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Partners of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF), launched the first of a series of lectures, entitled the Sosmeña Lecture Series after LOGODEF founding director Dr. Gaudioso Sosmeña, last March 10, 2008 at the Century Park Hotel.
The first lecture, entitled, Philippine Local Governance in Perspective: Emerging Challenges and Options for Strategic Policy Directions brought together local chief executives, leaders of the various local government leagues, members of the academe and representatives from various planning agencies of the national government to discuss and identify relevant issues and challenges of decentralization and local governance.
Mr. Klaus Preschle, country representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), emphasized the role of local governance in promoting democracy—as it is at the local level that citizens need government the most, and where citizens are able to practice and participate in democracy, and pointed to the role of local government as a lobbying base to articulate advocacies, needs and interests of the constituency. He further stressed the need to strengthen local governance and lauded efforts to bring good governance efforts to the national level.
Keynote speaker for the lecture was Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Local Governments Engr. Austere Panadero, gave an overview of decentralization in the Philippines since the signing of the Local Government Code in 1991, which mandated devolution and decentralization of front-line national government functions and giving some degree of local autonomy for local government units; Undersecretary Panadero noted the mixed progress in efforts towards decentralization in the Philippines, however, he added, “…decentralization is a long process and cannot be achieved overnight.” He instead recommended further capacity-building for local government officials and staff, and the encouraged better fiscal management and the raising of local revenues as a strategy to achieve local autonomy.
Further recommendations by other key presenters put emphasis on the need for the improvement of local-national coordination of projects and goals, provision of incentives to encourage better performance within local government units, inter-agency delineation, and the improvement of fiscal planning and project implementation.
The lectures included sessions with Dr. Milwida Guevara, President of the Synergeia Foundation, Dr. Mariano Guillermo, a member of the LOGODEF Board of Trustees, Dr. Benjamin Cariño, Executive Director of the UP Planning and Development Research Foundation, Ms. Li-Ann de Leon, Executive Director of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
The conference was capped with the gathering of friends and partners of the foundation in celebration of the successes of Dr. Gaudioso Sosmeña, the founding director of LOGODEF and who served as the Executive Director of LOGODEF for 17 years. Among those who prepared a toast for Dr Sosmeña were Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, former Benguet Vice-Governor Edna Tabanda, Dr. Clarita Carlos from the University of the Philippines, Dr. Mariano Guillermo, Ms. Li-Ann de Leon, current LOGODEF Executive Director Prof. Edmund Tayao, and Mr. Klaus Preschle.