Negros Oriental and all local governments in the country are vying for the Seal of Good Local Government awards this year, that is more challenging than the Seal of Good Housekeeping, that more than 80 percent of LGUs have already hurdled.

Provincial operations officer of the Negros Oriental local government, Farah Gentuya, said regional assessment teams are in the province for the evaluation on the SGLG, or the “Pagkilala sa Katapatan at Kahusayan ng Pamahalaang Lokal”.

The program acknowledges LGUs from good financial housekeeping, and for passing all three essential and core areas, like good financial housekeeping, full disclosure policy, and disaster preparedness, to check if they are ready for disasters, and social preparation.

The SGLG program was introduced to provide greater challenges to LGUs to continue good governance practices while providing better services. With the success of SGH, local government units are more than ready to take on the challenges, aside from mere compliance with minimum requirements of good housekeeping, particularly in budget preparation, revenues and procurement.

In Negros Oriental, only Bais and Canlaon cities did not make it to the SGH awards, while 19 towns have already been award the SGH, among them, Bayawan, Dumaguete, Tanjay and Guihulngan cities.

Gentuya said an SGLG recipient should also pass at least one requirement from the essential assessment areas, that includes business-friendliness and competitiveness, peace and order, and environmental management.

She said winning LGUs be conferred with the SGLG, will also receive a package of incentives, such as the Performance Challenge Fund and access to other national performance-based programs.

To avail of loans from the Land Bank or Development Bank of the Philippines, an LGU has to pass the good financial housekeeping requirement. Gentuya added that banks and other financial institutions ask for such certification before programs and projects, or financial assistance from the funding institutions can be availed of.

Winners will receive P8 million for the provinces, P3 million for cities, and P1 million for municipalities, she also said.*JG