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90% of LGUs comply with open policy; 162 face axJanuary 14, 2012

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90% of LGUs comply with open policy; 162 face ax By DJ Yap Philippine Daily Inquirer Some 162 governors and mayors are facing removal from office for failing to comply with the Aquino administration’s full disclosure policy. But at least 90 percent, or 1,551, of the 1,713 provinces, cities and towns nationwide have already complied with the full disclosure policy that requires them to post their budget and other financial transactions in websites, general circulation newspapers and other conspicuous places. Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo warned local authorities who have failed to comply with the requirements of the new budget law that they make public the budget and finances of their province, city or town. Robredo said he has instructed field offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to send “show cause” orders to the executives of the local government units (LGUs) concerned to explain or else face sanctions for not complying with the provisions of the budget law, or the 2011 General Appropriations Act. Transparency campaign But some 162 LGUs have not complied and the DILG plans to make public a list of the erring local authorities as part of the department’s campaign to make local executives more transparent about their transactions, Robredo said. When pressed to name the non-compliant cities, towns and provinces, Robredo said he would ask the regional DILG offices to first make sure that all 162 really had not complied before publicizing the list. “It’s hard to undo bad publicity,” he said. Noncompliance with the full disclosure policy may mean suspension or removal from office for the officials concerned on the ground of gross negligence or dereliction of duty, under Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991. “We want to strictly adhere to the full disclosure policy because we want to uphold transparency and accountability in government and it is in keeping with President Aquino’s principles on good governance. More importantly, we hope that through this reform, we will be able to improve our services to the people,” Robredo said. Awakened LGUs According to the DILG’s accomplishment report for 2011, the high 90 percent compliance may be attributed to the “growing awakening among LGUs that good governance is synonymous with transparency.” Of the 1,551 compliant LGUs, the report noted that 72 are provinces, 132 are cities and 1,347 are towns. As for barangays, more than half, or 23,584 of 42,026, have already posted their financial reports in conspicuous places, Robredo said. “Local governments are now embracing the concept of transparency and accountability and have joined the journey towards good local governance,” he said. Good housekeeping seal Robredo said his department continued to make local government performance a top priority, noting that a total of 1,325 LGUs were conferred the “seal of good housekeeping” for showing strong performance in key local governance areas, complying with the full disclosure policy and having no adverse findings from the Commission on Audit. Of this number, 351 LGUs were given a share of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) amounting to P7 million for each high-performing province, P3 million for each city and P1 million for each municipality, he said. The money was used to support antipoverty disaster mitigation initiatives, Robredo said. “The days of mediocrity are over and from here on, strong performance shall be the cornerstone of any support that the government and development partners will provide the LGUs,” he said.

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