Good governance is empowering says LMP exec

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) – Executive director of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Marisa Lerias lectured and shared the practice of good governance during the second day conduct of Democratic Local Governance in Southeast Asia Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand today.

“Good governance is empowering, ethical, effective. Good governance is difficult but we should take comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone.” This is the affirmative statement of Lerias as she integrated good governance in her topic “Models of people’s participation in local decision making in ASEAN member states.”

She said that the Philippine Consortium on Good Local Governance was borne out of series of activities to advocate for concrete programs on good governance. The member organizations united themselves to engage woud be national leaders and vigorous push for consideration of concrete recommendations.

Lerias cited the governance model of Naga City which serves as its guiding framework. It involves progressive development perspective which seeks prosperity-building tempered by an enlightened perception of the poor; functional partnership which refers to the vehicles that enable the city to tap community resources for priority undertakings; and participation as the mechanism that ensure long-term sustainability of local undertakings.

As explained by her, local education can be done in the context of current legal framework and with shared responsibility that goes together with shared accountability. She also bared that broad-based stakeholdership enhances outcomes by serving as entry points for greater and more meaningful stakeholder participation.

“Take for example, budgetary provision for hiring locally-funded high school teachers paved way for teacher recruitment reforms. School board budgets authorize conduct of divisionwide pre-testing and post-testing. Results serve as basis for additional teacher incentives,” said Lerias.

Meanwhile, she presented the documentation of the country’s proud pioneers during the Youth Leaders’ Summit on Good Governance, where student leaders developed groundbreaking projects that would drive their fellow youth to register and play a role in the May 2013 elections.

She also emphasized that setting of rules of engagement minimizes potential conflicts. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Local governance reforms shared in Delgosea conference

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) – Winfried Wicklein, Principal Country Specialist of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Thailand and one of the speakers during the Democratic Local Governance in Southeast-Asia (Delgosea) Conference held on Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand has shared his company’s reforms on decentralization.

“ADB has worked on decentralization reforms in a number of ASEAN countries, mainly by addressing the fiscal and administrative dimensions to bridge the gap between discretion and accountability.  Examples include the Philippines and Indonesia, which are fairly advanced on decentralization reforms, and Cambodia where the initial decentralization frameworks are being established,” said Wicklein.

The ADB has valued transparency through giving support to full disclosure of official documents by local administrations; implementation of financial management information systems.

As to accountability, Wicklein bared that own revenue collection, performance monitoring systems for service delivery, and instruments for dialogue and feed back for local constituents were achieved. As to the efficiency, proliferation of performance-based grants, is linked to the achievement of minimum standards on financial management; evaluation mechanisms of local government that assist in determining the quality of capital investments.

Wicklein elaborated that the general trends on a more recent policy dialogue on local governance and decentralization reforms include:  enhanced focus on performance–based monitoring tools that allow adequate accountability of local government to their constituents; support to the implementation of information disclosure and transparency policies at the sub-national level; design and implementation of performance-based infrastructure funds for local governments; and sustained emphasis on gender mainstreaming in policy formulation and implementation.

“It is important to take a long-term view on relatively new transparency and accountability processes and systems to become institutionalized at the local level,” stressed Wicklein.

There is also a need to continue to create enabling conditions for social accountability initiatives to take root at the local level through ongoing reforms in fiscal, regional administration, own source revenues and public financial management issues while capacity building efforts should include not only the national and local institutions, but also the local citizen groups to equip them with tools for meaningful interaction with local officials.

Wicklein also emphasized that for decentralization to work, local constituents must be able to convey their preferences and priorities for service delivery to local representatives and to monitor the actions of local governments. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


DPWH estimates P114 million total damage in Caraga

By Darryl P. Pinabacdao

SURIGAO CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) - The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Caraga has released the initial assessment of flood damages in Caraga Region to infrastructure amounted to P114 million.

The estimated amount provided by DPWH covers the damaged public infrastructure caused by continuous rainfall brought about by the low pressure area (LPA).

According to DPWH, the numbers are likely to increase as the heavy rain continues to fall.

DPWH stated that there are roads in Bayugan City and Agusan del Sur that are still not passable in all types of motor vehicles.

DPWH is doing their best in repairing the damaged roads and requesting the people in the region to visit their office before planning to travel, said in a report.

In the duration and aftermath of the heavy rains and floods caused by LPA, damage to road infrastructure was among the top priority of DPWH. (DPP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


DAR holds web-based LTI Tool Orientation in Surigao del Sur

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) conducted a 2-day orientation on the Web-Based Land Tenure Improvement (LTI) Operational Tool to technical personnel of DAR-Surigao del Sur.

The web-based LTI tool is a tracking system used to find easily the records of the status of the lands acquired or covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The tool is being developed to provide streamlined data processing support to Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) activities in the field offices.

The system caters the following Land Acquisition & Distribution (LAD) processes such as: identification and documentation; land survey; land valuation and land distribution.

“Trainers from the Management Information System of DAR Central Office served as the resource speakers of the activity,” said DAR information officer Myra Yu.

She also added that the land transaction accomplished by their office will now be incorporated in the system where each beneficiaries has a corresponding folder’s name that can be easily to accessed. (NGBT/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Popcom, LGU-Butuan ink PopDev Cooperation

By Angie Balen- Antonio

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) - Strengthening partnership between the Commission on Population (Popcom) and the local government of Butuan on the integration of population concerns into plans and programs city-wide has been formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by both parties on January 9, 2014, this city.

Popcom represented by the Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez III and the City Mayor Hon. Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. recognized the relevance of MOU for technical cooperation on Population and Development (POPDEV) Integration in local governance.

As cited in the MOU, Popcom shall provide technical assistance to the LGU in developing appropriate tools, processes, methodologies to be integrated in the local development plans.

Popcom Regional Director Alexander A. Makinano  disclosed that the population and development integration is a population management strategy that enable institutions to create an enabling environment for people to achieve their development goals through  well-planned and happy families.

“Recognizing the importance and necessity of integrating population dimensions in development initiatives can contribute to policies and programs that will help government attain a well-managed population," he quoted.

Acting on its role, Popcom also turned-over various IT equipment to the Population Office of Butuan in support of the institutionalization of the population program.

It can be recalled that POPDEV Integration was adopted as among the strategies in the City’s Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP), and in the Congressional – City Development Agenda. (Popcom-13/PIA-Caraga)