Saturday, January 2, 2016

Senatoriable Francis Tolentino Focuses on Increased Local Government Empowerment

In an interview a few weeks ago, independent senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino laid his platforms highlighting his intentions to empower local government units in the Philippines.
Senatoriable Francis Tolentino
Senatoriable Francis Tolentino
Revised Local Government Code

Best known as the former chairperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Atty. Francis Tolentino has had an extensive experience in dealing with different local government units especially those from Metro Manila. This is aside from being a miulti-term Mayor of Tagaytay City, Cavite, some years ago (which not most people know), gave him the desire to improve the Philippines as a country form the grassroots level.

When asked how he intends to accomplish this, he enumerated a number of action points and proposed amendments to the Local Government including the following:
  • Increase the allocation of Internal Revenue Allotment based on performance and its automatic release to local government units (LGUs)
  • Create a Police Youth Reserve Corps to help in peace and order and disaster response
  • Establish and support community colleges supported by the national government offering courses attuned to the needs of communities where they are located and subsidies for the National Government
  • Establish community airports in support of tourism 
  • Create a Philippine Urban Development Commission that will work closely  with LGUs to promote the concept of planned cities that will prevent the problems experienced in Metropolitan Manila from happening elsewhere such as Metro Cebu and Metro Davao
  • Reiterating focus on local government units, Tolentino intends to accomplish this through establishment of regional clusters that will work from the grassroots level with the objective of increased economic for each of their locality.
Francis M. Tolentino
Francis M. Tolentino
Beyond Traffic

It is no secret that many, specifically motorists along EDSA highway, were not happy on how he handled the traffic situation of Metro Manila during his recent term as MMDA chair.

During the press conference, senatorial Francis Tolentino justified, contrary to popular belief, that MMDA’s mandate goes beyond traffic management in the metro. He added that general public safety, metropolitan health, and special development projects such as the recent APEC Summit were also under his department.

Modesty aside”, Tolentino bragged on his accomplishments as MMDA chair including
  • The first Metro Manila Integrated Bus Terminal - Southwest Integrated Provincial Transport Terminal (SWIPTT)
  • Initiating the Metro Manila Outdoor Media Magna Carta along with various advertising groups, setting the terms for regulating outdoor advertisements 
  • Relaunching the Pasig River Ferry System
  • Implementing the MMDA’s first social media application - the Traffic Monitoring System app (add to that the MMDA Twitter page)
  • The recent Metro Manila Shake Drill with over 6.5M participants, 1.5M volunteers in preparation for a magnitude 7.2 earthquake
Additional Platforms

Aside from increased focus on the local governments units, senatoriable Francis Tolentino adds that increased disaster preparedness (and speedy rehabilitation) are needed for greater resiliency during disasters as a result of climate change via allocated funds to a Community Rehabilitation/Recovery Trust Fund for LGUs.

Moreover, he wants increased protection of the natural environment including the practice of responsible mining coupled with assured revenues for host communities to be used for community development projects and "tax holidays be given to environment-friendly companies and enterprises as incentives".

In addition, care for children, women in the labor force, and better education are also among his core advocacies.
Good News Manila
FT with Good News Manila
Francis Tolentino for Senator
Press Conference with Online Media
In closing, Tolentino admits that the Metro Manila traddic problem is far from resolved. He tried to justify that the Metro Manila traffic problem cannot be resolved by just one man or one government agency.

He enjoins that "change” starts with each and every citizen the moment he obeys (or violates) a traffic rule / law. He also emphasised that MMDA needs more “power” in implementation which is currently limited due to shared authority with that of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).

What can you say about Francis Tolentino's platforms in his bid as a Philippine senator? Will you vote for him this coming Philippine Elections 2016?