Public governance ‘must evolve’-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
THE “father of Local Governance” in the Philippines yesterday said service to the people is a “living thing” and not static.
“There is no question, then, that public governance must constantly evolve to respond not only to the basic needs of the people but to the ever-changing requirements for their development,” said former senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
He said public governance has to do with the way public officials deliver government services to the people, and its ultimate objective is naturally the advancement of the welfare of the people.
Pimentel is the principal author of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code, a landmark legislation 21 years ago that gave autonomy to local government units (LGUs).
Speaking before the 2012 International Conference on Governance sponsored by the Philippine Society of Public Administration and the Cebu Normal University at the Capitol Social Hall, Pimentel focused on public governance and the environment.
Pimentel said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the main government agency that implements legislation to empower people to do things that relate to the environment, and at the same time, it is the same agency that penalizes infractions of laws and polices dealing with the environment.
“That situation may not be the best arrangement for government to deliver environment-related services to our people. Perhaps, the better way is to separate those two functions and handling them over to two co-equal agencies so that the implementer of environmental laws and policies is different from the investigator and the punisher of the violators of those laws and policies,” Pimentel said.
He said if that should entail the creation of another agency, so be it.
As to the autonomy of LGUs, Pimentel said RA 7160 empowered the provincial, city, municipal and barangay LGUs to exercise powers that unavoidably touch the lives of their constituents.
“For instance, it is a declared policy of the state that the LGUs shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and as partners for the attainment of national goals”, Pimentel said.
Pimentel said a system of decentralization has been provided so that LGUs will enjoy more powers, authority, responsibilities and resources.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 05, 2012.