Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson on Thursday pushed for masteral courses for community planners in the country's 1,488 municipalities so they can maximize the increased revenues from the implementation of the Supreme Court's Mandanas-Garcia ruling starting next year.
Lacson said this could be a "worthwhile investment" where local government units sign a memorandum of agreement with the Development Academy of the Philippines to develop the skills of the community planners.
"Maybe the 1,488 municipalities can benefit from that. If the Local Development Academy has no wherewithal to provide masteral courses, maybe we can sign a MOA with the DAP so we can develop the skills of our community planners to enroll in their degrees and go back to the municipalities under a contract to serve for a certain number of years," he said at the Senate's deliberation of the 2022 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
"That’s what we did in the Yolanda corridor. They are back and continue to do their duties there. Just food for thought that it can be done. That’s a worthwhile investment," he added.
He said the community planners need to develop their absorptive capacity so LGUs can fully use the added resources from the Mandanas-Garcia ruling - whose implementation starts in 2022 and is to be completed in 2024 - to implement their local development projects.
Lacson is a champion of empowering the LGUs through his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE), where resources are downloaded to the LGUs for implementing local development projects, as the LGUs are in the best position to know the needs and priorities of their constituents.
Recalling his experience as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery in coordinating efforts to help those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Lacson said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided P150,000 per scholar who were enrolled them in the DAP.
The scholars took up the course of Master in Public Management, Major in Local Governance and Development.
"And they graduated, 161 of them from 171 cities and municipalities devastated by Yolanda. They are now performing very well making use of their masteral degrees," he said.