Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia, national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, congratulated city mayors and other members of the League for having survived the year 2020.
This was during a recent virtual expanded meeting of the National Executive Board (NEB) of the LCP attended by a total of 112 city mayors and their representatives, including 34 NEB officials, out of the 146 cities in the country.
Leonardia said the NEB meeting has been “long awaited”, considering the postponements due to the Taal Volcano eruption in January, the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, and the consequent imposition of community quarantines and travel ban measures later.
“And as if these were not enough, a series of typhoons came in between to batter Luzon and Metro Manila. For sure, for most of us – if not all – this has been our most challenging time as city mayors,” Leonardia said.
“All of us have not gone through something like this ever,” he added. “It has been noted that the last pandemic (of flu) occurred 100 years ago. It seems we were fated to be in charge of our cities at this time when this new and historic pandemic broke out. But all the challenges that we have faced in battling this COVID crisis made us stronger, wiser, and more innovative in our public service, especially in balancing lives and livelihoods,” Leonardia told his fellow mayors.
The LCP meeting tackled pressing issues confronting cities in the country, and matters regarding benefits under the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act”.
It was also a venue for a dialog between national government agencies and cities stricken by a series of typhoons, on top of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Also discussed were ways on how cities can find the funds to purchase additional Covid vaccines to supplement whatever will be provided by the Department of Health once these are made available.
The LCP NEB also ratified the creation of the Special Committee on Coordinated Typhoon Response, spearheaded by LCP Secretary General and Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan.
Also taken up was the resignation of Shereen Gail Yu-Pamintuan as LCP executive director and the appointment of deputy executive director Veronica Hitosis to replace her.
The participants included Secretary Wendel Avisado of the Department of Budget and Management, Undersecretary Antonette Tionko of the Department of Finance, Undersecretary Marivel Sacendoncillo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Undersecretary Herman Jumilla of the DBM, Landbank of the Philippines First Vice President Emelie Tamayo, and Bureau of Local Government Finance executive director Niño Alvina.*