Sarangani cited for transparency in governance

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – Efforts by the provincial government of Sarangani to maintain transparency and accountability in its operations has received a major boost after it was conferred with the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping Award by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon formally received the award from DILG officials in a simple ceremony held at the provincial capitol in Alabel town on Monday.

Flor Limpin, DILG Sarangani provincial director, said the award mainly recognizes the local government’s improved performance in terms finance-related operations or systems and the management of its funds.

He said the province was among the 78.8 percent of the country’s local government units (LGU) that accomplished the criteria set by the agency for the award.

“The province is now eligible to avail of incentives and get into some program windows of the department,” he said.

The Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping Award is a component of the DILG’s flagship Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) program.

For an LGU to become an SGLG recipient, it needs to pass all the three core assessment areas — Good Financial Housekeeping, Social Protection and Disaster Preparedness and one of the essential assessment areas that include Business-Friendliness and Competitiveness, Peace and Order, and Environmental Management.

LGUs meeting the minimum criteria will be conferred with the SGLG and entitled to a package of incentives, such as the Performance Challenge Fund and access to other national performance-based programs.

The DILG launched the initiative last year as part of its efforts to strengthen accountability at the LGU level.

Limpin said among the requirements for the award are compliance with the full disclosure policy and acceptable level of findings from the Commission on Audit for the preceding year.

He said the full disclosure policy covers the local budget and finances as well as bids and public offerings.

These are the annual budget, statement of receipts and expenditures, annual procurement plan or procurement list and bid and awarding processes on civil works, goods and services, consulting services, among others.

Solon said the award showed that the provincial government’s efforts to promote transparency and accountability in governance have been gaining.

“This is a manifestation that we’ve been handling our financial transactions in transparent manner and we’re delivering the services due to the people,” he said. (MindaNews)