LCP National Board Meeting in Davao from left: LCP VP for Mindanao Mayor Sammy Ko, Senator Bong Go, LCP National President Evelio “Bing” Leonardia, President Rodrigo Duterte, LCP National Chairman Mayor Edgardo Labella, and LCP National Vice Chairman Rommel Rivera.

DAVAO CITY: City mayors thanked President Rodrigo Duterte after he announced that he is exploring options for local governments to immediately avail themselves of their share in the national revenue allotment as the Supreme Court ruled on the petition filed by Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas.

Duterte’s statement was met with a resounding applause by city mayors who invited the President as their 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 September 27.

In his speech, the President stressed that while the timing of the SC decision is not perfect due to major programs the national government is already financing, his administration will find a way to implement the SC decision that will expand the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of LGUs as early as possible.

One of the options the mayors proposed 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 at a later date.

Bacolod City Mayor and LCP president Evelio “Bing” Leonardia, said 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,” he said.

During the closed-door meeting, the President also discussed other pressing issues to local governments including peace and order, counterinsurgency, and anti-corruption.

The President also invited Leonardia to attend a high-level exploratory meeting in Malacañang this month that will discuss a win-win solution for both the national government and LGUs.