FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has expressed belief that regional planning and development should be placed in the hands of local government units (LGUs), especially since the entire country is rich in resources and the national budget is readily available to them.
“Hindi ba mas maganda kung ang bawat region, sa regional at provincial level, sila na nagpa-plano?” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said despite having an additional P500 billion to the national budget for the planning and bidding of programs, these funds are not being integrated into programs that can benefit vital aspects of daily life such as roads, education, agriculture and healthcare.
He said it would be beneficial for the country if local governments were able to plan projects and bid them out as part of their administrative and financial responsibilities. This system, he said, is also known as “economic federalism.”
“Tutal mayroon na naman silang Regional Development Council with the governors, congressmen, and mayors, at diyan na rin bini-bid,” Cayetano said.
He cited the 2019 South East Asian Games (SEAG) as an example, during which many developments were seen in Clark, Pampanga.
Not only was the international airport improved but the central business district bloomed.
This raised the number of jobs in the area and encouraged local work rather than moving all the way to the city.
“I think together with having more funds outside Metro Manila, kasama din diyan y’ung power to plan, to implement, including the bidding, will be beneficial,” Cayetano said.
The benefits of decentralizing spending responsibilities to a regional level are that plans can be better followed, progress will be monitored by local media and in case there are problems, there is better contact and communication.