Escudero eyes amendments to Local Government Code

By Mar S. Arguelles


Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Wednesday, Aug. 25, said that there is now a need to amend some provisions in the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC) to give more authority to local chief executives to implement projects that will be more responsive especially in the face of the health and economic crisis.


Escudero in a press statement said that the current public health crisis highlighted the need to change some provisions of Republic Act 7160 to enable local government units (LGUs) to carry out their mandate independently and efficiently, and not based on national policies that are detached from the realities on the ground.


He said that under the LGC local chief executives rely much on the action and the decision of the national government, blocking the decision-making process of many local chief executives in carrying out their mandate independently and efficiently, and not based on national policies that are detached from the realities on the ground.


“Ang una kong nadiskubre ay marami pala kaming batas na pinasa noong matagal nang panahon na hindi na applicable sa panawagan ng panahon at dapat gawin ng isang LGU,” said Escudero, a veteran legislator. “Mas alam ng local government chief executive ang kailangan ng kanyang lugar kaysa sinumang kalihim na tinatanaw lang tayo mula sa malayo.”


Rather than giving autonomy to LGUs under the devolved government system as envisioned by the law, he said, local government chief executives still need to secure the nod of government line agencies on matters like budget, hiring, and health, among others.


“Yung Local Government Code parang nilagay o nilagyan ng tanikala o chain yung mga local government units at local chief executives. Hindi kami maka-decide na akala ko ba eh debolusyon ‘yan?” he asked.


Escudero cited the case of budget appropriation, which to some extent, requires the approval of the national government even if the source comes from the LGU, including the Internal Revenue Allotment.


He also mentioned that even the creation of additional headcount or the right-sizing of the local bureaucracy must secure the nod of the Civil Service Commission, as well as health services, which implementation must get the go signal of the Department of Health (DOH).


Escudero said he will combine his executive and legislative experience to pass consensus-based legislation to uplift the economy and help LGUs recover steadily from the harsh impact of the pandemic, as he predicted the economic situation to be worse next year than what the Filipino people are experiencing now.