Monday, August 24, 2015

Only 4 Sorsogon LGUs get good governance seal
By Bobby Q. Labalan

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Only four local government units (LGUs) in the province of Sorsogon received the most-coveted award among LGUs, the Seal of Good Local Governance by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Lawyer Arnaldo Escober, DILG Sorsogon provincial director, said those awarded with the Seal for 2014 were the provincial government of Sorsogon and the municipalities of Barcelona, Pilar and Bulan.

The province will receive Php7-million worth of development projects while the municipalities will get Php3 million each.

The awards will be turned over to the LGUs on Sept. 10 during the awarding ceremony, Escober said.

According to him, the four LGUs were the only ones that were able to fully comply with the “3 Plus 1” criteria set by the DILG in assessing the performance of the LGUs.

The Seal of Good Local Governance replaced the Seal of Good Housekeeping which was first introduced by the deceased DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo, whose death anniversary was commemorated on Tuesday.

Escober said the “3 Plus 1” criteria include the three main requirements which are the good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness program and social protection program.

The “Plus 1” is composed of three essential elements but the LGU may only choose one.

This includes business friendliness and competitiveness, peace and order and environmental management.

Most of the LGUs, Escober said, failed to get the award due to their failure to comply with the social protection requirement which is composed of three components like the presence of mechanisms on violence against women and children, LGU-managed youth home with licensed social welfare and development officer and compliance with “Accessibility Law”.

He said the criteria have undergone several revisions and upgrading since it was launched by Robredo with the end in view of forcing the LGUs to further improve their delivery of basic services.

“At first, what the DILG required for LGUs to obtain the Seal were compliance to Full Disclosure Policy and a favorable audit opinion, meaning, an LGU has no adverse audit report, but since it has become too easy to comply with, the department decided to upgrade the standards, that’s the reason why we now have this “3 Plus 1” criteria,” Escober explained.

He added that for 2015, it’s likely that changes in the criteria will again be introduced for the assessment, which will commence next month.

The DILG provincial head urged local chief executives to cure their deficiencies in last year’s evaluation so they would have fair chance of getting the Seal.

He advised LGUs to ensure full compliance to financial management requisite as it is also the basis for the grant of the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) and PAMANA Projects.

“If they have adverse COA report, they automatically lose the BUB and the PAMANA funds,” Escober added. (PNA) RMA/FGS/BQL/CBD/ssc