South Cotabato guv elected LPP president

By Ali G. Macabalang

NEW LPP OFFICERS: Oath-taking of new LPP elected officers for 2022-2025. (Online photo)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Central Mindanao (Region 12) has for the first time prevailed in the country’s political map, with the election of South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo Jr. as national president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP).

Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo Jr. (Online photo)

Gov. Tamayo also gained the honor of being unanimously nominated and elected during the LPP’s general assembly and election of officers on July 28 at the historic Manila Hotel.

LPP, known also as the Governors’ League, is an organization of all the country’s 81 elected provincial governors. It was conceived in 1957 and expanded in 1986 to advance strides for decentralization in the Metro Manila-dominated political reign and foster more meaningful local autonomy.

Other elected LPP officers include Quirino’s Dakila Carlo Cua, national chairman; Tarlac’s Susan Yap, executive vice president; Bataan’s Jose Enrique Garcia III, VP for North Luzon, Priental Mindoro’s Humerlito Dolor, VP for South Luzon; Aklan’s Jose Enrique Miraflores, VP for Visayas, Lanao del Norte’s Imelda Dimaporo, VP for Mindanao; and Camiguin’s Xavier Jesus Romualdo, secretary-general.

Elected regional chairpersons and board members at large were: Melchor Diclas (CAR); Jeremias Singson (Region 1); Dakila Carlo Cua (Region 2); Susan Yap (Region 3); Hermilando Mandanas (CALABARZON); Presbitero Velasco Jr. (MIMAROPA); Ricarte Padilla (Region 5); Jose Enrique Miraflores (Region 6) Pryde Henry Teves (Region 7); Damian Mercado (Region 8); Ann K. Hofer (Region 9); Imelda Dimaporo (Region 10); Edwin Jubahib (Region 11); Tamayo (Region 12);Nilo Demerey Jr. (Caraga); Yshmael Sali (BARMM); and Jose Enrique Garcia, Humerlito Dolor, Erico Aristotle Aumentado, and Xavier Jesus Romualdo (at large).

The feat of Tamayo has drawn greetings across the nation, more profusely in Mindanao. He is the second governor from Mindanao elected as LPP president. The first was then Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario.

Tamayo’s Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) was President Ferdinand Marcos’ political vehicle in the 2022 elections.

In his acceptance message, Gov. Tamayo vowed for a more vibrant LPP, where all provinces will have an opportunity to showcase and share its best practices in local governance especially in the advent of modern technologies.

 “There are now greater expectations on governance and from its leaders, in light of the rapid advances in technology and information that has hastened globalization and figuratively made this world smaller, with (LGUs) linked together in real time. Technology has literally bridged the gap between time and distance. It is necessary for us to be able to harness it if we are to achieve our development aspirations, not in a silo, but together with the rest of the world,” Gov. Tamayo was quoted as saying.

He said the LPP will fully support the development agenda of the new administration, wishing that the national government would continue to support the strengthening of local autonomy, especially in the full implementation of the Supreme Court ruling in the petitions of Mandanas vs. Ochoa and Garcia vs. Ochoa in 2019 granting LGUs a 40% share in all national tax collections, and not just in the internal revenue collections.

For his part, national chairman Cua assured further strides in strengthening LGU data systems, more particularly at the provincial levels, and pushing for more responsive data analytics to assist and guide LGUs toward more efficient and evidence-based planning.

Both Cua and Tamayo vowed for the LPP to closely work with both the executive department and the 19th Congress toward strengthening and fine-tuning national policies responsive to the development needs of the communities and constituencies, while ensuring the integrity of the physical environment amidst the greater challenges brought about by climate change.

LPP History

In the early 1950s, appointed presidential representatives to city and provincial governments had formed themselves into an organization to push for reforms and lobby for the passage of the proposed Local Autonomy Bill.

Subsequently, the Local Autonomy Bill of 1957 was passed and paved for the election of local government officials who organized themselves into a league. With the passage of the Barrio Charter recognizing the barrio as a unit of local government, the organization of local government officials expanded.

The organization campaigned for real power and authority, and for material resources needed to govern and deliver services. The organization then participated in the determination of internal revenue allotment (IRA).

