Robredo’s reforms crucial for nation-building-A A +A
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo had advanced reforms in local government and interior sector that are crucial for the country’s “Matuwid na Daan (Straight Path)” campaign, said government officials, lawmakers, civil society organizations, the academe, urban poor groups and other supporters.
Robredo’s body was found on Tuesday by search and rescue teams in Masbate City, ending almost three days of waiting. He was on his way home to Naga City after two speaking engagements in Cebu City, when the twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft he was on crash-landed off Barangay Obingay, Masbate City around 500 meters away from the airport runway.
Fishermen rescued Senior Police Inspector Jun Abrazado, Robredo’s aid, after he lost consciousness trying to protect the secretary.
Movement for Good Governance chairperson Solita Monsod said it is crucial that the reforms Robredo had started be continued and his replacement should make sure that the ideals he fought for would be protected.
Up until the night before his departure for Cebu, Robredo had been pushing his management team to find more effective ways to advance reforms in local governance and the interior sector.
He was particularly focused on drumming up public support for the Full Disclosure Policy (FDP), an instrument that he hoped would advance transparency and accountability in local governance.
The FDP, the crown jewel of Robredo’s work in local governance, requires LGUs to disclose in public places 12 key financial documents that show how funds are spent.
As of June 2012, 1,697 or 99 percent of LGUs have complied with the policy. This is validated by the latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys that show more Filipinos now observe transparency and accountability in their localities.
The FDP is a requirement in the conferment of the Seal of Good Housekeeping, which is awarded to LGUs every year. The Seal of Good Housekeeping rewards honesty and excellence in local governance.
As of June 2012, 856 LGUs who qualified for the SGH have been granted P1.1 billion from the Performance Challenge Fund—money that based on the guidelines are spent for the poorest of the poor.
Robredo wanted to start an advocacy campaign so that ordinary citizens would use the maximum benefits from the tool to demand good governance and transparency from their local leaders.
He also gave instructions that illegal logging be stopped, and those involved be made accountable.
Robredo had also tirelessly improved disaster risk reduction and mitigation capabilities of local government units across the country. He introduced the Seal of Disaster Preparedness, another incentive mechanism to help LGUs deal with disasters and calamities.
As of the first semester of this year, 8,504 LGUs already have functional disaster management councils. Exactly 1,539 have command centers and alarm systems. They now have emergency response, rescue, and medical teams, and evacuation centers.
Having been a mayor in Naga City for 19 years, Robredo was strict about ensuring that each LGU’s business process licensing system is streamlined and highly effective.
The department committed to the Millennium Challenge Corp. to streamline the BPLS of 120 LGUs in four years. As of June 2012, 748 LGUs have already streamlined their BPLS within a two-year period. This has raised revenue collection by as much as seven percent in Lapu-Lapu City and 18 percent in Butuan City.
The latest National Competitiveness Survey results showed that 70 percent of businessmen respondents received permits in three days or less. In fact, 17 percent did so and less than two hours.
Robredo believed that measuring outcomes lead to improvement. He enhanced the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS), a tool to measure LGU performance, by turning it into an assessment tool validated by third-party assessment. This is a departure from the old system of self-assessment.
Consolidated results of the LGPMS shows that there has been a consistent increase in the number of LGUs with high overall performance ratings, from 913 in 2009 to 1,050 in 2010, to 1,261 in 2011.
There has also been a 200 percent leap in the number of LGUs that allow civil society organizations, public organizations, the academe and religious groups to participate in local governance. A concrete example of this is the DILG’s partnership with the Ugnayan ng mga Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) to monitor LGU budgets and with Ateneo School of Government and De La Salle University’s monitoring of public services in the local governments.
In Armm, Robredo was instrumental in the promotion of transparency and accountability among local governments through the Seal of Good Housekeeping. The DILG is also on top of the reform program in Armm with funding of P8.59 billion.
In the interior sector, Robredo batted for a vision that every Filipino can walk the streets unafraid 24/7. In 2011, crime rate went down 23.8 percent. Financial reforms in the Philippine National Policy also led to the 54 percent increase in the budget for field units to P1,000 per capital from P650. This means the police have more funds for uniform, shoes, bullets and other needs.
Police visibility has also increased with the field deployment of 90 percent of the police force, as opposed to 85 percent previously.
Through the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the DILG initiated investigations and formally filed charges against individuals involved in spurious procurement contracts.
Robredo declared just last week that he intended to pursue all these reforms at whatever cost, to ensure that the “Matuwid na Daan” of the President is well lighted and easy to traverse for every citizen.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 23, 2012.