Model for Excellence In Local Governance

04 Dec 2017Featured Story

BY Ferdinand Zuasola

Not all local government units are created equal. Some are definitely better than others. And those who are among the best are prime movers of the government programs deemed worthy of emulation and recognition.

Not all local government units are created equal. Some are definitely better than others. And those who are among the best are prime movers of the government programs deemed worthy of emulation and recognition.

For its cutting-edge innovations, government projects that have become ‘life-changing” and a “dream come true” for the ordinary people especially the less privileged ones, the province of Davao Oriental has bagged this year’s highly prestigious Seal of Good Local Governance award. Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang says that being the sole winner in the Davao Region for its accountable, transparent, participative and effective governance, “the award truly brings an enormous pride to the people of Davao Oriental.”

In conferring the award to Davao Oriental, the Department of the Interior and Local Government says the province has become a model for excellence in local governance, describing Davao Oriental as business-friendly, competitive, environment-protective, climate change adaptive, disaster-resilient and socially-protective Local Government Unit.

The jubilant Governor Dayanghirang, who leads the campaign on transparency and accountability and good local governance, says that “When a local government unit is honest and transparent in government transactions, the delivery of basic social services is facilitated much faster. And when basic delivery of services is improved, the living condition of the people is enhanced as a consequence in the long term.”

Governor Dayangirang personally received the prestigious award at the historic Manila Hotel on November 29, 2017. As an awardee, Davao Oriental is conferred with a 2017 SGLG marker to be installed at the hall of the Provincial Capitol. Moreover, the province also received a “special distinction” after it consistently bagged the good governance awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The DILG says it is a “unique symbol or mark of outstanding achievement.”

The DILG also says that as an SGLG awardee, Davao Oriental is eligible to access the Performance Challenge Fund of the national government to finance local development initiatives in furtherance of national goals and strategic thrusts. The DILG has established an incentive-based system to recognize and incentivize good-performing LGUs all over the country. The Performance Challenge Fund has become one of the most popular merit-based programs that pursue the campaign on transparency, accountability and good local governance. Today, the PCF incentivizes LGUs with cash grants to finance high-impact development projects aligned with their Annual Investment Plan or the Local Development Investment Program.

According to DILG Officer-in-Charge, Catalino Cuy, this year’s SGLG awardees “really have to put in a lot of hard work to get the Seal, not just because it is something that will give them prestige, but more importantly, because the people deserve good governance and the quality services from the government. To the SGLG awardees, good job! Keep on making your constituents proud of your good governance achievement and happy as well for the services that you continue to deliver. We continue to encourage our local government officials to remain steadfast in bringing their provinces… at the prime.”

For 2017, the DILG raises its overall assessment criteria from “3+1” into “4+1”. Peace and Order has been added to the core areas namely, Financial Administration, Disaster Preparedness, and Social Protection. This year, a new essential area, Tourism, Culture and the Arts, is likewise introduced to measure LGU efforts along these concerns.

For Governor Dayanghirang, meaningful participation of the people is a major factor behind the success of his programs. Without the people’s support, he says, even the most compelling vision will not have any hope of turning into a reality. With his shining examples of excellence in local governance, the governor have shown that change for the better and genuine development are possible, saying that the only hindrance is the inability to think beyond one’s self. He believes that the government should operate with only the people’s interests in mind because the people are the “greatest wealth.”

The governor says he strives to lead by example, knowing that this will win over the participation of his constituents and the support of the private sector, national government agencies and non-government organizations that can multiply the benefits of sound projects. By setting the right examples for the ultimate objective of effecting a better provincial government –- a more professionalized, energized, empowered and humanized bureaucracy, a positive working attitude is inculcated especially among employees of the provincial government. The governor emphasized that if the provincial government could provide fast and honest service to the residents, tourists and investors, the local economy would improve and it would translate to improved living standards for the people.

Governor Dayanghirang says the SGLG award is testament to their achievements. He says that as a leader, one of the best rewards is the “permeation of the culture of shared governance” among his people. He is “deeply happy” that the people of Davao Oriental is now “imbibing the culture of excellence in good governance.”