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Mayors should spur devt, local govt secretary says

TACLOBAN CITY—Newly-confirmed Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said city and municipal mayors should become development and economic managers who shall steer their respective localities towards inclusive growth and development.

“The job description of the mayors should now be changed,” said Sarmiento.

Sarmiento added he would direct the Local Government Academy  to come up with a training course for new local officials focused on enhancing the skills of the mayor to become facilitators of economic growth and development.

LGA, an attached agency of the DILG, is the Department’s training arm for local government officials and functionaries.

He said invited resource persons should be those who can inspire. “The best teacher to a mayor is a fellow mayor, and the best teacher to a governor is a fellow governor,” he stressed.

A mayor, Sarmiento added, should be able to come up with a strategic plan involving all stakeholders; this will be the blueprint for the development of the local government unit for the succeeding years.      

The strategic plan is not a mayor’s plan, he said, adding that it has to reflect the aspirations and needs of the people.

“The basic question of a mayor should be: What do we want our city to be in x number of years?” It has to be a shared vision and a shared mission. Then work on that plan, come up with metrics so we can measure if we are meeting our development targets every three years or so,”   he stressed.

He recounted the time when he visited Paramatta City, a suburb and major business district in Australia, in 2003 where the planning council is already anticipating traffic problems and solutions after 50 years.

“We can also do that. This is the challenge to every local government unit. The strategic plan should also be aligned with the national thrust. In nation building, we should move together,” he said.

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