Rep. LRay Villafuerte

Solon lauds 1st set of Cabinet appointments

May 16, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 123 views

CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has lauded the initial set of Cabinet appointments of presumptive President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the Departments of Education (DepEd) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as the harbinger of the premium that the next Administration will give to the wealth of wisdom that local governance can offer in national policy making.

Vic Rodriguez, BBM’s spokesman and Chief of Staff, revealed last week that incoming Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the outgoing mayor of Davao City, will get the DepEd portfolio, while former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman and ex-Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos will be appointed DILG Secretary.

“The appointments of Vice President Sara, who is former Davao City mayor, and Benhur Abalos, a former mayor of Mandaluyong City and ex-MMDA chairman, to prime Cabinet posts underscore the premium that the incoming BBM administration will give to the wealth of wisdom that local governance can offer in national policy making,” Villafuerte said.

“The incoming Administration’s early appointments mark a radical departure from the Palace predilection in the past for mostly picking people from Metro Manila to help Presidents run their respective governments,” Villafuerte said. “This refreshing tack is a resounding recognition by BBM of the primacy of selecting Cabinet appointees from among those who have had sterling track records in appreciating grassroots concerns and making decisive decisions to address them at the local level.”

“In keeping with BBM’s campaign pledge for all Filipinos to rise up with him, the selection of Cabinet appointees from among the ranks of incumbent or erstwhile LGU executives who have their ears to the ground will enable the new Administration to touch off a rising tide that would lift all boats,” he said. “For genuine inclusive growth to happen, pro-poor and pro-development policies will have to start from the ground up—instead of the reverse by way of the President’s alter egos who are steeped in grassroots-based policymaking and governance.”

A former local elective official himself, Villafuerte expressed confidence that the assumption by local chief executives of key posts in the would-be Marcos Jr. presidency “bodes well for the continued devolution and decentralization of basic services to the local government units (LGUs) under the next Administration.”

“I hope that this will signal the start of further decentralization not only of services, but also of the distribution of fiscal resources to finally free LGUs from the clutches of imperial Manila,” said Villafuerte, a former three-term CamSur governor who has long championed local autonomy.

Villafuerte expressed the hope that more incumbent or former LGU executives would be given key positions in the incoming Marcos administration.

Before the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that increased the share of LGUs in the proceeds from national tax collections, Villafuerte had pushed the approval of his bill—(House Bill No. 1247)—that aims to increase this allocation from 40 to 60 percent over a three-year period.

Earlier, Villafuerte expressed his full support for House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives in the incoming 19th Congress.

Villafuerte is NUP vice president for political affairs. By RYAN PONCE PACPACO