Sec. Robredo, LGUs and full disclosure of their financial transactions

MALAYBALAY CITY  (Bukidnon News/21 August) As soon as he took over as the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Sec. Jesse Robredo ordered institutional reforms in local governance, among the most noteworthy is the full disclosure of LGU financial transactions, DILG Bukidnon provincial director Ronelo Alvarez said.

Alvarez told this reporter via telephone the reform helped change the image of local government units in terms of transparency and accountability.

“Of course many local governments reacted to the issuance so he did not become so popular. But he insisted,” Alvarez added.

Manila-based news media reported that technical divers recovered the body of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo Tuesday morning. His body was found 800 meters from the shore at a depth of 180 feet at 7:45 a.m .

The remains of the Department of Interior and Local Government chief has been pulled from the fuselage and brought by rubber boat to one of Philippine Coast Guard’s vessels. It is now on its way to Naga City, Transportation and Communication Sec. Mar Roxas said. The body was recovered three days after the plane carrying Robredo from Cebu to Naga last Saturday crashed off Masbate shore.

He added that on Aug. 31, 2010, Robredo ordered the release of guidelines for the implementation of full disclosure local governments from barangay to provincial level to post documents of their transactions for public scrutiny,

Alvarez cited that recently Sec. Robredo made mayors of one municipality each in Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental to explain why they refused to follow the guidelines.

In requiring full disclosure, Robredo ordered LGUs to publicly disclose their financial transactions by posting them in conspicuous places within their localities, or published in newspapers of general circulation and in their websites.

“This is part of our effort to aggressively scale up interventions to elevate the practice of good governance that values transparency, accountability, participation and performance,” said Robredo during the signing of the memorandum circular in the presence of representatives of the Leagues of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities, civil society organizations and other  non-government organizations at the DILG central office in Quezon City back in 2010, as quoted in a report in the DILG website.

Robredo cited the Local Government Code of 1991 and Republic Act 9184 the Government Procurement Reform Act, which mandated the full disclosure of local budget and finances, and bids and public offerings.

In Sec. 354 of the local government code, the government required the posting within 30 days from the end of each fiscal year in at least three publicly accessible and conspicuous places in the local government unit a summary of all revenues collected and funds received including the appropriations and disbursements of such funds during the preceding fiscal year.

RA 9184 , on the other hand, requires posting of the invitation to bid, notice of award, notice to proceed and approved contract in the procuring entity’s premises, in newspapers of general circulation, the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and the website of the procuring entity.

With the DILG guidelines, governors, city and municipal mayors were directed to publicly disclose their transactions particularly their annual budget with items  as to personal services, maintenance and operating expenses and capital outlay; quarterly statement of cash flows; CY 2009 statement of receipts and expenditures; CY 2010 trust fund utilization; special education fund utilization; 20% component of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) utilization; gender and development fund; statement of debt service; annual procurement plan; items to bid; bid results on civil works, and goods and services; and abstract of bids as calculated.

For LGUs with no website, Robredo said then that they must post such financial transactions through the DILG regional office website or the DILG central office website.

“Full disclosure will pave the way for local residents to share their efforts in bringing about desirable development outcomes for their localities. After all, development is a shared responsibility,” he said.

Robredo, as quoted in the report, directed the DILG regional directors to monitor local governments compliance with his directive and to submit compliance report to his office, even as he warned local chief executives that non-compliance with the directive shall be dealt with in accordance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations.

Alvarez said Sec. Robredo also introduced the “Seal of Good Housekeeping” as performance incentives for LGUs that performed well in different governance indicators. LGUs that obtain the seal receive incentive funds for local projects.  (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)