The Local Government Leadership Award (LGLA).(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Article excerpt

ON October 17, the awarding ceremonies for 19 outstanding local government leaders will take place at the Senate Hall with Senate President Franklin Drilon who will confer the awards together with Senator Aquilino Pimentel.

From the 19 leaders, the National Selection Committee has chosen the Most Outstanding Governor, Most Outstanding City Mayor and Most Outstanding Municipal Mayor. The Awards Process was a very rigorous one. It entailed validation and crossvalidation of documents. One candidate remarked that he has a great deal of respect for the Award because the sponsoring agencies are credible. Besides, one did not have to pay the awards-giver in order to be nominated. He recalled that in some of the previous awards activities one had to provide a cash contribution to be considered. The entire LGLA process had taken over a year - from the development of criteria and methodologies in conducting the search process to actual nominations which came out with an original list of 128 nominees in the three categories; meetings with the National Selection Committee, site validation, ranking process, presentation of site validation, drawing up of the final list and final interviews with the 19 finalists - 4 governors, 5 city mayors, and 10 municipal mayors. When one considers that they have been selected from all mayors of 1,400 municipalities, 114 cities, and governors from 79 provinces, making it to the short list can be regarded as no mean achievement. Much of the technical work was done by representatives of the sponsoring agencies - Office of Senator Pimentel, University of the Philippines, Department of Interior and Local Government, Center for Local and Regional Governance NCPAG-UP, Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy, NCPAG-UP, La Salle Institute of Governance DLSU, and Local Government Academy DILG. The directors of these institutions served as ex-officio members and assisted the National Selection Committee which consisted of Senator Pimentel, DILG Secretary Jose Lina, Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, Mayor Jesse Robredo, Dr. Jose Abueva, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, Mr. Dodie Lacuna representing KBP, Sandra Paredes of ULAP, and this columnist.

Most nominators came from nongovernment organizations and local academic institutions involved in development. Seven criteria were used by the committee in evaluating the candidates namely, transparency, accountability, participatory, rule of law, organization and management, continuity and sustainability and service delivery. During the site validation, members of the technical committee interviewed the nominee, evaluated the various projects and programs and validated observations with members of the community. The Selection Committee likewise considered human development indicators - functional literacy, health, child survival and development, women's participation in development and the like. The ability to draw up a clear vision and a viable and sustainable implementation strategy and to respond to difficult challenges was given considerable weight.

The interview period provided the Selection Committee a most rewarding learning experience. Since the finalists or their municipalities or provinces have earlier been recipients of awards, the interviews focused on what they have accomplished beyond the expected duties and responsibilities and what they consider their important legacy in governance, their views of federalism and ways of improving autonomy of local government. Examples included the creative organization of mechanisms for government-people consultation, how they have utilized existing community organizations and the existing community media in bringing the community closer to government (one described how a community-managed and owned radio station provides forum for the Sangunnian Bayan in their deliberation on local legislation); how they utilized computers to improve transparency and accountability, how their style of governance brought about harmonious relations between nongovernment organizations, the business sector and government; innovative methods in increasing local government revenues and savings; coastal resource management especially in campaign against illegal fishing and the generation of alternative livelihood enterprises, to ensure food security and employment, provision of safety nets for women and children, enhancing relationships between various ethnic groups, peace and order and drug campaign programs, and mechanisms in empowering the community. …