KORONADAL, South Cotabato (24 June 2016) – Ismael “Mike” Sueno, the incoming Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG), conferred with General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and other local chief executives (LCEs) in the region to discuss the various objectives President-elect Rodrigo Duterte wants them to prioritize in their respective LGUs.
This meeting between Sueno and LCEs took place in Villa Amor Hotel, Koronadal City Thursday (June 23).
It is an exclusive interfacing event hosted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) where no media outfits were allowed.
During the gathering, Sueno laid down the specific directions that Duterte requires the LCEs to implement in their LGUs for the next six years.
Topping the list is the anti-criminality campaign, specifically on the suppression of drug proliferation in Region 12.
It is a no surprise, since Duterte’s battle cry has been anti-crime and anti-corruption.
This known animosity of incoming President Duterte against corruption and criminality was among the many reasons that propelled him to the presidency.
According to a report given by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to Sueno, South Cotabato has one of the highest drug activities in the country.
“Yung South Cotabato, according to PNP, ranks 3 in the country in terms of the presence of illegal drug activities, with a rating of around 41%,” Sueno revealed. “We need to cut this down. That’s the instruction of Duterte.”
He then enumerated the anti-drug initiatives the DILG will strictly mandate to the LGUs.
These are: strengthening of Mamamayan Sugpuin ang Ilegal na Droga program (MASID); revitalization of of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) and other barangay-level anti-drug initiatives; possible revival of Alsa Masa for drug apprehension; creation of executive order that would suspend local officials involved in drugs; capacitating LGUs to reduce the supply and demand of drugs in their respective areas; and necessitating the LGUs to allocate the 5% of their 20% peace and order IRA fund to in anti-drug campaign.
Mayor Rivera committed that he will implement all of these initiatives in the local government of Gensan, and indicated that this will be his all-out support to Duterte’s pursuit of changing the plight of the country.
“We are here already. We got a president that is from us, yung taga Mindanao talaga. This is our responsibility. We need to help him so that we can fully achieve the promise of change that we said to the people,” Mayor Rivera said in an interview.
“Actually, we have already started the mandatory drug-testing of our employees in LGU Gensan. And talagang may nahuli tayo na gumagamit at pinaalis natin. Yung mga regular employees na nag positive ay ipinasa na natin sa Civil Service (Commission),” he divulged.
Rivera also gave his point of view regarding Duterte’s strict policies in different government agencies.
“There is no problem with being strict. In that way, we could shape up our government institutions. Marami na kasi ang nawalan ng trust and confidence sa mga public offices. And it’s time that we will return it back,” Mayor Rivera said.
Aside from the anti-criminality campaign, Sueno also specified the other area of priorities that should be developed, such LGUs involvement in economic development; improvement of local governance; disaster preparedness; DILGs connectivity with LGUs; and DILG’s connectivity to its subsidiaries and other government agencies.
Before being selected by Duterte as the new SILG, Sueno was a former governor of South Cotabato. He was also the former national chairman of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)—the umbrella party of Duterte. (Gensan CPIO/ Ian John Lagare)