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Governance requires LGU-NGO participation

/ 02:12 AM December 20, 2013

I beg to differ with the suggestion that nongovernment organizations be abolished (“Abolish NGOs,” Opinion, 12/9/13). NGOs, provided that they are not bogus and have a clear mandate, are important, especially to local government units (LGUs). The NGOs in the pork barrel scam should not be identified with the NGOs duly accredited by the LGUs.

The Department of Interior and Local Government issued a memorandum circular regarding the “Accreditation of Civil Society Organizations, And Selection of Representatives To The Local Special Bodies.” The purpose of the memorandum—to “reiterate the provisions of the Local Government Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations and to provide other clarificatory guidelines relative to the accreditation of people’s organizations, nongovernment organizations, business groups, professional groups and other similar aggrupations, and in the selection of their representatives to the local special bodies, and to strengthen the participation of civil society organizations in local governance and development processes.”

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The selection of representatives to local special bodies (development councils, health boards, school boards and peace and order councils) is scheduled in the first or second week of September every year, and the reconstitution and the convening of these entities on the third week of the same month.

In order to ensure that the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 (the Local Government Code of 1991) and of this memorandum circular are strictly observed, monitoring and reporting committees in the LGUs are organized with their respective DILG field directors as heads. At the regional and national levels, these committees, tasked to spearhead the implementation of the circular, are headed by the DILG regional directors and the undersecretary for local government.

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By this time, LGUs should have an updated directory or list of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating within their territorial jurisdiction and accredited or recognized by their respective sanggunian. With the LGUs having their respective list of accredited CSOs, their local special bodies should be able to function.

The NGOs in these special bodies serve as members of councils advising LGU officials on community development matters. They should have a say on the formulation of policies and on the directions the LGUs choose to take, such that local officials do not enjoy the monopoly of running LGU affairs. Governance, in this sense, is a shared responsibility among the local officials and the NGOs.

Meanwhile, once this DILG memorandum circular is followed, the spurious NGOs can be eschewed, and the meritorious projects meant to promote the interest and welfare of the constituents of the LGUs will have to be identified by the local special bodies where congressmen are members only.

—REGINALD B. TAMAYO,

assistant city council secretary,

Marikina City

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TAGS: governance, LGU, Local Government Units, NGO, pork scam
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