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Local Government Administration Essay

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Mindanao State University
Graduate School
Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao


I – Introduction:
The history of national-local relations in the Philippines is characterized by centralism. The central government from the Spanish regime up to now maintained a very strong control and influence over local governments. The evidence of such centralist tendency is Section 4, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which provides that, “The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.”

The President has control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices pursuant to Section 17, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution but has only the power of general supervision over all local governments.

II – The Concept and Legal Basis of Local Governments:
Local government refers to a political subdivision of a state which is constituted by law having substantial control of local affairs, with officials elected or otherwise locally selected.
The legal basis of the existence of local governments is Section 1, Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that, “The territorial and political subdivision of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.”

III – The Elements of Local Governments:
The elements of local governments according to Anderson are the following: A. Territory;
B. Population;
C. Continuous organization;
D. Separate legal identity;
E. Independence from other local units;
F. Governmental powers and functions; and
G. Power to raise revenues.

IV – The Dual Status and Corporate Powers of Local Governments:
By statutory provisions, local governments are considered political bodies corporate for the administration of the affairs of the community within their territorial boundaries. As incorporated entities, they are classified as municipal or public corporations and as such possess dual character:

A. In their public or governmental functions – local governments are agent of the State, and for that purpose exercise by delegation a part of the sovereignty of the State such as:
1. the imposition and collection of taxes;
2. preservation of peace and order; and
3. the establishment of schools.
B. In their private or corporate functions – local governments are mere legal entities (similar to a business corporation) performing functions not strictly governmental. They act as a corporate body for their own purposes and not as subdivisions of the State. It is in this character that they operate, for instance, public utilities (e.g. electricity and waterworks, etc.) and public markets. The underlying test of whether an act of a local government is “governmental” or “corporate” is whether that act performed is for the common good or for the special benefit or profit of the corporate entity.

The local government as a corporation shall have the following powers:
1. To have continuous succession of its corporate name;
2. To sue and be sued;
3. To have and use a corporate seal;
4. To acquire and convey real or personal property;
5. To enter into contracts; and
6. To exercise such other powers as are granted to corporations, subject to limitations provided in the Local Government Code and other laws.

V – Reasons Why Local Governments Exist:
Local governments exist for the following reasons:
A. Interest articulation – local governments allows individuals and communities in general to express their needs and aspirations and bring them up as an agenda for discussion in public decision making process.

B. Functions of democracy – the concept of people empowerment as well as the principle of popular participation in the decision-making process is the essence of democracy.
C. Local autonomy – local government by definition is a translation of self-rule which give life and breath to the concept of autonomy.
D. Efficiency in administration – with the additional powers and authority granted to local governments through the process of decentralization, local officials and functionaries can now effectively and efficiently manage and administer local affairs and make them self-reliant...

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