Incompetence in local governments

“ For local executives like mayors and governors, DILG officers should be whipped into action to make their bureaucracies less bureaucratic and to make employees and officers be creative. That is, if they want to have better performance ratings.”

By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

I always took the DILG or the Department of the Interior and Local Governments for granted as most people do but then I stumbled on its functions on Google and was astounded as to how it failed to deliver on its mandate.
This is what I found—the DILG is responsible for promoting peace and order, ensuring public safety and strengthening local government capability aimed towards the effective delivery of basic services to the citizenry. As to promoting peace and order or ensuring public safety, forget it. What do the DILG people know about these. They don’t have the expertise or power as the law enforcement agencies have. So while the Philippine National Police is under its wing, the DILG will always be looked at as dumb when it comes to peace and order or public safety, so I doubt it if the PNP listens to what the DILG says. It is like a boss who does not know anything about the job. His subordinates will always ignore him or will be running circles around him, making him a laughing stock or the butt of jokes whenever he is out of ear shot.
A major function however that the DILG should be doing is “strengthening local government capability aimed towards the effective delivery of basic services”. This also means improving the capability of local officials, especially the elected ones. As to the civil service employees or officers, at least, there are minimum requirements they have to satisfy before they are hired. So, presumably, they have the minimum level of competence for the job. In many instances, however, they are incompetent.
Why am I harping on the DILG? Because so many elected officials everywhere in this country are bumbling idiots. Why did they even seek a position in the first place? The DILG should be the first to lobby for more stringent educational requirements for local candidates or even national ones. So we will not have those actors and actresses who know nothing of governance or administration, much less leadership in government. Sure, this needs amending the law. So amend the law or at least spearhead a movement towards this end.
As to the bumbling idiots, I have heard from many reliable sources that many local officials don’t even know how to pass a resolution to declare a locality under a state of calamity. Much less the purpose of this so they don’t know its importance.
Then there was this talk about a DILG officer of a certain municipality. A resident asked, “How is our new DILG officer?” The answer was, “Mayat piman ya. Kanayon nga ada inom idiay opisina na. Ada pay pulutan. Uray no bigat pay lang no mapan ka diay ket painomen da ka.” (He is good. There is always a drinking spree in his office. Even in the morning.)
Should not DILG officers be breaking their heads on how to improve the competence of local officials towards better delivery of basic services? How about conducting effective seminars (not junkets or picnics)? How about conducting studies on how to lessen their incompetence and then undertaking measures or action plans to address such problems? Etcetera. Etcetera.
For local executives like mayors and governors, DILG officers should be whipped into action to make their bureaucracies less bureaucratic and to make employees and officers be creative. That is, if they want to have better performance ratings.
Otherwise, local government employees and officers will always be just pretending to be doing something just to pass the time away until five o’clock— time to go home.
There is a good phrase in Mountain Province on this: “Ta kaskasdeman na man” (Just to pass the time until late afternoon when it would be time to go home.**

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