PINIYALAN 2013: Getting to know the Local Government: Role of Sangguniang Bayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/11 August) (Highlights of the August 10 episode of PINIYALAN 2013: A Reporting Governance Project between Bukidnon News and DXDB Radyo Bandilyo)

-Mr. Walter Balane, editor in chief of Bukidnon News; co-chair of Piniyalan 2013-2016 was the main sharer. He discussed that the program Piniyalan 2013-2016 is a Reporting Governance project by Bukidnon News and DXDB.

-Its main thrusts include monitoring, documentation, reporting and public education on good governance. The focus on good governance by the two media organizations is to help push for transparent and open governance, which are requirements for full people’s participation in local governance.

-Mr. Balane also discussed the roles of Sangguniang Bayan; mainly to approve and pass resolutions and ordinances. Last week on Piniyalan, they discussed the roles and duties of the mayors, including what they can and cannot do.

-He stressed that a core aspect of local law making is the process of interaction between the local legislative body, the executive, and the stakeholders including the citizens. This could come in the form of consultation like those in committee or public hearings.

-He added that the traditional way to describe local legislation is: it is the power of the Sanggunian to approve or pass resolutions and ordinances.

-But he stressed that the Local Government Academy and the Local Government Support Program Toolkit on the subject said: it is the interaction among stakeholders through consultations with the resolutions and ordinances as outputs of the interaction.

-The Sanggunian is responsible to pass the resolutions and ordinances BUT they need to do so in consultation with the people.  (Editor’s Note: An important aspect also is to look at it in the eyes of the principle of check and balance – between the executive and the legislative bodies.)

-Mr. Balane explained that journalists’ work cover the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. It is important for the people to understand the role of the local government. That is why it is extremely important for Piniyalan, a Reporting Governance project to discuss it in the hope that with knowledge and understanding, the citizens will have more capacity to monitor, document, report and participate in local governance.

-He also focused the discussion on the barangay consultation in Impalautao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon for the proposed Minahan ng Bayan. He said consultations should be open, not only physically but also in the method through which the participants can grasp the subject, so they can actively participate. He said the holding of the consultation is mandatory and commended the organizers. But he stressed that it should be more open and facilitative – to enable participants to get at the bottom of the issue.

-On the question of Ana Cotling, a student of San Isidro College, “If the vice mayor will build up a project, is it necessary to consult at the legislative sector?” Mr. Balane said the vice mayor’s main role is to preside in the session rather than make projects; he added that since legislators have special projects funds or local pork barrels so they can create projects   – but should be consulted as well.

-Anisa Kim Labrador, also a student of San Isidro College and leader of the San Isidro College education council asked if an ordinance need to be passed first as a resolution. Mr. Balane answered that it is not needed. Although many resolutions had to be reinforced and needed to be passed again as ordinances.

-Fr. Oliver Verdejo, DXDB station director and co-chair of Piniyalan, stressed the need to know and understand the duties of government for the people to participate during the reflection. He also cited that humility is important for someone who wants to learn. (With reports from Clarisse Jem Labis/Bukidnon News Volunteer for the Piniyalan 2013 Public Education and Reportage Committees)