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Urban Planning Issues in the Philippines

Why the local elections are important

Local governance is more critical than ever.

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One of the most important functions of local executives is development planning and implementation.

Visionary local executives understand the urgency of updating long-term land use and development plans.

With the devolution mandated by the Local Government Code of 1991 and the inevitable push for federalism, local governance is more critical than ever.

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This is evidenced by the continuous gerrymandering – manipulating boundaries for electoral favor – occurring in the country: first in Palawan, then in Mandaue City.

This is why we must be wise in voting for local executives. These local executives are directly responsible for providing us with basic services and directly authorized to manage local funds.

Our roads, hospitals, schools, even our waste, is dependent on their decisions about which projects are priority.

Their three years only last so long!

Most of our barangays do not even have proper barangay halls. They lack funding and the local government can support these needs.

The timely update of local plans encourages accountability of local executives to the citizenry. Because of the participatory processes required in formulating local plans, citizens expect identified projects to be implemented by local executives.

As of 2017, only 518 local government units have updated comprehensive land use plans. This is around 31% of total local government units.

(2017 HLURB Accomplishment report)

A study of Teng-Calleja et al. (2017) cites three interrelated elements of transformation in the local government. These are vision, local leadership, and citizen engagement.

Leaders with vision inspire others and were seen as more competent, engaging the citizens into embracing transformation.

Read: Here are sustainable cities in the Philippines!

Teng-Calleja et al. (2017) also enumerates the evidences of competence in local executives:

  • management skills
  • ethical behavior
  • accessibility to citizens
  • courage
  • political will

Vision, leadership, and citizen engagement characterize transformed governments

Teng-Calleja, et al. (2017)

I argue to prioritize ethical behavior and political will in selecting candidates. Choose not necessarily “the good one,” but those who ensure decency in words and actions.

Choose not just a candidate who paints a great picture of the land but someone who has made a gallery of accomplishments.

So, be active in the elections!

Know your local executives!

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