CEBU, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia wants the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to consult with local governments in Cebu before appointing heads of regional agencies in the Central Visayas.
“That is my small request – that we will be able to give also our own humble inputs and insights in the choice of regional directors that would be working very, very closely with the Cebu Provincial Government,” Garcia said during a press conference on Tuesday, July 5.
Referencing the “difficult past three years of my previous term”, the governor said it would help if the regional directors of agencies “are in sync with the Cebu provincial government.”
Garcia, re-elected to a second term in May 2022, cited Section 25 of the Local Government Code, which directs national agencies and offices to coordinate with local government units (LGU) in implementing projects and programs.
She also referred to Section 465 of the same law that defines the powers of the provincial governor, including the power to call upon and coordinate with national officials or employees assigned to the province on matters affecting the LGU.
Garcia served in the same post for three terms from 2004 to 2013.
“In a post-pandemic era, it would be good to have at the helm of the regional offices people who have institutional knowledge of the challenges and how we address these challenges during COVID-19,” Garcia added.
Her first term in this current cycle was marked by disagreements over former President Rodrigo Duterte’s national policies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including the length of quarantine for returning overseas Filipino workers and the province’s recent lifting of face mask mandates in outdoor spaces.
During the July 5 press conference, Garcia thanked the regional directors she has worked with over the past three years.
She said Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) regional director Leocadio Trovela helped “smooth out the wrinkles and the rough edges” in Cebu’s quarantine protocols.
Garcia also thanked DOH regional director Jaime Bernadas for being “realistic” about the situation of Cebu province, “in contrast with those that would mouth public policies and insist that these be followed without even having seen the (local) situation.”
Garcia expressed hope that she could continue the practice of “close coordination” with regional directors in crafting the province’s COVID-19 policies.
Garcia is a close ally to the current Marcos administration.
During the previous campaign period, the Garcia-led 1Cebu, the biggest political party in Cebu Island, helped deliver over 1.5 million votes for President Marcos and over 1.7 million votes for Vice President Sara Duterte.
Garcia’s daughter, former Liloan mayor Christina Frasco also served as Duterte’s spokesperson and is now the secretary of the Department of Tourism. – Rappler.com