Teams from DILG regional offices recently visited the province of Catanduanes to review documents and interview local officials in the province and the 11 municipalities in connection with the 2023 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG).
Under the annual award, incentive, honor, and recognition-based program, a local government unit must pass all 10 governance areas: Financial Administration and Sustainability; Disaster Preparedness; Social Protection and Sensitivity; Health Compliance and Responsiveness; Sustainable Education; Business-Friendliness and Competitiveness; Safety, Peace and Order; Environmental Management; Tourism, Heritage Development, Culture and Arts; and Youth Development.
For the province to qualify, at least 10 percent of its component municipalities must also be SGLG passers. This means that at least two towns should pass the assessment based on the governance areas.
Is this difficult to achieve?
Perhaps, considering that all LGUs have done this way before, trying to comply with the requirements of the search.
But there are refinements in the 2023 SGLG that would probably determine whether the LGU would pass every governance area.
In Financial Administration and Sustainability, the LGU should have reached a benchmark for local revenue growth, utilized at least 65% of its Development Fund by the end of the CY 2022, fully utilized all Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) grants received in CY 2021, and approved the CY 2023 Annual Budget on or before December 31, 2022, among others.
In Disaster Preparedness, the LGU’s Contingency Plans should have integrated Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease (EREID) concerns and complied with the submission of requirements in the 223 Gawad Kalasag (GK) Seal for the MDRRMOs.
To earn additional points in Social Protection and Sensitivity, not only should the LGU be an awardee of the 2022 Sea of Child-friendly Local Governance, the LGU should have ensured its primary health facility’s compliance with the Accessibility Law and established a Population Office and Teen Center, among others.
It should have prepared Annual Operations Plan for health and met at least one target in seven areas, including at least 55% of households with access to safely managed drinking water services in 2021 and at least 43.60% of households with safely managed sanitation services in CY 2021.
Also made mandatory in the area for Sustainable Education is the minimum 85% utilization rate of the Special Education Fund.
It should have passed the 2022 Peace and Order Council Performance Audit and is actually eligible for the award.
In Environmental Management, the LGU needs to have an operational materials recovery facility with a recording system for wastes as well as access to a sanitary landfill and segregated collection of wastes.
For a local chief executive who is on the ball with his team of department managers and the legislative, there would be no problem complying with the increasingly tough SGLG parameters.
But on the island, their number can be counted on just one hand.
Catanduanes is replete with local executives who are focused largely on politics for the next election and not on actual governance for the benefit of constituents.
Any town mayor of an LGU which actually wins the Seal deserves another term or perhaps a run for higher office.