By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has recommended for plenary approval a measure institutionalizing the Seal of Good Local Governance, an incentive program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) aimed at rewarding local government units (LGUs) for their excellent service and high standards of governance.
In pushing for Senate Bill No. 1656, Angara urged fellow lawmakers to approve the proposed Seal of Good Local Governance Act to promote good public administration among LGUs and further improve their delivery of basic services to their constituencies.
Angara, chair of the Senate committee on local government, said the program should be institutionalized after having pushed many LGUs to operate “more efficiently, more effectively, and with more transparency and accountability” since its inception in 2014.
“This should be enshrined as law of the land for we believe that there must always be a policy that recognizes and rewards good governance, especially when it is accomplished by our provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays,” said Angara in his sponsorship speech of the measure on Tuesday.
The Seal of Good Local Governance was the offspring of two pioneering programs introduced by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2010—the Seal of Good Housekeeping and the Performance Challenge Fund.
Under these programs, LGUs that successfully implemented “good financial housekeeping and full disclosure policies” in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit (COA), are given performance-based grant which they could use to supplement funding for local development projects.
Recipients are entitled to a cash grant of P1 million for municipality, P3 million for city and P7 million for province, for a project approved by the DILG.
“Sa Seal of Good Housekeeping, did not only ensure LGUs have correct financial management processes. It also help fund many local projects,” Angara said.
The lawmaker pointed out that through such incentive program, 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.
The measure also expanded the assessment criteria for the program from good financial housekeeping and financial administration, to nine core areas namely: disaster preparedness; social protection; peace and order; business-friendliness and competitiveness; environmental protection; tourism, culture and the arts; health; and education.
The measure also expanded the program to cover not only provinces, municipalities and cities, but barangays as well. Moreover, a P1-billion Incentive Fund shall be created under the bill.
Angara pointed out that during the last three years, a total of 1,008 LGUs have been awarded with the Seal of Good Local Governance.
Because of these, many LGUs are inspired to provide better public service due to the program.
“This becomes a symbol for the local governments to improve on public service and governance for the benefit of their constituents,” Angara said.