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Sep 15th
Home Columns Ike Señeres Rationalizing Provincial-Development Planning
Rationalizing Provincial-Development Planning PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 21:46


No Holds Barred (075)

By Ike Señeres


Rationalizing Provincial-Development Planning


W ith a new batch of provincial governors either elected or reelected, the provinces now have a fresh opportunity to plan or re-plan the course of their local development, as the case may be. As they face this new or renewed challenge, they also have to reckon with the additional tasks of dealing with both climate change and global warming.


In theory, the provincial governments are supposed to organize and work with the so-called Provincial Development Councils (PDCs), but in actual practice, it is unfortunate to note that many PDCs are not operational, and even if they are, they seem to be lagging behind in their work. It is now up to the local people to demand for the activation of their own PDCs, that is if they want any development to happen in their own provinces.


I believe that there is something that is fundamentally wrong in the present structure of the PDCs. The mayors of component cities and towns are supposed to be members, but there seems to be no apparent consciousness that they are attending the meetings (if they do) not as individual persons, but as heads of their official city or town delegations.


In the Local Government Code (LGC), the “towns” are referred to as the “municipalities”, but I will write here again, as I have always written, that we need to use “municipalities” as the collective term to refer to both the cities and the towns. There is also trouble in the use of the term technical “component”, because it excludes the so-called “chartered” cities, even if they are physically located within the province.


For all intents and purposes, the PDC is supposed to be the clearing house of all municipal development plans (hence the need for a collective term), prior to the integration of the provincial development plans, in preparation for submission to the Regional Development Councils (RDCs). In turn, the RDCs are supposed to prepare their own regional development plans.


How in the world could the PDC prepare a real comprehensive and a fully integrated provincial development plan if the chartered cities are not part of their rounds of meetings? Even if the legal fiction exists that the chartered cities are technically not part of the provinces, how could they deny the fact that the chartered cities are economically, biologically and geographically part of their physical province?


The LGC stipulates that the Congressman or his representative is supposed to be a member of the PDC. It is unbelievable, but the law actually gives the Congressman the built-in excuse not to attend the PDC meetings, leaving him out of any substantive discussions that are directly related to the integrated development planning of his own constituency.


In theory, the Countryside Development Fund (CDF) is supposed to a remedial fund that will address the local needs of a congressional constituency that could not be “seen” or “appreciated” by Congress as a whole. If that is really the case, then why not subject the CDF to the disposition of the PDC, instead of the subjective determination of the Congressman?


IRAs Are Supposed to Fund Local Development Plans


By design, the municipal development plans are supposed to be funded by the Internal Revenue Allocations (IRAs) of the municipalities (this being my suggested collective term). In reality,  however, the IRAs are almost always not enough to fund the local needs, hence the suggestion that it should be beefed up by the CDF.


Also by design, the LGC allows the municipalities to enter into creative-financing options in order to finance the components of their municipal-development plans that could not be funded by their own revenue collections, and by their IRAs. These options include joint-venture agreements (JVAs) with the private sector, and the build-operate-transfer (BOT) schemes (there are several such schemes).


By now, it should be known to all municipal and provincial officials that the business process outsourcing (BPO) approach is working very well for the private sector. Since for all intents and purposes the BPO scheme is allowed under the LGC, they should now look into this additional option. The BPO approach makes good sense for them, because it would free them from the need to buy their own equipment and to hire their own additional staff.


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