A Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) executive on Wednesday said the Local Government Code of 1991 must be amended to complete the devolution of powers from the national government to the local government units (LGUs).
During a press conference for the kick-off of Development Policy Research Month, Undersecretary Marivel Sacendoncillo said amending the said law will enhance the capacities of LGUs and consequently allow them to practice good local governance.
“The Local Government Code of 1991 should have been amended after five years, as the law provided, but it was never subjected to these amendments. May mga papichi-pichi lang na amendments, but it was not really an omnibus amendment. So the devolution, until now after 28 years, is not completed,” Sacendoncillo said.
“Their role in delivering basic services, creating vibrant local economies, developing resilient communities, maintaining peace and security in their localities, and improving the quality of lives of their constituencies are only possible if good local governance prevails,” she added.
Sacendoncillo noted that there are still a number of basic government services, such as the control of resources, that are performed directly by national agencies and not given to local governments.
The DILG exec urged the need to “provide an environment for LGUs to take local actions and maximize results.”
“How can the local governments address, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals on the ground if the agencies of the bureaucracy at the national level are working independently of each other—working at different targets, prioritizing different areas, and implementing duplicating programs?” she asked.
The Local Government Code of 1991, which empowered LGUs, was pioneered by the late Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
Section 521 of the code mandates Congress to “undertake a mandatory review of this Code at least once every five years and as often as it may deem necessary,” but no major amendments have been made to the law since it was enacted. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News