FOR the first time in the 31-year history of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), a mayor of Bacolod City was elected as its national president during the league’s 68th General Assembly and Election of its National Executive Board at the EDSA Shangri-La in Manila Friday, July 19.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia was elected national president of the LCP for 2019-2022 together with other city mayors including Edgardo Labella of Cebu City as national chairman; Ronnel Rivera of General Santos City as national vice-chairman; Joy Belmonte-Alimunung of Quezon City as executive VP; and Arnan Panaligan of Calapan City as secretary-general.
LCP is a formal organization of all 145 cities in the country. Some 40 million people, or half of the country’s population, live in these cities.
On the regional level, three other city mayors from Negros Occidental were elected to the National Executive Board.
They are Mark Andrew Golez of Silay City as regional representative for Western Visayas, Nicholas Yulo of Bago City as deputy secretary-general for Visayas, and Francis Frederick Palanca of Victorias City as deputy PRO for Visayas.
Leonardia and the rest of the newly elected LCP officials immediately took their oath of office before Senator Francis Tolentino, who was also a former national president of the LCP when he was city mayor of Tagaytay.
Leonardia has consistently been elected to the LCP National Executive Board throughout his six terms as city mayor.
He was elected deputy secretary-general for the Visayas in 2016, executive vice president in 2010, vice chairman in 2007, deputy secretary-general for the Visayas in 2004, and vice president for the Visayas in 1995.
“I am humbled by the trust given to me by my fellow city mayors,” Leonardia said, adding that to be the national president of the LCP is a great challenge because it imposes upon that person the responsibility to help local government units (LGUs) become more innovative and effective in their public service through networking programs among themselves and with other government agencies, locally and internationally.
It is also the responsibility of the league’s president to lobby with Congress or the Office of the President for additional resources to bridge the gap between what LGUs need and what resources and capabilities they presently have under the law.
Governance is a dynamic thing and we always need new and fresh ideas on how we can improve our delivery of public services to our people, he added.
Leonardia succeeded Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan as national president, who turned over the LCP flag to him at rites during the assembly.
The LCP’s creation is mandated by Section 499 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, for the primary purpose of ventilating, articulating, and crystalizing issues affecting city government administration, and securing solutions through proper and legal means. (PR)