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MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to improving local governance, tide and time wait for no man.

The Local Government Academy (LGA), however, prefers to stay ahead of its time, so it has chosen to launch two programs on the 25th anniversary of the Local Government Code.

On October 27, 2016, the LGA will properly introduce the public to the Innovative Solutions Bank and the Mentoring for Optimal Leadership and Development NEOs Program (MOLD the NEOs Program).

LGA Executive Director Marivel C. Sacendoncillo hailed the two as “innovative capacity development solutions” and would be one of the firsts in the country.

Under the Innovative Solutions Bank, one LGU will be given the training to replicate selected policies of another LGU. For the launch, the LGA identified Quezon City’s initiatives in easing business processes, and the city will be paired with other LGUs interested in copying their method.

The MOLD the NEOs Program on the other hand will pair local chief executives like mayors and governors with more experienced officials to learn more effective leadership strategies. The LGA assessed the current situations of the participants to match them with officials who faced similar challenges.

“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...towards the fulfillment of the country’s dreams,” explained Sacendoncillo.

MOLD the NEOs and the Innovative Solutions Bank will be launched together with other initiatives covering local finances and transparency. The event will be from 9:30 to 11:30 in the morning with a press conference after.

What has happened over the past 25 years?

When President Corazon Aquino signed the Local Government Code in 1991, she formally established the system of local governance in the country and how it would interact with the national government.

The code devolved responsibilities to the LGUs and, since then, laws and policies have been geared towards allowing local officials to take the lead in development and social and environmental protection.

Today, local governments have maximized the frontiers the Local Government Code presented by turning to partnerships with local and foreign businesses as well as international organizations.

In Bohol, the provincial government received training from groups in the United States and aid from the Official Development Assistance. Even the town of Tanauan in Leyte, which was flattened by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) was able to recover and move forward because it took advantage of aid and outside investments.

LGUs have also been at the forefront of protecting vulnerable communities.

Carmona Mayor Dahlia Loyola received the Special Award during the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards for her work in making the Cavite town more accessible to persons with disabilities (PWD) and empowering the sector in her LGU. Naga City’s programs against violence against women were also recognized by the Philippine Commission on Women in 2015.

However, if Sacendoncillo had to pick one achievement of the Local Government Code from the past 25 years, it would not be a form of policy.

“After 25 years we're so rich. We're so rich with all the experience, the lessons learned from both the successes and the mistakes. So we're abundant with lessons after 25 years, and [we] build on these lessons to move forward,” Sacendoncillo explained.

She added: “Progress is moving forward with more precision because you’ve learned. You’ve made mistakes: there were things that worked, there were things that did not work. We learned from it, so you move now with more precision, and when you move with more precision, you move faster and create better results.”

Looking to #25ANDBEYOND

As the training arm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the LGA is already looking ahead by prioritizing fresh ideas for the capacity development of local governments.

For Sacendoncillo, the LGA is not just thinking outside the box, but moving on from the box. “When you move from the box, you create a different environment. You will really move out of the box to create a new environment for you and that new environment will allow you greater opportunities,” she said.

Through its programs like the Newly Elected Officials (NEO) Program, Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED), and Operation L!STO, the LGA delivers its training by maximizing technological developments like social media and internet-based tools.

Now that the new administration has shifted its focus to creating crime-free, corruption free, and business-friendly communities, the LGA is also working on making local governments have a greater impact on daily life.

For the next 25 years of local governance, Sacendoncillo hopes to see “more meaningful autonomy adherent to the principles embodied in the constitution” with the LGA being “more anticipatory.”

“We’re not only responding to the current requirements, but really anticipating the challenges that LGUs will face in the future and preparing LGUs for that future state,” she added.

The LGA will be livestreaming the event. Like our Facebook page to catch the live feed.

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