Press Release
August 27, 2009

Recognizing the efforts and role of local councilors to nation building

Senator Edgardo J. Angara yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement to officially open the search for the Ten Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines (TOCP 2009), emphasizing the vital role that local governance plays in nation building. The agreement was inked in partnership with the Junior Chamber International-Philippines and the Philippine Councilors League.

"The local level of governance is one of the most basic units that comprise the national government. Politicians at a national level may have issues and be distracted from fulfilling their duties and obligations, but leaders of local governments will most likely stay stable and continuous with the exercise of their functions," Angara noted.

The TOCP is on its second search and later during the year joins another annual undertaking of the JCI: the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards. The TOCP is given for outstanding leadership and excellent contributions to local legislation and governance. All councilors of the country are eligible for nomination for their demonstrated vigor, social responsibility, innovative approach and pro-activeness in tackling local problems and offering solutions.

In his speech at the signing of the MOA, 2006 TOCP Awardee Enrique "Buko" de la Cruz of Baliuag, Bulacan, attested that "Sen. Angara's role in pushing for the creation of the TOCP Awards was vital and we, the awardees, are sincerely grateful to a surprise that the good Senator gave. He increased the official P100,000.00 worth of project grant to P500,000.00 for each of us."

Angara also asserted that while local governments are crucial in implementing the national government's thrusts on the environment and economy, it is vital to support local government leaders in their initiatives. He added that environmental issues brought about by climate change are of more direct concern and proximity to local governments, thus the need for better governance through better leaders.

He cited, "The country has a good number of coasts and an abundant marine environment, found mostly in the countryside under local government jurisdiction, and it is significant to provide constant support to our leaders here so their projects are productive for their community. For example, their efforts in achieving a self-subsisting community through local produce of bangus will need a strong planning and implementing strategies that their leaders undertake."

Angara himself has been an ardent supporter of environmental and agro-fisheries projects at a local level, starting with his home province of Aurora where the agro-fisheries industry has undergone massive innovations and has yielded high-quality products such as hybrid bangus and sea bass, the virgin coconut oil and coco-biodiesel development.

"This award challenges our councilors to continue their good work. If all our local leaders across the country are inspired and motivated to undertake development-oriented initiatives in their local communities and such initiatives see the fruition of their objectives, it will be big step in national development and the improvement of public service," concluded Sen. Angara.

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