The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has greenlighted a $300 million policy loan to help boost the country’s local government units (LGU) deliver high-quality services.
As outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2017–2022, the government created the Local Governance Reform Program (LGRP) to expand the role of LGU as catalysts of local economic development.
The program is designed to empower and equip LGU to meet the needs of citizens and ensure they deliver services aligned with local preferences, improve their capacity to raise their revenue, and lower the cost of doing business for the private sector.
“The ADB program under LGRP is helping the government provide LGU with the tools and skills necessary to deliver high-quality public services in an accountable and cost-effective manner,” ADB Public Management Specialist for Southeast Asia Robert Boothe said.
In 2017, the government established a three-tier competency scheme and certification program under the Standardized Examination and Assessment for Local Treasury program to ensure local treasury officers are equipped with the necessary skills and competencies to manage local resources.
The government also developed and implemented an online LGU client rating system for business permit application and releasing to enhance citizen feedback on LGU performance and service delivery.
Such measures help raise the country’s overall attractiveness for private sector investment.
According to Jose Antonio Tan III, Director for Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade at ADB’s Southeast Asia Regional Department, the ADB will continue to support the country’s thrust of creating a high-trust society.
“ADB supports the Philippine government’s goal (so that) citizens can have confidence in the capacity of local government institutions to deliver services to communities and provide a simpler business environment for private enterprises,” Tan said.
“A healthy business environment will lead to more jobs and strengthen the local economy,” he added.
Since 2006, the ADB and the Philippines forged a partnership to implement reforms meant to ensure in inclusive growth, quality service delivery and better economic opportunities for a rapidly growing population.