DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.
DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

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

“Dapat palitan na ang job description ng mayor na maging isang development and economic manager,” said Sarmiento during an exclusive interview with ANC recently.

He said he will direct the Local Government Academy (LGA) 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.

As a development-oriented manager, the mayor, he said, should be able to come up with a strategic plan with the involvement of all stakeholders which will be the blueprint for the development of the local government unit (LGU) for the succeeding years.

The strategic plan, he said, has to reflect the aspirations and needs of the people, and is not a mayor’s plan, which might be discontinued after the expiration of the term of the mayor.

“Ang basic na tanong ng mayor: what do we want our city to become in x number of years? So it has to be a shared vision, a shared mission. Then work on that plan, come up with metrics para mameasure naman natin 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.

“Kaya din nating gawin yun. Yan ang challenge sa bawat local government. May strategic plan na tugma rin sa national thrust. Kasi hindi naman pupwede si presidente abante nga, si governor will turn left, the mayor will turn right and the baranggay captain says “Atras tayo”. So, in nation building, dapat magkasama tayo, dapat magkasabay-sabay,” he said. ###