Provincial Interior and Local Government Operations Officers are calling for sobriety, amid the vociferous word war among the various political factions after the results of the Local Government Performance Management System for 2011 revealed that Negros Oriental lost its 7th place ranking in 2010 falling by 50 notches down to rank 57 among the 79 provinces of the country.

Jofralito Lorico, DILG Provincial Director said that instead of trading barbs and name calling it would be best for all the stakeholders to come together, and find out the reasons for Capitol’s steep drop in its performance to come up with a solution, to improve the ranking in next year’s assessment. 

Rolando M. Acosta, DILG Assistant Secretary reported that the Overall Performance Index of the Province for 2011 was 4.36 compared to 4.85 in 2009 (ranked 1 nationwide) and 4.758 in 2010 (ranked 7). The OPI is determined by taking the composite indexes of five areas of governance namely Administrative, Social, Economic, Environmental and Valuing Fundamentals. 
A performance scale is used to identify areas, with excellent performance and areas of improvement. A perfect scale of 5 denotes excellent performance, while scales 1-4 indicates the need for improvement.

To aid the provincial stakeholders in the review, Deputy DILG Provincial Director Farah Gentuya bared the actual results, interpretations and recommendations of the LPGMS as follows: 

Negros Oriental’s Administrative Governance covered five sub-areas: (1) Human Resource Management and Development 4.22, which denotes that the provincial government has “a desirable organizational performance and productivity;” (2) Resource Allocation and Utilization was rated 2.83 or low performance with “weak management and coordination process in budgeting and accounting, the administration is reminded of the need to strengthen this area since the “fundamental of governance is the effective allocation and optimum utilization of resources; (3) Revenue Generation was rated 3.0 or fair “denoting that existing measures in support of revenue generation needed to be enhanced and maximized;” (4) Development Planning, 4.09, high but not excellent, “there is a need to improve organizational performance, consultation process, management of planning database, and the lack of quality land use and development planning;” (5) Local Legislation, 4.22, high but not excellent, the LPGMS counseled for the “evaluation of the legislative staff competence and the greater use of legislative tools such as development, legislative tracking, backstopping committee, and legislative performance.”

On Social Governance: (1) Support to educational services was rated “excellent or 5”, which indicates that the “Special Education Fund was used where it should be utilized for schoolfacilities, educational research, scholarship programs, additional classrooms and teachers; however; (2) Support to housing and basic utilities was low at 2.00 thus, there is a need to extend more assistance and to sustain the program; (3) Health Services was rated 4.47 but the LGPMS urged the Local Health Board “to do more to improve the overall quality of the local health system considering that its performance fell short in certain aspects such as maternal and child care services;” (4) Peace, Security and Disaster Risk Management was rated 4.88 or “high but not excellent,” the LPGMS team suggested for the provincial government to “strengthen the Peace and Order Council, Local Council for the Protection of Children by ensuring annual financial support to these special bodies, including the Katarungang Pambarangay the principal instrument of the village justice system that promotes community peace, harmony and solidarity.”

On Economic Governance: (1) Support to Fishery Services and (2) Entrepreneurship, Business and Industry Promotion got an identical rating of 5.00 indicating excellence in these areas with “most if not all fish folks benefiting from fishery extension, credit and production support and on-site research services or facilities” while the Capitol was credited for “promoting a business-friendly environment and customer-oriented civil application system, speedy processing and release of building, occupancy and business permits and the creation of a management authority which took the lead in promoting the investment potentials of the LGU including initiatives such as provisions of tax incentives, assistance in product labeling for Small and Medium Enterprises and support to job fairs;” (3) Support to Agriculture Sector was rated 4.79 which calls for “greater intervention of government through the granting of credit facilitation services to farmers, reach more farming-household beneficiaries and improve support infrastructure such as communal irrigation system, farm-to-market roads and post-harvestfacilities.” 

On Environmental Governance, the province was rated excellent or 5.00 in (1) Forest ecosystems management and (2) Coastal Marine Ecosystems Management indicating that the target areas for reforestation and protection as well as coastal marine preservation have been set and met through the mobilization of citizens and CSOs;” (3) Urban Ecosystems was rated 4.23, the Capitol is asked to “enforce pollution control measures, strengthen the Solid Waste Management Board, ensure that every barangay has a material recovery facility, improve solid waste collection practices, move from open dumpsite facility to controlled dumpsite facility to sanitary landfill.”

Finally, on Valuing Fundamental of Governance: (1) Transparency received a high rating of 5 denoting that the provincial administration has been actively “communicating to the public through the media, bulletin boards and the establishment of public information office;” (2) Participation was a high 4.00, nevertheless, the LPGMS team advocated for the “strengthening of the CSO participation in Local Special Bodies and Citizen Feedback System to reinforce desirable governance values such as transparency, accountability and consensus-influenced decisions;” (3) Financial Accountability was rated 4.96 it is advised for the strengthening of the guidelines that would ensure observance to accounting, internal control, procurement and financial transactions.

Both Lorico and Gentuya expressed readiness to face the Provincial Board to help review the findings of the LPGMS team and formulate steps to reclaim the honor of being one of the best governed provinces of the country. (by Dems Demecillo)