MANILA, Philippines – After almost 30 years of service, the Local Government Academy (LGA) is still in the business of providing capacity development solutions to improve local governance in the Philippines.
For the most part, this is because of its emphasis on experiential and peer to peer learning. To continue in this vein, the LGA launched two more programs to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Local Government Code of 1991.
The first, the Mentoring for Optimal Leadership and Development NEOs Program (MOLD the NEOs Program), pairs local chief executives with more experienced officials to learn more effective leadership strategies.
The other is the Innovative Solutions Bank, which gives local government units (LGU) the opportunity to replicate another community’s successful policies.
LGA Executive Director Marivel Sacendoncillo explained how they would work: “It is about both levels of building capacities: individual and institutional. So the Innovative Solutions Bank is institutional and MOLD is individual, but it utilizes a blend of knowledge and experience.”
Both were introduced to the public during “CapDev Solutions: #25ANDBEYOND”, held on October 27, 2016. It was launched alongside other capacity development initiatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
MOLD-ing better local leaders
During the launch, the first batch of mentors and mentees began their participation in the mentoring program by signing the mentoring agreement.
Under the program, the participants decide on their ideal schedule, and mentors will visit their mentees’ LGU to assess the community’s needs and current capacity. The mentee can then turn to their mentors when they need guidance. The LGA will receive regular reports from the mentors to monitor progress.
LGA paired the mentors and mentees based on a questionnaire distributed to participants during the signups.
Sacendoncillo, Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero, DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno agreed that mentoring would be the most effective way of tackling the learning needs of the newly-elected officials.
Quoting Sueno, Panadero told the audience in Filipino, “We believe that, sometimes, the most effective trainers for each [local official] are also fellow local governments.”
Banking on innovative solutions
Based on its future plans, the LGA intends to target two aspects of local governance: leadership skills and replicable policies.
While the MOLD the NEOs Program gives peer to peer leadership training, the LGA’s other new program, the Innovative Solutions Bank, creates a system for LGU to LGU policy reproduction.
During the launch, Sacendoncillo named the first 3 LGUs who “deposited” their solutions in the bank: Quezon City for its anti-drug and rehabilitation campaign, Tagum City for regulatory simplification, and Barangay Hingatungan from Silago, Leyte for their work in katarungang pambarangay, or barangay justice system.
Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said the large number of drug users and drug dependents since the beginning of the national anti-drug campaign led to the creation of their Katok ng Pagbabago (Knock of Change) program.
“In local governments, after law enforcement finishes capturing drug users or asking people to voluntarily surrender, they turn over surrenderees [sic] to the local government,” she explained in Filipino.
Their solution was to create an “integrated drug abuse profiling system,” which uses data to monitor people who have surrendered and their recovery from dependency as well as the city’s intervention programs. Once cleared, the city government trains them and provides job opportunities.
Replication, whether of leadership strategies or creative solutions, is just one of the ways the LGA has changed the game in capacity development. As it pivots to creating an entirely new playing field, Filipinos will be interested to see how they will anticipate the future of local governance and what they will do to shape it.
You can also view photos from the launch here