The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) concluded its fifth and last batch of the Online Course on Effective Local Legislation equipping 53 elected officials and legislative staff from six (6) Municipal Government Units of Alabat, Quezon; Bacnotan, La Union; Infanta, Quezon; Loon, Bohol; Manapla, Negros Occidental; and Tuba, Benguet held on October 30 to November 26, 2020 via Google Meet.

This Course is part of the Capability-Building Program on Innovative Leadership and Legislation that is implemented by the DAP through the support of Antique Lone District Representative, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.

Participants in the Online Course on Effective Local Legislation with DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr., Acting Director Jannis T. Montanez, Director Gilbert E. Lumantao, Mayor Fernando L. Mesa of Alabat Quezon, Former DILG Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento, and SFHC Board Director Ronald R. Barcena.

DAP President and CEO, Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr., MNSA, welcomed the participants to the online course. In his opening remarks, he said that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the important role of local governments in ensuring the safety and welfare of their constituents and how the leaders’ decisions have a direct impact on the lives of the people they serve. He also stressed the necessity for local officers to be better equipped in making sound decisions based on relevant and verified data and that their brand of public service should be marked with efficiency and effectiveness. He also shared that the delivery vital public service begins with the crafting of relevant policies on the ground, and to remain agile given the multi-layered demands stemming from various factors such as digitization, changes in government regulations, developments in disaster response and climate crisis, advancements in social welfare practices, among others. As a former local legislator himself, he encouraged the participants to provide elegant solutions through passing of laws and policies.  He added that as policymakers, one must not be contented to being creative and with being responsible but to come-up with elegant solutions. It means developing sophisticated yet simple solutions to the problems of society especially in their respective locality.

The participating LGUs, in preparation for their draft ordinances, underwent a one-month intermittent synchronous and asynchronous sessions focusing on local legislators’ roles as catalysts of change; evidence-based policy making; driving innovative policies and practices from municipalities; and understanding the parliamentary rules and internal rules of procedures. With this, the participants were capacitated in proposing an ordinance addressing the most pressing issues their LGUs are currently dealing with.

Draft ordinances were presented to panel members, each addressing the core problem of their respective LGUs, focused on flood control; establishment of health care support system; increase agricultural production; fisheries and coastal management; revitalization of the economy amidst the “new normal”; and mapping of geo-hazard land areas.

Some of the participants who shared their impression on the Online Course on Effective Local Legislation. From left to right: Vice Mayor Lord Arnel Ruanto, Vice Mayor Maria Carantes and Councilor Jorge Roito Hirang, Jr.

The participants were generally satisfied and commended the Academy for the well-crafted course design and being able to implement the course smoothly despite the new platform.

Vice Mayor Lord Arnel Ruanto of Infanta, Quezon specifically commended the course design and how each session complements one another. He likewise mentioned that the fusion of theory and practice delivered by esteemed resource persons has indeed helped in relating more to the topic and acquiring more on point lessons. Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Maria Carantes of Tuba, Benguet mentioned that the online course was very timely and appropriate considering all the challenges the LGUs are facing. The fact that resource persons were able to explain difficult topics into simpler manner with practical applications has been very useful for the participants.

Councilor Jorge Roito Hirang, Jr. of Alabat Quezon likewise commended the training team for its assistance and patience throughout the duration of the course. He emphasized that this training has become a beckon of light in re-shaping the way local leaders legislate. He then described DAP course implementation in three words: dynamic, amazing, and precious.