Training Manual for Local Legislators: A Guide to Legislative Agenda Formulation

February 14th, 2016 | by Balaod Mindanaw

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The struggle for good governance is a critical strategy in winning the battle against poverty and inequity.� Good governance is observed when the lawmakers, local legislative bodies, in this instance, are not only knowledgeable of the law but, most importantly responsive to the needs of the greater majority of their constituents.� To be effective policy-makers, local legislators must create a favorable policy environment that caters to the needs of the people, particularly, the marginalized sectors of society.

It is in this context, that this Manual has been conceptualized. Specifically, it is intended for Sanggunian Bayan members who participated in the Training-Workshop on Policy Development Towards Legislative Agenda Formulation and Skills Enhancement on Local Legislation. The training workshop was conducted by BALAOD-Mindanaw as a component of its project on Enhancing LGU Capacities on Local Legislation and Policy Formulationin Regions 9, 11, 13, and ARMM, funded by the Local Government Support Program (LGSP).

Originally, the materials for this Manual were intended to be distributed as part of the training kits of the participants. But BALAOD-Mindanaw later decided to package them into a training manual upon the request of some LGus who desire to replicate the legislative agenda formulation in their respective sangguniang barangays. With this training manual, BALAOD-Mindanaw also aims to assist the members of Sangguniang Bayan in helping their barangays formulate their own legislative agenda.

With the said LGUs in mind, this Manual is likewise intended to be a modest contribution to the various efforts of civil society towards good governance. The presentation of the topics is patterned after the training design of the conducted workshop. The major areas covered include understanding sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) in the context of rural areas, basic concepts of law and the Philippine Legal System, Overview of the Local Government Code and Principles of Local Governance, Local Legislation, Legislative Agenda Formulation, and Local Legislative Tracking and Indexing. However, it also contains other topics that are useful in governance work, such as Pointers on Codification of Local Policies, Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), and Dispute Resolution and Management. Structured learning exercise (SLEs) in each topic and ice-breakers are likewise included.

More importantly, this Manual details a suggested format for legislative agenda formulation as developed by BALAOD-Mindanaw in the context of LGSP’s back-to-back project — Executive Agenda Formulation and Local Legislation. The legislative agenda must necessarily complement the executive agenda.

This Manual certainly does not offer a panacea for problematic governance. With its publication, however, it is hoped that it will, at the very least, serve as a useful advocacy tool to remind the challenge the local legislators to fulfill their legal obligations as mandated by the Local Government Code as well as recognize their accountability and responsibilities to the people.� Their effectiveness as elected officials cannot be gauged by the promises they made during the electoral campaigns but on their capacity to enact policy reforms based on responsive legislative agenda.