Local government units are the first or primary points of contact between the government and the people.
Therefore, public perception of LGUs reflects the general character of the national government.
As above, so below.
And so public service excellence must begin with LGUs and go all the way up to the central government.
A sound, stable, and efficient local government system ensures overall social harmony and political integrity.
The Senate approved today on third and final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize the awarding of the Seal of Good Local Governance Program (SGLG) to push more provinces, cities and municipalities to operate with more efficiency, effectivity and accountability.
Senate Bill 1843 was sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, and co-sponsored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian. The measure was passed with 19 affirmative votes, no negative vote and zero abstention.
Angara said the bill sought to put into law the Seal of Good Governance program under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to encourage local government units to "operate more efficiently, more effectively and with more transparency and accountability."
"This program should be enshrined as law of the land, for we believe that there must always be a policy that recognizes and rewards good governance, especially when it is accomplished by our provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays," he said.
Under the current program, Angara said a "Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH)" was awarded to local government units which successfully implemented "good financial housekeeping and full disclosure policies" in accordance with Commission on Audit (COA) rules and regulations.
Successful LGUs who earned the seal were given cash grants (P1 million for towns, P3 million for cities and P7 million for provinces) from the DILG's Performance Challenge Fund. The seal also served as a requirement for LGUs before they can avail of loans from Landbank, or benefit from certain government projects.
Under the bill, the criteria for the award of the new "Seal of Good Local Governance" will be expanded from "good financial administration" to also cover 1) Health, 2) Disaster Preparedness, 3) Social Protection, 4) Peace and Order, 5) Business-Friendliness and Competitiveness, 6) Environmental Protection, 7) Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and 8) Education.