BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the conduct of a Peoples or Sectoral Congress in the city once every three years.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated that it shall be the policy of the local government to promote the active participation of its constituents, particularly the sectors of the urban poor, women, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, labor and micro and small entrepreneurs, in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies and development projects and services as one of the pillars of good governance.
The ordinance will mandate the creation of a Peoples’ Congress Committee which will be chaired by the City Mayor, co-chaired by the City vice Mayor with the City Planning and Development Officer as action officer and with the City Social Welfare and Development Officer, City Budget Officer, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Social Services and Urban Poor, Chairperson of the City Council Committee on Ways and Means, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, representative of accredited non-government organization and representative of accredited peoples’ organization as members.
Under the proposed ordinance, the committee shall set the date for the conduct of the Peoples’ Congress within 6 months after the conduct of local elections for the new term of office of local officials and it shall be conducted for a minimum of 2 days; set the general policy direction, purposes and mechanisms in the conduct of the congress; keep a record of all the proceedings and results of the said activity, collate and submit the same for appropriate information and action to the City Mayor and the City Council and invite experts and effective facilitators to assist in the activities to maximize the opportunity of drawing the best information and inputs from participants.
The ordinance stipulated that the annual budget of the City Planning and Development Office shall be adjusted to provide for the necessary funds for the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the local legislative measure.
According to the proponent, one of the reasons for the adherence to good governance is the active participation of the people, especially those considered as marginalized sectors, in the formulation of public policies and grassroots participation in the governance process can result into a more proactive and supportive constituency.
The ordinance explained that getting the sentiments of the people provides government policy-makers and development implementers as well as local legislators a guide on the proper and needed projects and services for the communities.
Likewise, the measure stated that a barometer of impact of such government policy, program and projects to the life of the constituents, especially the economically and socially marginalized will be their active participation in the conduct of sectoral gatherings where they will be able to bring out their issues and concerns that need immediate action from concerned government agencies and the local government.
Even pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 encourages the participation of the people in local governance through various means that will be determined by the concerned local government unit. By Dexter A. See