The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomes the signing of Republic Act (RA) No. 11292 or the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Act as this will encourage local governments to perform better and efficiently deliver basic services to their constituents.
“The DILG is grateful that the SGLG program, which is only in its fifth year, is now part of the law of the land. It is an affirmation of the effectiveness of the program in propelling good governance of local government units (LGUs),” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año as he thanked the Senate for initiating the bill on SGLG, the House of Representatives for supporting it, and President Rodrigo Duterte for signing it into law on April 12 but released only last Tuesday.
The SGLG is an award, incentive, honor, and recognition-based program for all LGUs and is a continuing commitment for LGUs to continually progress and improve their performance in ten key governance areas.
Under the new law, the performance of provinces, cities, and municipalities will be reviewed in the areas of (a) good fiscal or financial administration or financial sustainability; (b) disaster preparedness; (c) health compliance and responsiveness; (d) social protection and sensitivity program; (e) programs for sustainable education; (f) business friendliness and competitiveness; (g) safety, peace and order; (h) tourism, heritage development, culture and arts; (i) environmental management; and (j) youth development.
“With the enactment of this law, the SGLG program is now institutionalized and is assured of continuous funding from the government. Thank you to President Duterte and to Congress for this landmark legislation,” he says.
Año assures that the Department is ready to take on its duties mandated by RA 11292 such as being the Chair of the Council of Good Local Governance composed of nine member national government agencies and a representative from the basic sectors.
“The establishment of the Council demonstrates the whole-of-government approach in ensuring that the national government works hand in hand with the local governments and members of civil society in practicing good governance on the local level,” he points out.
To ensure the granting of incentives to SGLG awardees, the DILG Chief says a special account called SGLG Fund will be set aside in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) to be utilized for this purpose.
Since the fund will be managed and administered by the DILG with the supervision of the Council, the Council shall determine the monetary incentives for LGUs based on the number of awardees, and it may also reevaluate and increase the amount of SGLG incentive to be awarded to LGUs.
In 2018, 17 provinces that got the Seal were each conferred P7-million DILG Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to be used for local development projects. Thirty-nine cities that bagged the Seal each received P5.1-million PCF, and 207 municipalities each had P3.2-million PCF.
“Incentivizing good governance is crucial for it to be propagated, replicated, and sustained by LGUs nationwide. It is nudging more and more LGUs to the path of dedicated service to the people, the essence of the existence of government, and our social contract,” says Año.
Other Council duties
According to Año, the Council has many tasks on its shoulders aside from determining the financial incentives to the SGLG awardees.
This includes expanding the criteria to align with the thrusts of the national government and attune them with the changing times taking into consideration “that LGUs may not be similarly situated and that one or more indicators may be peculiarly inapplicable or extremely difficult to meet given the inherent limitations or circumstances of the LGUs.”
He also agrees on the provision mandating the review or revision of performance indicators to be consistent with the long-term development plans of the national government and that “the development of indicators should reflect outcomes that are performance-based, encouraging outputs that reflect concrete benefits to the community in terms of policy, rules, regulations, behavior, skill competencies, knowledge, or attitude.”
“It is very important for the law to be cognizant of the reality and the varying environments when the law is implemented on the ground. The SGLG Act is sensible on that,” he says.
He says the Council is also expected to set up an effective feedback mechanism and conduct an evaluation of the impact of the new law on the performance of the LGUs to determine the need for enhancing the SGLG, rolling out the SGLG in barangays, and recommending any amendatory legislation.
Año discloses that the DILG has already been doing pilot testing in select communities in line to bring the SGLG down to barangay level.
He also assures that the Department is ready to work with the members of the Council of Good Local Governance in providing technical assistance for capacity-building on identified gaps of LGUs that are not able to qualify for the SGLG award.