BICAM PANEL OKS BILL INSTITUTIONALIZING ‘SEAL OF GOOD LOCAL GOVERNANCE’

The bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives has approved a bill seeking to institutionalize the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), an incentive program meant to drive local government units (LGUs) to reach high standards of governance.

Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and sponsor of the bill in the upper chamber, said the measure was aimed at promoting good public administration among LGUs and improving their delivery of basic services to their constituencies.

Since its inception in 2014, Angara said the SGLG program had pushed many provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays to operate "more efficiently, more effectively, and with more transparency and accountability."

"This noble program should be immortalized and enshrined as law of the land because it encourages LGUs to take on greater challenges and perform better in pursuing the general welfare of their constituencies and in enforcing existing laws," Angara said.

Angara said the bill will be sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives for ratification once all the members of the bicameral panel have signed the committee report. Once ratified, the bill will be transmitted to MalacaAang for President Durterte's signature.

The SGLG is the result of two pioneering programs of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2010: Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF).

Under these programs, LGUs that successfully implemented "good financial housekeeping and full disclosure policies" in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit, are provided with a performance-based grant which they could use to supplement funding for local development projects.

Each SGH recipient is entitled to a cash grant--P1 million for municipality, P3 million for city, and P7 million for province--from the PCF for a project approved by the DILG.

"Sa SGH, hindi lang sinigurado na may tamang financial management processes ang mga LGU. Marami ring proyekto ang napondohan dahil dito," Angara pointed out.

Angara said that through these DILG programs, a fish port was built in San Jose, Dinagat Islands; additional classrooms were constructed in a barangay in Minalin, Pampanga; at least three villages in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur now have access to potable water; roads were reconstructed in Calamba, Misamis Occidental; and a processing center for shrimp paste was established in Anilao, Iloilo.

In the proposed SGLG Act approved by both houses of Congress, the LGUs will be assessed on 10 criteria, namely: good fiscal administration or financial sustainability; disaster preparedness; social protection and sensitivity program; health compliance and responsiveness; programs for sustainable education; business friendliness and competitiveness; safety, peace and order; environmental management; tourism, heritage development, culture and arts; and youth development.

The DILG will remain as the implementing agency and the Council of Good Local Governance (CGLG) headed by the DILG will be established.

Other agencies comprising the CGLG are the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Office of Civil Defense.

The CGLG will also have one representative from the basic sectors to be nominated by the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

During the last four years, over a thousand LGUs have been awarded the SGLG.

"Tila ito'y simbolo na patuloy na nagpupursige ng mga LGU para pagandahin pa lalo ang kanilang pamamalakad sa pamahalaan," Angara said. "At dahil padami nang padami ang mga nabibigyan ng SGLG, padami nang padami rin ang mga LGU na gumaganda ang serbisyo nila sa publiko."

Source: Senate of the Philippines