How to enhance regional –local government units (LGUs) relations and public policies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the proposed Bangsamoro government?


This was the subject of a thinking workshop the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) convened for a select group of experts in Davao City on December 17th, 2013.


The workshop formally commences IAG’s engagement with the United Nations Children’s Fund through a project that aims to broaden discourse and public participation and generate options that promote good governance in local governance and a nurturing environment for peaceful communities especially for children, youth and adolescents.


IAG believes it is high time issues and concerns on the relations of LGUs and the autonomous regional government be mainstreamed in the discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro government.


IAG Executive Director Benedicto Bacani says that lines of convergence and divergence between local governments and the Bangsamoro regional government must be clearly configured to establish the right policy environment for enacting and implementing child-friendly laws.


At the IAG-UNICEF workshop in Davao, the group reiterated the need to discuss existing laws and mechanisms to establish the real degree of autonomy from the regional down to LGU level, and possible harmonization of two past autonomy laws – RA 6734 (ARMM Organic Act) and RA 9054 (Expanded ARMM Law) –to better serve the needs of the region and its constituent LGUs along the lines of power- and wealth-sharing. 


The workshop group said the following factors must be considered to enhance cooperation between the regional government and the LGUs:

·         Clarity and internalization of roles, functions and responsibilities as manifested in knowledge, attitudes and practices

·         Improvement of absorptive capacity

·         Clear cooperation and delineation lines on matters of accountability, supervision, and control

·         Applicability of laws and policies

·         Clear check and balance and accountability mechanisms

·         Strong monitoring and evaluation systems

·         Effective delivery of basic services

·         Security

·         Clarity of political structure from the central government down to the regional government and its constituent LGUs

·         Appropriate and culturally-sensitive mechanisms

·         Establishment of common interests

·         Commonality of vision and purpose

·         Adherence to shared aspiration

·         Ownership of shared mechanisms for common good

·         Continued dialogue and consultation

·         Flexibility

·         Enhancement of existing cultural and historical dynamics

·         Identification of social and cultural sectors

·         Differentiation between political and economic stakeholders

·         Socio-economic profile

·         Equity in revenue generation

·         Good fiscal autonomy

·         Democratization

·         Electoral system

·         Trust level

·         Hiring of competent people to man the bureaucracy

·         Choosing good leaders

·         Political will

·         Influence of traditional leaders

·         Empowerment of LGUs

·         Inter-cultural dynamics in regional-LGU relations

·         Innovation and capacity for pragmatism

·         Openness and willingness to listen

·         Meaningful engagement of young people


The Davao workshop on regional-LGU relations was facilitated by Atty. Camilo Montesa.