to the leadership of Romualdez and his effort to fiscally strengthen LGUs and further accelerate the nation’s economic development.

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