New benchmarking tool for poverty reduction
President Duterte signed into law an act institutionalizing the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), or Republic Act No. 11292, in April 2019.
The SGLG refers to “an award, incentive, honor and recognition-based program for all [local government units], and is a continuing commitment for LGUs (local government units) to progress and improve their performance.”
The SGLG has seven governance areas, namely: financial administration; disaster preparedness; social protection; peace and order; business friendliness and competitiveness; environmental protection; and tourism, culture and the arts.
In 2018, 263 LGUs got the SGLG—17 out of 81 provinces, 39 cities (out of 145) and 207 towns (out of 1,489)—a lower number compared to 448 the previous year.
Recipients of the SGLG will be eligible for the Performance Challenge Fund to finance their local development initiatives and will have an access to other programs and capacity development assistance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año explained that for SGLG 2019, there were refinements in the governance criteria:
Financial administration: Compliance with good financial housekeeping, and related matters
Disaster preparedness: A convened provincial disaster risk reduction and management council and a contingency plan for the top two high risk
Social protection: At least 50 percent of LGU-run provincial hospitals are Philhealth accredited and at least 50 percent of LGU-run city hospitals are Philhealth-accredited for maternity care package, primary care benefits and tuberculosis.
Peace and order: LGUs to pass the peace and order performance audit rating.
Environmental protection: LGUs must convene their solid waste management board.
Awardees by provinces
There were only 17 provinces awarded the SGLG, dominated by Luzon with 12, Visayas with three and Mindanao with only two.
Awardees by municipalities in poor provinces
In this analysis, 15 poorest provinces were selected. They had a poverty incidence average of 43 percent, which was twice the national level.
Ten out of the 15 performed below par. Municipalities in four provinces did not even receive any award.
SGLG is a trailblazing initiative. Still, it will be an uphill climb getting even half of the country achieve gains.
In 2018, only one out of seven municipalities received the award.
Of the 15 poor provinces, only two obtained the award. These provinces and municipalities are heavily agriculture-dependent. Thus, agriculture productivity has a strategic role to play.
The country has a new set of LGU officials. How will they perform in poverty alleviation and SGLG? I await the 2018 numbers from Philippine Statistics Authority and the SGLG in the succeeding years.
The officials owe the people so much given their new mandate. Their election into office is not an entitlement—but a means for them to become stewards.
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