During his 18 years
as mayor of Naga City, current Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was always known
as a champion of transparency, accountability and people participation. One just has to visit their city’s official
website to see that all financial transactions, biddings and purchases made by the city government are posted for the general
public to see and scrutinize.
Aside from this, Robredo also institutionalized the formation
of the Naga City People’s Council (NCPC), an organization composed of representatives from different NGOs, business
groups and private organizations whose main task is to work with the local government to ensure that proper consultation is
always done before major decisions are made.
These best practices in good governance has led to the transformation
of Naga as the most progressive city in the Bicol region and has also garnered for the city more than 100 national and international
awards. Robredo was also the first local government leader in the Philippines to receive the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award
for Government Service.
Thus, it was no wonder that during his first few months in office
as DILG Secretary, Robredo made it a priority to issue a memorandum circular requiring all local government units to fully
disclose their budget and how they are spending it to their constituents. Clearly, this initiative is in line with the campaign
promise of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to curb graft and corruption through the promotion of transparency
and public accountability.
As a show of support for this laudable initiative by the DILG
to bring much needed reforms in our local government units, the House of Representatives and the Senate both approved the
inclusion of this provision in the General Appropriations Act for the 2011 budget.
Harvey S. Keh