By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House of Representatives has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the bill seeking to establish and institutionalize the seal of good local governance for local government units (LGUs).
The bicameral report on House Bill No. 8719 and Senate Bill No. 1843 or the proposed “Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG) Act of 2019” provides that State shall recognize the good performance of LGUs in their duties to the people.
The bill encourages all LGUs to take on greater challenges, encourage outcome-based performance and reward them for their effort in pursuing the general welfare of their constituency and in enforcing the laws.
It defines the Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG) as an award, incentive, honor, and recognition-based program for all LGUs. Giving of the award is part of the continuing commitment for LGUs to continually progress.
Under the bill, LGUs are expected to improve their performance in the following areas through good financial administration or sustainability, disaster preparedness, social protection and sensitivity program, health compliance and responsiveness, programs for sustainable education, business friendliness and competitiveness; safety, peace, and orderenvironmental management; tourism, heritage development, culture, and arts; and youth development.These areas shall serve as the criteria for the granting of the SGLG to LGUs, the measure said.
The bill calls for the creation of the Council of Good Local Governance with the DILG Secretary as its chairperson.
It is comprised of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Finance (DOF)), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Office of Civil Defense, and a representative from each of basic sectors to be nominated by the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
The DILG shall be the implementing agency of the Act.
The Council is mandated to assume the following functions: develop and promulgate the performance indicators; evaluate the impact of this Act on the performance of LGUs; create technical working groups to assist the Council members; and submit copies of the performance indicators and results of the impact assessments annually to the President of the Philippines, the Senate President, and the House Speaker, among others.
Under the bill, the SGLG Fund shall be created as a special account under the General Appropriations Act. It shall only be utilized to pay out the incentives granted to LGUs that qualify for the SGLG.
These incentives shall be covered by the policies governing the utilization of the 20 percent of the annual Internal Revenue Allotment for local government projects, the Annual Investment Program, and the Local Development Investment Program.
The bill also stipulates that the SGLG Fund incentives shall not be used for any of the following: financing micro credits and loans; travel expenses; administrative expenses of the LGU, purchase, maintenance, or repair of any motor vehicles not directly used for SGLG undertaking; salaries, wages, fees, allowances, or overtime pay of employees; and construction or repair of administrative offices; and g) loan guarantee.
The SGLG Fund shall be managed and administered by the DILG with the supervision of the Council.
The bill recognizes the autonomy of LGUs as it shall not limit them to establish policies and pursue programs and projects designed only to qualify for the SGLG award.
It intends to ensure the enjoyment of their constituency the right to life, liberty, property, health, education, as well as a balanced and healthful ecology, among others.
The House conferees were Reps. Pedro Acharon Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato), Jose Enrique Garcia III (2nd District, Bataan), Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Eric Martinez (2nd District, Valenzuela City), and Arlene Arcillas (1st District, Laguna). Meanwhile, the Senate was represented by Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, and Risa Hontiveros.