Platforms zilch on local governance

THIS REFERS to the news article titled “Binay, Poe, Roxas bare poll platforms” (Front Page, 10/5/15).

I did not find in their platforms any programs or major issues and concerns related to local governance. It must be noted, local government units are the political subdivisions of the state, not to mention their being the “harbingers” of the national government when it comes to delivering services and implementing programs.

Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, explicitly provides: “The capabilities of local government units, especially the municipalities and barangays, shall be enhanced by providing them with opportunities to participate actively in the implementation of national programs and projects.”

I suggest that aside from the political party platforms they espouse during the campaign period, candidates for national offices should also take a position on local governance issues. Consider the following:

  1. Specific guidelines on the conduct of periodic consultations with the LGUs should be issued. This is set forth in Section 2 paragraph (c) of the code. Many projects sited in LGUs are implemented by the national government without informing beforehand the LGU officials and their constituents.
  1. Common local projects, based on a comprehensive multi-sectoral development plan that takes into account local needs, should be implemented using the LGUs’ 20-percent development fund. These projects (e.g., infrastructure, economic and social development) entail national support.
  1. With the enabling functions of the LGUs, the membership and powers of the local special bodies of the LGUs should be expanded to include a representative from the Senate with the end in view of discussing local needs and projects that would require national funding through legislation.

Of course, there are other agenda vital to local governance and they need to be addressed by those who are running in national elections, especially those in the presidential race. It is important for these candidates to reflect whether or not the objectives of decentralization, as contemplated by the code, have been achieved. Otherwise, it is incumbent upon them to come up with programs on how to enhance further the capabilities of the LGUs in taking more proactive roles in promoting nation-building.

—REGINALD B. TAMAYO, assistant city council secretary, Marikina City