BARANGAY LEGISLATION: Naga ENABL2E convened for outstanding SB award

By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- Unspoiled by the various accolades and honors it has received for its nationally-acclaimed and internationally-recognized governance practices, the city government of Naga continues to institutionalize various innovative programs that promote transparency, accountability and people-participation in its governance practices. The city government has more than 175 regional, national and international awards and other citations and is now considered as a center of good governance in the country. By launching the ENABL²E program last August 3, this year, the LGU’s intention to expand its good governance practices and mainstreaming their processes and system was cascaded down to the city’s 27 barangays, the government’s basic political units that are in the frontline of delivering basic government services, particularly in the grassroots level. The program is embodied in City Ordinance 2014-008, which was introduced by Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion and sponsored by City Councilors Vidal P. Castillo, Elmer S. Baldemoro, and Esteban Greg R. Abonal III. It was approved by Mayor John G. Bongat in February 2014. Councilor Vidal Castillo said ENABL²E has 4 components: the first is the Conference on Barangay Legislation, a one-day seminar for barangay officials that is going to be held tomorrow, August 10, this year, at The Tent, Avenue Plaza Hotel. The second is the SP Watch, wherein barangay officials will be given the opportunity to watch and observe proceedings of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s regular session, and the third is the SP Forum, a 30-minute interaction between the city and barangay officials for them (barangay officials) to clarify procedural measures of the Sanggunian. The fourth one, the program’s highlight, is The Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Award that serves as the LGU’s facility to recognize barangay councils that have demonstrated exemplary performance in enacting legislative measures that bring about sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development in their respective communities. The award also serves as the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the ENABL2E Program. No official dates have yet been set by the Sangguniang Panlungsod secretariat for the conduct of the activities lined up except for the Conference on Barangay Legislation. The measure’s explanatory note states that the implementation of the ENABL²E program has been found necessary in seeing to it that elected barangay officials are highly proficient, effective and well-equipped in performing their duties, most especially in crafting relevant legislations and rational regulatory policies. Sangguniang Kabataan chairman Rey John Saniel of Barangay Sta. Cruz, here, said: “For us, youth officials, the ENABL²E program serves as avenue to come up with plans that are not only limited to sports and entertainment as what the youth and SKs were generally identified with in past years. Maybe, we can create programs that would allow us to provide educational assistance, conduct seminars and organize trainings that will allow the youth in the barangays to improve their skills.” Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion said that “it is also expected that thru the implementation of the program, the development of new approaches and mechanisms for the advancement of the principles of good governance, and the strengthening further of partnership among and between the different stakeholders of the city will be achieved.” Specifically, the program aims to: 1. Enhance the awareness of barangay officials on their functions, duties and obligations as local legislators; 2. Educate barangay officials on the various legislative procedures needed in crafting responsive legislation and rational regulatory policies; 3. Engage the barangay officials in promoting transparency, accountability and people-participation in governance processes; and, 4. Strengthen the partnership between and among the officials of the city government and of the 27 barangay governments of Naga City. In the aspect of criteria selection, the Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Award shall be conferred to barangay councils with the highest scores on: 1. Effectiveness of legislative agenda 2. Effectiveness of the legislative tracking system 3. Availability of legislative documents, and; 4. Efficiency of performance of the Sangguniang Barangay The Outstanding Barangay Awards committee is composed of the Secretary to the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Director of DILG-Naga City, Director of Jesse M. Robredo Governance Institute, Representative from the Academe, to be appointed by the mayor, and a representative from the Private Sector, to be appointed by the mayor. Among the tasks that the Awards committee has to perform are: conduct random visitation and observation of the deliberations (sessions or committee hearings or both) being conducted by the 27 barangay councils; review, validate, evaluate and select the Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Awardees following the criteria established in the ordinance and guidelines set by the committee and, plan and conduct a prestigious Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Awards Presentation, the date of which shall be determined by the Vice Mayor in consultation with the other members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.