President Benigno S. Aquino III administered the oath of office to the new
members of the National Executive Board of the Union of Local Authorities of
the Philippines (ULAP) in a simple ceremony held at the President’s Hall of
Malacañang Palace on Thursday.
In his speech, President Aquino reminded
local officials to remain faithful to their mandate of serving the public
with honesty and integrity.
He told the government officials to focus on coming up with long-term
solutions to the problems of their constituents, rather than giving
temporary assistance, citing the practice called KBL or “kasal, binyag,
libing” (wedding, baptism, burial).
“How can we change the system of helping our constituents mostly during
weddings, baptism and burial? I believe that we should not just give them
temporary relief but what is more important is to give them assistance that
will sustain their needs for a long time,” he said.
“As what the elders would say, let us teach our people to fish rather
than have them keep coming back to ask for fish. A complete and
comprehensive solution is the key to the change that we are all hoping for,”
The President cited the strategy used by the late Interior Secretary
Jesse Robredo in solving Naga City’s problem on informal settlers.
He said that aside from giving informal settlers permanent and decent
housing, Robredo also provided them with sustainable livelihood.
“All our sacrifices in serving the public would only be meaningful if
they give rise to significant changes to our countrymen, especially the
needy,” he said.
The President also underscored the importance of a smooth working
relationship between the national and local governments to ensure effective
service to the public.
During the ceremony, ULAP president Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso
“Boy” Umali, Jr. presented the group’s accomplishment report to the
Among the officers who took their oath were Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor,
Sr. as chairman; Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista as executive vice
president; Mayor of Javier, Leyte Sandy Javier Jr. as vice chairman; and
Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Moreno as 1st vice president.
In his opening remarks, Umali pledged the continuous support of the local
government units to the reforms being implemented by the Aquino
He said the Seal of Good Housekeeping has been conferred on 80 percent of
the LGUs, which means that majority of the local offices are “willing and
able to become transparent.”
“We want the reforms which we started together with the national
government to continue. We want performance evaluations, we want open
government, we want convergence with private and civil society groups, and
we want leadership in the national and local levels to work closely in
treading the straight path,” Umali said. PND (jb)