The mayor’s curriculum
It is fun and exciting watching the newly elected mayors perform their jobs from day to day, as reported in the mass and social media. But there has to be a system to mayor-watching. In May 2022, citizens are expected to review the performance of this current crop of mayors who would be seeking re-election. There will be much ignorance and confusion as to the substance and perception of these mayors’ accomplishments. How should citizens evaluate their mayors?
For over a decade, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has implemented the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS). The LGPMS is a system for self-assessment of the performance of local governments (provinces, cities and municipalities) in the management, development and delivery of essential public services.
How does it work? The LGPMS measures two clusters — the state of local governance performance (how well the local government unit [LGU] generates and manages inputs and outputs) and the state of local development (how well the LGU produces outcomes or impacts for the target constituency).
There are five areas under “governance” performance: administrative governance, social governance, economic governance, environmental governance and valuing fundamentals of good governance.
The “development” performance areas are social development (state of health and nutrition, of education, of housing and basic utilities, and of peace and order conditions), economic development (state of income and of employment) and environmental development (state of agricultural ecosystem, of forest ecosystem, of coastal marine ecosystem, of freshwater ecosystem and of urban ecosystem).
Detailed templates are provided by the DILG to the LGUs for use in generating the required data. Assessment in service areas adds up to assessments in performance areas. A grade of 5.0 is the highest score and 1.0 is the lowest. The data are uploaded to a web-based information system which is primarily used for identifying areas for improvement as well as giving the seal of good housekeeping and other performance awards to LGUs.
What are the results? There are results for all LGUs in all the dimensions, but just to illustrate, the self-assessment of the cities in Metro Manila for the year 2011 shows that as far as “valuing fundamentals of governance” the Manila LGU graded itself 5.0 in transparency, 4.6 in financial accountability and 4.3 in participation. The Pasig City LGU, on the other hand, graded itself 5.0 in transparency, 4.8 in financial accountability and 4.3 in participation. The Caloocan, Mandaluyong, San Juan and Valenzuela LGUs, meantime, reported attaining 5.0 in all three dimensions.
LGPMS is a remarkably sophisticated system of performance management. The main problem is that it has practically been withheld by the DILG and the local governments from their constituents. The LGPMS is supposed to have transitioned from mere performance measurement to performance management. Yet these self-assessment scores are not validated by the people in whose name and for whose appreciation they were generated. There have been four local elections since these reports have been generated for all provinces, cities and municipalities, but they have not at all been systematically introduced as critical inputs into the electoral process.
These self-assessments should be made available to the public now so that by the next elections, voters will not judge candidates on the basis of their personal characteristics, but on their performance on the job.
As to mayors who find themselves in the position of local chief executives, perhaps many of them do not realize this LGPMS constitutes the “mayor’s curriculum” — the subjects that they should have systematically schooled themselves in before they became mayors.
It is not too late. All the swashbuckling, media-grabbing action on the streets many mayors engage in that tickle the public must eventually find discipline and meaning within the framework of the local governance performance management system.
The LGPMS is a critical social innovation that is waiting to be fully embraced — together — by both local chief executives and their constituents. Voter-education oriented citizen groups must now begin extracting and analyzing the LGPMS data from the DILG in time for the May 2022 elections.
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