With the issuance of Presidential Decree 144 in 1973, the participation of local government officials in IRA decisions ceased. The Ministry of the Budget was given the sole power to set the level of national support to LGUs.

“This situation was further undermined by centralist policies issued between 1972 and 1986. More than 500 decrees, letters of instruction, orders, executive directives and memoranda affecting LGUs were issued by President Marcos. One granted the President power to appoint local government officials and extend their terms of office indefinitely,” an LPP narrative said.

Eventually, President Marcos reorganized the league of local government officials to support his rule. Along with the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Punong Bayan sa Pilipinas (1976), the League of Governors was formally formed.

Following the EDSA uprising, the League was revitalized through the issuance of EO No. 262 by President Aquino. The directive provided for the creation of separate leagues – the League of Provinces, League of Municipalities and League of Cities.

After the ratification of 1987 Philippine Constitution, the League was formally established with the adoption of its charter on 25 May 1988.

When the Congress was inaugurated, the period saw the active participation of the League in drafting a new local government code. On 10 October 1991, the new Local Government Code was signed into law.

The Code recognized and institutionalized the League of Provinces of the Philippines as a forum to articulate issues affecting the provinces, and to provide and propose solutions to these concerns.

Since then, the League has consistently demonstrated its vision and mission to promote autonomy, and sternly lobbied against all proposed bills which undermine decentralization efforts. Most recent of which was the collective action by the League against the congressional decision to cut the IRA.

The LPP nowadays has become an effective forum of interventions and a rich source of materials for progressive policies and programs for the national government and its members.

Past LPP presidents

Tamayo succeeded Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. in the LPP presidency.

The LPP past presidents were: Gov. Velasco (2019-2022); Gov. Ryan Luis V. Singson (2016-2019); Gov. Alfonso V. Umali Jr. (2010-2016); Gov. Loreto S. Ocampos (2007-2010); Gov. Erico B. Aumentado (2004-2007); Gov. Rodolfo P. Del Rosario (2001-2004); Gov. Hilario L. De Perdo (interim, January-July 2001); Gov. Jose D. Lina Jr. (1998-Jan. 2001); Gov. Roberto M. Pagdanganan (1990-1998); and Gov. Luis R. Villafuerte (1988-1990).

Who is Tamayo?

Tamayo won his first gubernatorial election bid in the May 9, 2022 polls in a fresh mandate bolstered by his choice as LPP president, making him the first from Central Mindanao (Region 12) and second from Mindanao.    

After winning the gubernatorial race in 2019, Tamayo was elected president of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), a young political vehicle that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rode for his 2022 presidential campaign. He was reelected to the same PFP top post in a convention in 2021, during which the party nominated Marcos Jr. as its presidential bet.

From 2010 to 2019, Tamayo was mayor of the South Cotabato municipality of Tupi, known as the “fruit and vegetable basket of the south.”

Tamayo delivered a massive upset in the 2019 gubernatorial race when he defeated political veteran Daisy Avance-Fuentes, who sought reelection under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago and then-ruling party PDP-Laban, by a margin of around 26,000 votes. Fuentes was elected governor for 15 non-consecutive years, and had served in Congress for 12 non-consecutive years, before losing in the 2019 midterm

In his 2019 inaugural speech, Tamayo vowed to put an end to alleged “rotten practices” in South Cotabato, notably in the utilization of funds for infrastructure and disaster management, according to a MindaNews report.

Last June, Gov. Tamayo he vetoed a provincial board ordinance that lifted the ban on open-pit mining, amid protests from various sectors in South Cotabato.

Tamayo’s father is Reynaldo Sr., the first nominee of agriculture-oriented party-list group Angat, which won a seat in the 19th Congress.

The older Tamayo was a former regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways implicated in the multi-billion-peso road right-of-way scam in General Santos City. He has denied accusations against him.

In a 2019 report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the younger Tamayo said the public works controversy that hounded his father motivated him to run for higher office.

“I wanted to clean the name of my family and prove that those accusations were not true. I think I was successful with that,” the PNA quoted him as saying. (AGM)

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