LGUs vow to accelerate MDGs in Region I
Responding to President Benigno C. Aquino’s priority policy thrust to meet the country’s Millenium Development Goal (MDG) commitments by 2015, the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) recently launched here in Alaminos City a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) partnership for the Ilocos Region.
Guided by the theme “Localizing the MDGs: Making it Work Where it Matters”, the project aims to enhance and accelerate MDG localization in Region I by aligning and harmonizing regional and local government plans, programs, targets and budgets to national MDG targets particularly around poverty alleviation, primary education, improving infant and maternal health and environment sustainability.
The MDGs, a set of time-bound goals that United Nation (UN) member-countries committed to pursue to promote sustainable human development, are still at risk of not being met by the 2015 deadline.
Using a local government cluster approach, the eight cities of Region 1 and their neighboring municipalities shall work together to implement localized MDG breakthrough plans maximizing the role of the cities as drivers of equitable growth and sustainable development.
Present during the program launch were Alaminos City Mayor Hernani A. Braganza, Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio E. Perez IV, representatives of other cities in region I and La Liga Policy Institute Managing Director Roland Cabigas.
Highlighting the event was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the member cities of LCP region I.
Under the partnership agreement, they vowed to translate national MDG commitments into LGU plans, programs, targets and budgets.
“The project is anchored on the eight cities in the region as drivers of equitable growth and sustainable development. It seeks to build on the capacity of local governments to deliver on MDG commitments by bringing together LGUs, RLAs, national and local NGOs in a participatory and consultative partnership arrangement around translating national MDG commitments into local policies, plans, programs, targets and budget,” explains Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga explained.
The objective of the project, he said, aims to hasten MDG localization in time for the 2015 deadline covering the 8 cities of Region 1 and their neighboring municipalities by enabling LGUs and their citizens to achieve locally-defined MDG objectives and forging regional level support and cooperation serving as concrete contributions of R1 to the national MDG breakthrough plan, and more importantly to the achievement of the MDG commitments.
Braganza, in his message during the forum, stressed the need of cities to work in harmony and step up in its efforts to meet the MDG targets by 2015.
He said that during the workshop of the EU-funded project Cementing Pathways to Financing the MDGs (MDG Pathways) in December 2010 the cluster approach like the One Pangasinan Alliance of LGUs (OPAL) will work as a development agenda, particularly in ensuring the delivery of basic services at the local level.
The concurrent LCP Secretary General also stated that with shared vision, shared needs and shared resources, the first district of Pangasinan is better able to respond to challenges ahead, particularly those of the MDGs.
Dubbed MDG Acceleration, the initiative will be jointly led by the LCP, the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region I and the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga).
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I Director and RDC Vice Chairman Leonardo N. Quitos, hailed efforts of localizing the MDGs using the cluster approach as advocated by the One Pangasinan Alliance (OPAL). Speaking in the MDG Pathways workshop last December, Quitos stated that the MDG Pathways project implemented by La Liga in Western Pangasinan is a creative avenue of localizing MDGs to help in accelerating the achievement of the country’s MDG commitments.
“MDGs are local concerns—you cannot divorce issues on health, education and environment from poverty reduction,” he stressed. The project, he said, targets municipalities as front liners in providing basic services which address Millennium Development Goals.
According to Quitos, the RDC is in a better position to support MDG acceleration at the local level using the cities as centers of development since the agency’s mandate does not go beyond provinces and cities.
This project shall be implemented in partnership with Region I MDG champions; particularly, the Regional Development Council through NEDA and Region I Offices of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepED), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), non-government and citizens’ organizations.
Last December, officials led by Ilocos Region directors Manuel V. Biason of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Leonardo N. Quitos Jr. of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and Leonardo C. Reynoso of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) together with Cesar Manuel A. Cabansag, chief planning and management development office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Region I and Dr. Edwin V. Monis, OIC-Local Health Support Division – Region I, made their commitment during a three-day MDG localizati