Manila – February 18, 2010 – Since the law’s passage in 1991, some analysts have questioned whether the landmark Local Government Code that decentralized powers and devolved services from the national government has made significant impact at the local level.
The Asia Foundation, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched yesterday a 3-month nationwide Rapid Field Appraisal to assess the effects of decentralization on local governments and, more broadly, on the country.
In yesterday’s forum in Makati City, representatives from local governments, the League of Provinces; the Leagues of Cities, Municipalities and Barangays; national government agencies, non-government organizations, and donor agencies, defined the scope and parameters of the appraisal. More than fifty participants attended the forum.
The appraisal will examine how decentralization and devolution contributed to poverty reduction, economic growth, rural development, and delivery of public services. It will also entail a review of findings from previous decentralization studies in the country. “Findings of the appraisal will be considered in shaping new policies and programs, and in advocating for amendments to the Local Government Code,” said The Asia Foundation’s Director for Local Governance programs, Maria Belen Bonoan.
For 8 years after the passage of the Local Government Code, USAID sponsored various rapid field appraisals to track decentralization in the early stages. The results of these appraisals became the basis of many policy recommendations. “USAID is proud to once again support a rapid appraisal, this time to assess the impact of and challenges in local governance,” noted Dr. Maria Rendon, USAID’s Senior Governance Advisor.
“Having been involved in the earlier series of Rapid Field Appraisals, I’m excited to see the changes and developments that this new one will reveal, ten years after,” said Dr. Steven Rood, who is The Asia Foundation’s Regional Adviser on Local Governance as well as the Philippine Country Representative.
The rapid appraisal on decentralization is implemented under USAID’s Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG) Project, Phase 4, implemented by The Asia Foundation. The project currently provides organizational development assistance to the Leagues of Cities and Municipalities and supports local budget tracking efforts in Mindanao. Starting in June this year, TAG4 will support 60 Mindanao local governments in improving transparency and accountability, fiscal responsibility and service delivery. In partnership with Galing Pook Foundation, TAG4 will also develop a mechanism for documenting and recognizing local governance reform in ARMM.
ABOUT THE ASIA FOUNDATION
The Asia Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports programs in Asia that help improve governance, law, and civil society; women’s empowerment; economic reform and development; and international relations. Drawing on more than 50 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.
With offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2008, the Foundation provided more than $87 million in program support and distributed over one million books and educational materials valued at $41 million throughout Asia.
For more information about The Asia Foundation, visit www.asiafoundation.org.
THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
USAID’s program in the Philippines focuses on strengthening peace in conflict-affected Mindanao, promoting good governance, increasing economic opportunities, protecting the environment, strengthening health services, and improving basic education.
For more information about USAID’s work in the Philippines, visit http://philippines.usaid.gov.