PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo yesterday gave the assurance that her administration will ensure a smooth transition of power when her term ends this June.

Speaking before the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) 2010 End-Term National Assembly at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), Arroyo said that the people come first, and their accomplishments to date will be passed on to new leaders for them to continue the forward march to progress.

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“To that end, let us do everything. We will do everything to make sure the new president and his team hit the ground running when they assume office,” Arroyo said.

She added that there is no more important legacy than seeing the nation with a free and fair election and a smooth transition to a new government.

“Our people deserve to have confidence that their vote counts and our democracy works. To protect the integrity of the votes and the election results, we encourage and welcome independent outside election observers to verify that the elections are, in fact, free, fair and open, and the results valid-–free from any political interference,”

Arroyo said.

She said that here in Cebu, there is a “great, credible election watchdog, the Cebu-Citizens’ Involvement and Maturation in people’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-Cimpel).”

Arroyo said she encourages the creation of such groups all over the country.

“For myself, I will be staying out of the election process. I will trust the Comelec to ensure the new voting machines work, the votes are protected and counted, and the results are delivered in a good manner to the satisfaction of voters,” Arroyo said. She is running for a congressional seat in her home province, Pampanga.

In the meantime, Arroyo said her administration will focus on completing projects, such as railways and other infrastructure, and programs in education, health care, job creation, economic stability and climate change.

“This election is important for the next generation. The new government must continue to build infrastructure and promote areas of investments that create jobs and ensure a climate change adaptation technology, and improve the education system,” Arroyo said.

She called on all councilors in the country to unite and work together in nation-building.

“With your support, we leave the nation in better shape. And with all your support through the years, I sincerely say ‘thank you’,” Arroyo told the councilors.

Meanwhile, two candidates for senator promised to legislate bills that will benefit local governments.

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who is seeking reelection, hopes to pass a law on the creation of local water utilities that will provide clean water to areas that need it.

While aspiring senator Ramon Guico Jr., the national president of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines, said he hopes to increase the Internal Revenue Allotment share of smaller municipalities to help them develop.

Guico, a mayor of Binalonan, Pangasinan, said fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities continue to lament the lack of development in their areas due to their small IRA.

Meanwhile, Revilla, who is topping the national surveys, said the key to his popularity is his service and track record.

Revilla said as chairman of the Senate committees on public works and public service, he has authored more than 450 bills and has shepherded 103 bills into law.