City mayors expressed their gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte following the latter’s announcement that he is exploring options for local governments to immediately avail their share of the national revenue as ruled by the Supreme Court in the petition filed by Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas.

The president was the guest of honor at the 69th National Executive Board Meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) which was held at the Dusit Hotel in Davao City on Sept. 27.

Speaking before local chief executives from across the country, the President stressed that while the timing of the SC decision is not perfect due to major programs already being financed by the national government, his administration will find a way to implement the SC decision that will expand the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government unit (LGUs) as early as possible.

One of the options proposed by city mayors that the President is considering is a monetization scheme wherein LGUs can acquire a loan from the bank according to their expanded IRAs which the national government can then pay on a later date.

For Bacolod City Mayor and LCP President Evelio “Bing”Leonardia, the President’s statement offers a glimmer of hope for LGUs.

“President Duterte’s remarks only show that he understands and hears the requests of local governments especially us city mayors since he is a former mayor himself. We can finally look forward to receiving what is owed to our cities and, ultimately, to our constituents not in 2022, but as soon as possible,” said Leonardia.

Duterte also discussed other pressing issues of concern to local governments including peace and order, counterinsurgency, and anti-corruption.

The chief executive extended an invitation to Mayor Leonardia to attend a high-level exploratory meeting in Malacañang this October that will discuss a win-win solution for both the national government and LGUs.

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