Pasig City – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today (May 27, 2014) recognizes nine local government units (LGUs) for being champions of innovations in local economic development during the Leader’s Forum on Growing Local Economies at the Marco Polo Hotel. The forum is an activity under the Local Government Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED), a collaborative program between the governments of Canada and the Philippines, through the DILG. DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, representing Secretary Mar Roxas, identified the nine LED champions as Pangasinan, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Metro Naga, Metro Iloilo, Guimaras, Leyte, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. Panadero said these provinces were able to attract investments, create jobs and increase tourism arrivals within a period of three years through the LGSP-LED program. “We are grateful to our development partners like the Canadian government because through their interventions, we are able to provide LGUs with much-needed financial and technical assistance to enhance their potentials into becoming business-friendly and competitive entities,” he said. “It is always fitting to recognize the vital roles and good practices of LGUs as potent partners of the national government in achieving sustainable economic development in the country, and I am glad that this forum provides for that purpose”, he added. Another highlight of the forum is the launching of the new batch of LGSP-LED projects for implementation in the provinces of Albay, Aklan, Antique, Cebu, Davao del Norte, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Siquijor, and Sorsogon. All these projects will focus on tourism development. The event also serves as a venue for leaders to interact with fellow stakeholders, as well as to strengthen and create new partnerships, and share their knowledge, good practices and models on local economic development. Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, local chief executives and development partners are expected to attend the occasion and tackle information on investments attraction and promotion, and public-private partnerships, among others. Through the LGSP-LED program, the DILG provides technical advices and trainings to selected LGUs on how to engage local private sectors in enhancing local tourism industries and creating tourism programs to attract more investors and increase job opportunities. From 2011 to 2013, LGSP-LED LGUs have attracted almost P6 billion in investments and created over 2200 new jobs in different regions in the country. (PR)