In an effort to address the metro’s worsening traffic congestion and to achieve inclusive growth throughout the country, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano are pushing for the decentralization of government power to spur development in the countryside.
“For the longest time, the drive for development is mainly focused on the National Capital Region (NCR), while the other regions are left to tend for themselves. This is not only unsustainable, it’s also inequitable. It’s time to think out of the box and overhaul this unequal development paradigm,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said the country’s NCR-centric economic growth also contributed to the worsening traffic situation.
“NCR is perceived by many as the only place where there are real economic opportunities. Thus, people unnecesarily flock to the region creating problems such as traffic, unemplyoment and housing woes. But if development is spread evenly to the regions, we can solve these problems ,” Cayetano explained.
Cayetano noted that his call for Decentralization is perfectly aligned with Duterte’s advocacy for federalism.
“This is one of the reasons why there is a strong clamor for a Duterte presidency. The mayor not only symbolizes order, he also stands for the empowerment of regions which have long been neglected by the national government,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said decentralization will change how the budget is allocated across the country’s 18 regions and 81 provinces. He pushed to allocate 1 billion per region to institutionalize a capital-lending scheme for local Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The senator also called for the creation of a Philippine Decentralization Committee (PDC) that will be tasked to enhance the delivery of services in the countryside as well as to study the relocation of several government agencies to different parts of the country. This may in turn provide better opportunities for Filipinos to work and live in other regions, Cayetano noted.
“This is the real change that we speak of – a change that moves people because of opportunities made possible by a strong brand of leadership,” he said. “We need to create alternative corridors of development outside NCR. This will not only decongest the already overcrowded capital but will also extend growth throughout the rest of the country. This is the foundation of the proposals that Mayor Duterte and I have long been advocating,” he added. /Office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano