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PIA Press Release

PGMA calls on mayors help get the economy growing

Tacloban City (October 30) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently called on the mayors from all over the country to pitch in, in the efforts to keep the economy growing and to support the national government's fight against poverty.

Speaking before the annual assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines held at the historic Manila Hotel on October 28, the President, was indirectly bidding the mayors to synchronize their programs with the programs of the national government.

The Chief Executive said that with their increased Internal Revenue Allocation, the local government executives can help finance micro-enterprises in their respective localities.

The national government, President Arroyo said, has earmarked P150 billion for microfinance through cooperatives and rural banks. The mayors, she said, should come up with their own program to assist budding entrepreneurs.

Another anti-poverty program that LGUs can support is the conditional cash transfer program, which serves as emergency protection for the poorest of the poor in this time of economic recession.

The President disclosed that the 700,000 families have already been extended assistance under the program. She added that she intended to expand the coverage to one million families at the end of this year.

President Arroyo also lured the local executives "to help over and above the one million" in the DSWD's list of two million families that belong to the most vulnerable sector.

Saying that the they can also assist land reform beneficiaries, the President exhorted the mayors to support "these former tenants, now landowners, to help them make their lands productive through the municipal agriculturists.

LGUs can also make it possible for the poor to avail themselves of basic health services by paying their Philhealth premiums, President Arroyo said.

The President explained that because it has increased revenue collection through the expanded value added tax law, the national government is able to shoulder the health premiums payment. It's high time that the LGUs took the responsibility. After all, she said, the Philhealth law obliges them to do so.

"I am thankful that a great many mayors have always been by my side and together, we have been seeking ways to improve governance and the delivery of basic social services to the people," President Arroyo said as she noted that local governance has improved tremendously in her eight-and-a-half year presidency.

The President cited the League saying, "the most important, most impressive accomplishment is the LMP transformation of LMP from a social club for politicians to a group devoted to good governance."

The President expressed hope that the LMP "go forward as a stronger, more confident and more effective organization."

The hardworking President concluded stressing the need for teamwork and unity among all sectors.

"Through government support at all levels and the hardwork of our people, we will not be deterred by any calamity, man-made or natural, in our efforts to get the economy growing," the President said. (PIA 8) [top]

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