Local Government

Local Government Units refers to a political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs and as stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, specifically Article X, Sec. 2, that this territorial and political subdivision shall enjoy local autonomy. Thus, Local Governments exercise certain basic powers like police power, power of eminent domain, and taxing power so as to best serve the interest and promote the general well-being of their respective constituents.

In order for the autonomy of Local Government to operate, the national government transfers these basic powers to the local governments to allow maximum participation of the citizens in governmental and community activities by what we call decentralization that is found in Article X, Section 3 of the Constitution where the enactment of the local government code is also stated. The granting of local autonomy is justified by the reason of being a unitary State of the Philippines.

But although the Local Government has autonomy from the National Government, the latter still exercises general supervision over the Local Government. As stipulated in the constitution, the National Government has the power of general supervision. Article X, Section 4 specifically states this power: ‘Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments.

Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their components units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions. ’ The Constitution vests the President with the power of supervision, not control, over local government units (LGUs). Such power enables him to see to it that LGUs and their officials execute their tasks in accordance with law that can ensure that the local officials of the Local Government Units are really doing their delegated tasks.

On the other hand, while the president may issue advisories and seek their cooperation in solving economic difficulties, he cannot prevent them from performing their tasks and using available resources to achieve their goals. He may not withhold or alter any authority or power given them by the law. The power of general of supervision over the Local Government Units is done through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has the function of assisting the President in the exercise of the general supervision over local governments.

It also advices the President In the promulgation of policies, rules, regulations and other issuances on the general supervision over local governments and the promotion of local autonomy and community empowerment and compliance thereof. In addition, it provide assistance towards legislation regarding local governments, law enforcement and public safety as well as establish and prescribe plans, policies, programs and projects to promote peace and order, ensure public safety and further strengthen the administrative, technical and fiscal capabilities of local government offices and personnel.

The said institution also establishes a system of coordination and cooperation among the citizenry, local executives and the Department, to ensure effective and efficient delivery of basic services to the public. It is also mandated to establish plans, policies and programs that will strengthen the technical, fiscal and administrative capabilities of local governments, as well as formulate the operational guidelines of the local development planning process.

In compliance with this mandate, the DILG commissioned the development of the Rationalized Local Planning System (RPS) as the framework for local planning. And based on the aforementioned, I believe that decentralization helps the Local Government in its development, and in turn for the whole country, as the Local Government Units are the building blocks of the entire government of the Philippines. Decentralization benefitted the Local Government; First, local officials may offer better access and convenience, by placing government institutions directly within their constituents.

It creates more opportunities for public participation; involvement would create opportunities, promote employment and economic activities and as well strengthen people’s participation in the affairs of the government. Local governments can at the same time be more responsive and adaptable to local conditions, resulting in higher effectiveness. Decentralization, in addition, will promote or allow fuller participation of the citizens in government affairs and will give the local governments and the communities a more active role in the economic, social and political development.

By decentralization, the National Government is giving the Local Government to cope with their own problems by means of their own resources and skills. Thus it strengthens the capability of the Local Governments by letting them govern their own affairs. With a minimum of assistance from the National Government, it helps them to be keener on the development of their own community. With greater powers and function delegated to the Local Government, they can now achieve their objectives and goals by all means and without restrictions.

As the National Government only exercises general supervision over the Local Government Units it can result for the former to have more time to deal with more important issues that our country is facing, considering the autonomy given to the Local Government. The Local Government Units is now the one steering their own affairs, business, dealings and problems with only limited help from the National Government.