WITH the election season just around the corner even if the campaign period has yet to officially begin, perhaps it would do poor Juan de la Cruz good if we discuss some basic matters that have to do with the functions of our political leaders who are now crazy about chasing their seats in their respective corridors of power.
First off, let’s talk about the “boss” in our own localities. One cannot ignore how much power a mayor or governor wields as he/she occupies the highest elective position in a town, city or province. Elected for three-year term and allowed only three consecutive terms, the chief executive is responsible for charting the course of his community, a task that requires him/her to do a variety of roles.
The mayor or governor heads the executive branch and has jurisdiction over all national government agencies in his/her area of jurisdiction. He/She implements all ordinances and applicable provincial (except for independent component city, such as Naga) and national laws and statutes.
As supervisor and controller, the mayor or governor ensures that all employees at the town/city hall and the capitol have varied work targets over a period of time, and that they perform their targets effectively and efficiently. He/She also ensures that barangay chairpersons are doing their jobs as prescribed by law.
As law and ordinance enforcer, he/she ensures that law enforcement agencies are performing their jobs in maintaining law and order, and sustaining a peaceful and safe environment for the local citizenry; sees to it that criminals and other law breakers, including insurgents, are meted penalties and punishments by the appropriate laws and ordinances.
As resource mobilizer and user, the mayor or governor ensures that the town, city or province is able to access and generate the necessary financial requirements and other resources to implement the municipal, city and provincial development agenda. He/She must make sure that the town, city or province receives the annual national government allocation or the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and that the local government unit is able to impose and collect taxes and secure grants and/or loans from financial sources within and outside the municipality, city or province. He also ensures that all these resources are effectively and efficiently used for the general welfare.
As orchestrator of basic services and facilities delivery, the mayor or governor oversees the preparation and implementation of a municipal, city, or provincial development plan that addresses the needs and problems of the local constituency. He/She ensures that basic services and facilities devolved to the local government units (health and hospital services and social welfare, for instance) are implemented properly.
It cannot be ignored that above much else, the orientation, entire makeup, and various interests backing the mayor or governor and his set of officials determine the direction the community will take.
It is at this point that the citizenry, particularly the electorate, must choose their mayor or governor well and must continue to be alert and participative even after the elections, so that the citizen, especially the ordinary ones, will have a voice inside the local government hall or the provincial capitol. More often, any local government is only as good as the people who will be governed and how.