BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with the members of the Committee on Devolution here, conducted the Regional Partnership Forum: Improving Local Service Delivery through Devolution Discourse to assist the local government units (LGUs) in the region in accomplishing the Harmonization Roadmap Template (HRT) that will facilitate the harmonization of strategies in implementing the devolved programs, projects and activities (PPAs) of national government agencies with the LGU Devolution Transition Plans (DTPs).
“The Department is aware of the various challenges and concerns that local governments face. Concerns about funding, organizational structure, and capacity-building assistance are particularly noteworthy. All of these are valid and pressing concerns that must be addressed. Hence, this activity was conceptualized to become a platform for concerned regional line agencies and LGUs to discuss the PPAs to be discontinued by the NGAs and assumed by the LGUs,” said DILG CAR Assistant Regional Director Ruperto B. Maribbay during his opening message.
Adding, “Part of this activity is to facilitate the preparation and completion of the LGUs’ HRT as an integral tool in identifying the service delivery gaps during the transition period,” he said.
To recall, DILG Secretary Atty. Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr., made it clear that devolution shall be one of his main priority programs. Just a few weeks ago, no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., expressed the unwavering commitment that this administration will give in supporting LGUs in their transition towards full devolution.
Maribbay noted that Executive Order No. 138 providing for the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to LGUs is already in the process of being amended to accommodate the issues and concerns expressed by the LGU stakeholders through their different leagues.
“Last year, our department launched and carried out the first phase of DTP Analytics. Our department used this method to assess the completeness, coherence, and consistency of the LGU DTPs. This partnership forum is a continuation of the DTP analytics done last year,” he explained.
Development Management Officer Gerald Duagan explained that the HRT will serve as a reference to bridge information gap between the LGU DTPs and the PPAs to be devolved by national government agencies (NGAs).
“The harmonization road mapping is designed to reflect the realities of gradually transitioning the PPAs to the LGUs, which means that NGAs are aware that not all LGUs will be able to absorb and implement the PPAs in CY 2023,” he said.
Adding, “The LGUs’ respective harmonization roadmaps are essential to provide concrete data on their assessment (capacity and commitment) to take on the PPAs, functions and services,” he said.
In her message, Regional Director Araceli San Jose underscored the importance of evaluating how far LGUs have come in realizing the plans they have outlined in their respective DTPs and how the steep changes have impacted their internal processes.
“We recognize the importance of avenues like this where we can engage in conversation between and among our LGUs and National Government Agencies to ensure that our plans are aligned to achieve our broader developmental goals. This is why we enjoin our LGUs to take the time to accomplish this tool within the prescribed timeline so that our NGAs will better understand the realities on the ground.,” she said.
She also emphasized that DTPs are documents not set in stone. Noting that, “As planners and developmental managers, we must be able to adapt and adjust to the prevailing conditions. Let’s open a dialogue with our local chief executives and other concerned officials to revisit our DTPs,” she said.
“This is also an equally important time for NGAs to step up and provide guidance and oversight to our LGUs. On the part of the DILG, we remain relentless in our pursuit to ensure that adequate support is given to all LGUs. We assure you that your concerns will be raised to the Committee on Devolution and other concerned agencies and we are optimistic that these will be addressed in the soonest possible time,” RD San Jose said.
This activity was participated by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, National Nutrition Council, Commission on Population, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry and National Irrigation Administration. By PMTG