BACOLOD

Ombion: National enforcement is okay

Perspective

AS WHAT the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been doing for a year now, so that local governments will be reminded of existing laws, executive orders and memorandum circulars that they should enforce.

As I noted in my previous articles, there are not a few of these national orders and guidelines which are deliberately ignored, or sidelined because they either pose a problem to the local government units (LGUs) and local chief executives (LCE), or they simply do not know how to do it the right way. Or maybe the LGUs are so enmeshed in their local concerns that they overlooked the reminders and enforcement plans by the national leadership.

Governor Gwen Garcia of Cebu even lashed out the DILG national and region 7 because of so many activities and reports and what have they imposed on LGUs, causing the LGUs to fail to meet their local priorities.

Actually, the DILG, for example, is right in doing what it has been doing, director, enforcer, mentor, coach and conductor-synchronizer of the programs and services of different national line agencies for the LGUs.

The LGUs are likewise right for complying even if most of their compliance often hardly met standards, and worse, copy paste making the compliance meaningless and useless. Those who failed to comply at all have also their reasons for being so.

I even hear reports and feedbacks from within DILG, LGUs and among CSOs that a number of LGUs are just given Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) when many of the standards of good local governance they failed to meet. This should be investigated because if true, this could just be a waste of people’s money, and an act of hypocrisy and triteness.

In this condition, it is important that the directing, reminding and enforcing unit like DILG should also provide right implementing strategies and support to LGUs, like capacity trainings, technical information and even logistical support.

The DILG must not assume that the LGUs are always ready to dance with its actions. Many of them are not, and best measurement stick are the “masa” on the ground and the CSOs. In the case for example of Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup) and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), two basic programs where all others are anchored, most LGUs have a hard time doing and updating these two because they lack the capacities to do them. Many of them resort to give the tasks to the experts of SUCs and independent consultants, which squeeze their already meager revenues.

Worse, such practice only keeps the LGUs from external dependent, because it ignores the demand to develop their internal capacity to do planning. This is where DILG can provide support to LGUs, instead of just forcing them to comply on something they can’t do or able to finish, and penalize them.

For a start, at least, the DILG can invest on SUCs experts and independent consultants, even well-developed CSOs, to help train the LGUs on the rudiments of planning and development work, and as the LGUs gain the skills and confidence, DILG can focus on coaching and mentoring support services until the LGUs could stand on their feet.

When this is done, and done right, well and good, the national reminders and enforcement could eventually get reciprocal actions from the ground and truly bear fruits in what could be called a true good local governance.


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