FORMER Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano underscored the need for regional planning and development to be in the hands of local government units especially since the entire country is rich in resources and the national budget is readily available to them.
In an interview, Cayetano said it is better if every region, at the regional and provincial level, did the planning for themselves.
He 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.
The solon added that 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,” he also said.
Cayetano cited the 2019 SEA Games 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.
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.