By Hannah Torregoza
The bicameral conference committee has approved the bill seeking to institutionalize the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) to motivate local government units (LGUs) to reach the highest standards of governance.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chair of the Senate committee on local government and sponsor of the measure in the upper chamber, said institutionalizing the incentive program will promote good public administration among LGUs and improve their delivery of basic services to their constituencies.
The SGLG program had pushed many provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays to operate “more efficiently, more effectively, and with more transparency and accountability” since its inception in 2014 by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“This noble program should be immortalized and enshrined as law of the land because it encourages LGUs to take on greater challenges and perform better in pursuing the general welfare of their constituencies and in enforcing existing laws,” Angara said.
The bill would be sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives for ratification once all the members of the bicameral panel have signed the committee report.
Once ratified, the measure would be transmitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Durterte’s signature.
The SGLG is the result of two pioneering programs of the DILG in 2010: the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF).
Under these programs, LGUs that successfully implemented good financial housekeeping and full disclosure policies in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit (COA) are provided with a performance-based grant that they can use to supplement funding for local development projects.
Each SGH recipient is entitled to a cash grant—P1-million for municipality, P3-million for city, and P7-million for province—from the PCF for a project approved by the DILG.
Angara noted that the SGH did not only ensure correct financial management processes of the LGUs. “It also funded many projects,” he pointed out.
Among these programs included a fish port that was built in San Jose, Dinagat Islands; additional classrooms that 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.
In the proposed SGLG Act approved by both houses of Congress, LGUs would be assessed based on 10 criteria, namely: good fiscal administration or financial sustainability; disaster preparedness; social protection and sensitivity program; health compliance and responsiveness; programs for sustainable education; business friendliness and competitiveness; safety, peace and order; environmental management; tourism, heritage development, culture and arts; and youth development.
The DILG will remain as the implementing agency and the Council of Good Local Governance (CGLG) headed by the DILG would be established.
Other agencies comprising the CGLG are the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
The CGLG will also have one representative from the basic sectors to be nominated by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
During the last four years, over a thousand LGUs have been awarded the SGLG.
“This symbolizes how the LGUs persevered to improve their local governance,” Angara said.
“And because many LGUs have been given the SGLG, many of the LGUs can now offer better services to the public,” he said.