Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code under Section 17 provides….
(a) Local government unit shall endeavor to be self reliant and shall continue exercising the powers and discharging the duties and functions currently vested upon them. They shall also discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them pursuant to this Code. Local government units shall likewise exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are
The main objective of RA 7160 or LGC of 1991 is local autonomy and self reliance in all aspects of local governance and administration. The Code mandates the devolution and decentralization of LGUs certain functions and responsibilities undertaken by National Government
After 15 years of implementation of the LGC, it shows that there are many issues that have to be addressed regarding the LPEs. Two issues : (1) with respect to local autonomy and (2) fiscal administration.
First- LPEs have been traditionally considered political obligations and administrative functions of LGU rather than investments for economic growth and development
Second-LPEs are part of the mainstream bureaucracy and operate subject to government regulations and procedures. These situations limit the capability and potential of the LPEs to be autonomous and self-reliant
Efficient and effective delivery of LPEs will redound to the greater benefits of the country. The efficiency and effectiveness of LGUs public service at the local level have a great impact to human development outcomes and national economic growth.
LPEs are authorized to collect fees and charges to cover costs of administration and operations. Unfortunately, almost all of them operate at a loss except for few that is properly managed.
LPEs are always part of the regular budget rather than a multi-year economic and financial investments. Historical records show that 70%-80% of LGUs annual appropriations go to administrative and recurrent expenditures.
Almost all of the existing economic enterprises are subsidized by local budget which are always unlimited. The LPEs are unsanitary, congested, fire hazards, poorly maintained-conditions that fall short of the required standards of public health and safety. These are evident in the 4 th and lower class LGUs.
The primary principle of devolution and decentralization is very clear- to unburden the national government of responsibilities of attending to the basic needs of the people by shifting the responsibilities down to the LGUs where such needs can be best carried out.
On the part of the LGUs, if the issues above have not been adequately addressed, the problems they are encountering regarding the delivery of the LPEs will not only continue to occur but will grow into unmanageable proportion
It goes without saying then that consequently the whole country will be affected worse, the LGC will prove to be a dismal failure.
The policy mandates regarding the provision of public utilities and services under the LGC are clear and complete. The LGUs have adequate authority and power under the same legal framework to execute these policies. The problems appear to be in the interpretation and application of the pertinent provisions of the LGC.
In the final analysis the magnitude and severity of socio-economic problems and administrative shortcomings will be much greater in cities and urban LGUs, particularly the urban push.
The policy issues are not difficult to confront. This is because the policy options are available easy to adopt and transform into actions. In fact a number of them are immediately doable since there are existing legal instruments and authoritative mandates, available to LGUs, particularly, the LGC, MBN/SRA, and the Constitutional mandate and empowerment of LGU.