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PIA Press Release

PGMA urges vice mayors to work closely with national government to soften impact of crisis

Cagayan De Oro City (27 February) -- Citing the critical role local officials play in building up the economy, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged the country's vice mayors to work hand-in-hand with the national government to soften the impact of the global crisis on the Philippines.

Addressing the 18th National Convention of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines held at the Pryce Plaza Hotel in Cagayan De Oro, the President said that while the country has been able to weather the global financial turmoil thus far, "it is not the time for laying back but rather to step up to the challenge and work hard to ensure the nationís bright economic future.

"Let us work together to ensure that our nation's finite though larger resources are able to meet the objective of improving the lives of the people of your constituencies and the entire Philippines, " the President said.

Pointing out that success can only be achieved through real team effort, the Chief Executive said that the national government will always do its part in protecting the interests of the people especially during these trying economic times, while relying on the local governments to step up and seize the opportunities that her administration has created.

"Working together, we have created a better deal, if you will, than many countries in the region, which have not yet devolved power to the local governments," she said.

Likewise, the President asked the vice mayors to continue investing more of their municipal revenues in the future of local government units (LGUs).

"The sum total of all that is the nation's future," she said.

The President said the various programs of the government have successfully bore fruit through the support of the local officials.

"The local governments have helped build our economy's reputation as 'an island of stability' in an otherwise stormy global sea of economic troubles. You have played a crucial part in the country's impressive growth," she said.

The President also urged the local officials to spend their internal revenue allotment (IRA) wisely.

At present, she said, the local governments are enjoying the biggest increase of their IRA -- P40-billion in all, owing to the three-year lag in the computation of the LGUs' share of the Expanded Valued Added Tax (VAT) from 2006.

"The IRA is your primary tool to serve your constituencies. Used it correctly, it will go a long way towards ensuring that our people will get the kind of local government they want," she said.

The President thanked the local government officials for their full support for her administration, saying "your commitment to the economy of your constituencies and to the economy of the Philippines... will continue to pay dividends for many years to come." (PIA) [top]

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