Underdevelopment hard to solve due to LGU’s non-reporting

About 35 percent of local government units were not submitting their annual report, which follows a format that contains the vital indicators in local governance, from tax collection to delivery of social services, Rodolfo Razul, director for Southern Mindanao of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) told a news conference here recently.

Razul said that several poor municipalities were also the ones that were not submitting the Local Government Performance Management System, making it hard to take a look at why these areas continue to be poor and undeveloped.

“This state of local governance report should have allowed us and the Office of the President to look at the strengths and the weaknesses of certain LGUs,” he said.

The annual report has a standard format, he said, “where things like collection of real property tax would show us the LGU’s collection efficiency and its capacity and efficiency to provide basic services”.

For instance, he said, if a certain municipality has only 40 percent efficiency in collecting real property taxes, “that would mean that it has still a potential to collect 60 percent more, and that’s where the national government could help the municipality point out where its weakness is, where its strength is”.

“There are a lot of items there, like education and health, to help us and the LGUs know where a local government has the potential for growth,” he said.

He said highly urbanized cities were religiously submitting these reports. “These areas know that they would benefit from the sharing of information,” he said.

“We usually conduct a conference with the local governments which submit their reports. From there, we could suggest some improvements in budgeting, to put more money in tax collections, for instance,” he said.

“A lot of other interventions would follow because of the submission of report,” Razul said, citing several projects provided by domestic and foreign donors. He said all the Local Government Performance Management System reports were being kept by the Office of the President. 

There was no penal provision though, in requiring LGUs to submit their annual reports as mandated in the 1992 Local Government Code and Razul said that this absence of sanctions has allowed local governments to ignore it.

"Unfortunately, this has also abetted the continued underdevelopment of many localities." (MindaNews)