Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson has won support in his adoptive province of Cebu for his crusade to empower local government units (LGUs) to implement key development projects, through his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE).
At least 12 local chief executives from Naga, Talisay and Carcar Cities attended the Online Kumustahan in Naga City last Friday, where Lacson pushed to institutionalize the practice of making sure that programs, activities and projects (PAPs) originate from the LGUs.
“All PAPs should emanate from the LGUs. Diyan dapat manggaling (The PAPs should come from the LGUs),” he said at the Online Kumustahan at the Enan Chiong Activity Center in Naga City, to loud applause from the audience.
He said BRAVE will spur development at the grassroots level, with the bonus of job opportunities for local residents due to the development projects.
“Kakalat ang resources, kakalat ang development, and we can be a great nation again (There will be a more equitable distribution of resources and development, and we can be a great nation again),” pointed out Lacson, who became an “Adopted Son of Cebu” due to his exemplary performance as head of the then Philippine Constabulary’s Cebu Metropolitan District Command (MetroDisCom) from 1989 to 1992.
Cebu local officials who were present at the event included Mayors Kristine Vanessa Chiong (Naga), Allan Sesaldo (Argao), Gerald Anthony Gullas (Talisay City), Lakambini Reluya (San Fernando), Lionel Bacaltos (Sibonga), Mariano Terence Blanco (Ronda), Allan Sesaldo (Argao); and Vice Mayors Nicepuro Apura (Carcar City) and Inocentes Cabaron (Moalboal).
Also at the event were mayoralty candidates Eugene Singson (Alcoy), Ronnie Cesante (Dalaguete), Lee Briones (Samboan), Raj Dy (Santander); and vice mayoralty candidates William Lagahid (Dalaguete), Rey Catipay (Samboan), and Myril Puntual (Santander).
Under the BRAVE, LGUs will get more autonomy and resources, as well as the accompanying accountability, in implementing key development projects, programs and activities.
Lacson noted that while former Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado required implementing agencies to secure certifications from Regional Development Councils for projects to be included in the proposed national budget for 2021, this was merely a “tapal” or temporary solution.
“We want to institutionalize that,” stressed Lacson, who earned a reputation in the Senate as the watchdog of the national budget.
He also noted that billions of pesos in the yearly budget is not used, and could fund development and livelihood projects at the barangay, municipal, and provincial levels.
Lacson said it is about time that the agencies implementing development projects consult with the LGUs, which are in a better position to know the needs and priorities of their constituents.
Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, visited Cebu with his Vice Presidential candidate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition. With them were Partido Reporma senatorial bets Guillermo Eleazar, Minguita Padilla, and Monsour del Rosario.
The Lacson-Sotto tandem and the Partido Reporma senatorial candidates received a warm welcome from residents in the province.