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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Robredo urges local officials to “think out of the box”

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo today (October 10) urged local government officials to “think out of the box” and not to rely too much on their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to fund their local development projects.

“Local leaders need to think out of the box – and make sure they don’t get into another box. Find ways to mobilize resources. Innovate,” Robredo said in his keynote speech at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Local Government Code held at the PICC in Pasay City this morning under the DILG’s Biyaheng Pinoy: Tapat na Palakad, Bayan Maunlad program.

“It is time for LGUs to look beyond the IRA for funding, as it is an unpredictable amount at best,” he added, noting that the national budget increases from year to year, but the IRA continues to shrink.

During his speech entitled “Dalawampung Taong Paglalakbay: The Continuing Executive Agenda for Local Governments”, Robredo also urged LGU officials to strive for the Seal of Good Housekeeping and continue the journey towards excellence in local governance.

The DILG secretary said the way to continue the journey to excellence is to make sure that performance - measured objectively – is the basis for rewards, and inability to perform is the basis for penalties and sanctions.

“The greatness of this nation rests on the excellence of local government units; hence, LGUs should continuously up their games by improving their competencies and institutionalizing reforms in their systems in order to serve their people well,” he added.

Last year, around 75 percent of the more than 1,600 provinces, cities and municipalities in the country have been conferred with the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) for showing excellence in key local governance areas.

Robredo, however, said that the performance metrics and requirements for compliance to the SGH become more difficult this year as the SGH enters the second grade and further on to higher grades in the coming years.

“The SGH and the Local Government Code are legal requirements – they are not suggestions. Hence, while we have a system of rewarding our LGUs, we also have a measure to make LGUs accountable for their slippages,” he said.

This year, he also said, a total of P500-million have been awarded to good LGU performers through the Performance Challenge Fund, and this will be increased to P750-million next year. Julian Meneses, PAO-DILG

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