Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the synergy between the national and local governments have never been stronger and more dynamic than now.
In a pre-recorded message to the League of Provinces of the Philippines, on the occasion of its virtual 5th General Assembly and Christmas gathering last December 18, Pres. Rodrigo Roa-Duterte recognized the efforts of all 81 governors to respond to the health crisis.
“In the past nine months, your cooperation with the national government has been indispensable in minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, within and between your respective provinces,” the President commended.
In turn, LPP national president, Gov. Presbitero J. Velasco assured that all 81 governors are committed to steer their respective provinces through this unprecedented crisis.
“The year 2020 has been especially difficult for all of us in terms of addressing not only the health crisis brought about by COVID-19, but also the economic downturn that resulted from our efforts to curb the spread of the disease. This was further aggravated by the series of natural calamities that hit us at the beginning and toward the end of the year, but we continue to serve our constituencies.”
The members of the League met virtually to discuss with national officials on the latter’s plans in moving forward with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and how the LGUs can work with the national government to expedite the process at the LGU level.
In his message, President Duterte emphasized to the governors that, “the nation thanks you, and I trust that you will continue to work together as we see this crisis to its end.”
He exhorted, “let us keep in mind that it is only by coming together that we can truly serve the interest of the people.”
Apart from the president, the two congressional leaders – Senate President Tito Sotto and Speaker Lord Alan Q. Velasco, along with a number of senators also gave their respective messages to the LPP, with a common theme of recognizing the efforts of the provincial chief executives in addressing both the pandemic as well as the disasters that hit the country, and exhorting them to continue serving, while looking forward to a better year ahead.
In his message, Senate President Sotto said, “I want to commend everyone for your immediate response and continued efforts to mitigate the effects of this unprecedented public health crisis.”
While Speaker Velasco, the son of League president Gov. Velasco, conveyed, “thank you for all your hard work and perseverance. Let us celebrate the season with hope, compassion and charity.”
Senators Cynthia Villar and Kiko Pangilinan, lauded the efforts of the governors to address the pandemic and the calamities this year, and considered them as frontliners who continue to deliver services and assistance to their constituents despite limited resources they could provide and the risks on their personal health and safety, and without their, the country would not succeed in bringing down the spread of the virus.
As Sen. Zubiri likewise recognized the great responsibility provinces took on to control the pandemic, while Senator Villanueva thanked them for their continued service to their constituents in the midst of the pandemic and calamities, as Sen. Bato dela Rosa recognized their efforts to keep the Filipinos safe.
In keeping up the spirit of Christmas, Sen. Franklin Drilon exhorted the governors and reminded them to count and be thankful for all the blessings and keep the hope that next year would be better.
Sen. Imee Marcos, a former governor herself, expressed hopefulness that the country shall get through these various crises and 2021 would be a better year.
While acknowledging that the year 2020 was not easy, Sen. Sonny Angara pointed out that the LGUs were able to rise above, despite being hit by disasters, poverty, and COVID-19 but was equally optimistic that 2021 would be a better year for all Filipinos.
“May the holidays enrich us as a nation, strengthen our families and deepen our reflection as we pursue our dreams and goals for our kababayans,” President Duterte urged as he wished the governors a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.