Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. urged local government units (LGUs) to develop and carry out transformative programs to ease the economic burden of their constituents due to the surging oil and commodity prices.
“With the recent spike in prices of commodities and the aftermath of surging inflation, LGUs must gear towards transformative programs that will cushion the economic challenges felt mainly by the poorest of the poor of our constituents,” Abalos said during the R’Cebu 2022 event late last week at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu in Cebu City.
Abalos added that transformative programs are what the country needs to sustain the recovery from the devastating socio-economic impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us confront these economic hurdles by coming up with innovations such as R’Cebu 2022 that will ultimately benefit the people we serve,” he added.
Abalos said transformative initiatives such as the R’Cebu Program will help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from economic challenges while raising awareness about the tourism sites and destinations of the Province and thereby attracting more visitors.
R’Cebu program is a collaboration project of the Gokongwei group’s Robinsons Galleria Cebu and the Cebu Provincial Government to support the local cottage industries particularly the farmers, fishermen, artisans, as well as MSMEs owners showcasing unique and diverse products, offerings, and services, various delicacies, and top tourist spots of respective municipalities and barangays in the Province of Cebu.
“Ngayong patuloy ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, malaking tulong para sa ating mga kababayan ang programang ito. Karamihan sa ating mga nasasakupan ngayon ay naghihikahos na dahil sa nagmamahal na presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin,” Abalos said
He added transformative programs are what the country needs to sustain the recovery from the devastating socio-economic impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Isa po iyan sa mga tututukan ng ating pamahalaan sa mga darating na araw, kaya inaasahan ko po ang inyong suporta at pakikiisa upang ating maibsan ang paghihirap ng ating mga mamamayan,” he said.
The DILG Chief likewise lauded the brains behind the said innovative partnership between the LGUs and the private sector saying that “This is yet another resounding proof of the great things that we can accomplish when all of us—the government, private sector, and other stakeholders—work in unison.”
“I commend the Provincial Government of Cebu led by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, our LCEs, and the Robinsons Galleria Cebu for coming up with this program that supports the local cottage industries,” Abalos said.
Meanwhile, the DILG Secretary said the fight against the resurfacing COVID-19 infections will remain a priority of the DILG as the number of cases begins to rise again. “I urge our LCEs, not only here in Cebu but in the entire country, to come up with out-of-box programs that would help increase our vaccination rate and encourage qualified individuals to get their booster shots,” he said.
He likewise reminded LGUs to strictly enforce the minimum health standards such as wearing face masks in public places, frequent washing of hands, and observing physical distance to ensure the protection of their constituents.
Abalos said the fight against COVID-19 will remain a priority of the DILG as the number of cases begins to rise again.
“We should not let our guards down because we have an unusual rival here which is the coronavirus disease. Let us remember that our every action has a consequence that not only affects us and our families but the whole country as well,” he said.
As the Department of Education (DepEd) gears up for the opening of face-to-face classes this August, Abalos likewise said the welfare and safety of the Filipino children should be the top priority, “We must ensure that schools in our areas comply with the government’s health safety standards and COVID-19 prevention mechanisms.”
Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte earlier announced through DepEd Order 34, s. 2022 that all public and private schools nationwide must transition to five days of face-to-face classes starting November 2.
“I know the road to recovery remains an arduous task. But I am confident that with the cooperation and partnership of our LGUs and national government, we would be able to hurdle this season of hardship and emerge victorious as one Filipino nation,” Abalos said.