Mayor Kois needs help, desperately

February 23, 2020

News that Manila, the country’s supposed capital city,  was not able to make it to the list of cities that passed the 2019 Good Financial Housekeeping (GFH) as reported by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG),  no longer comes as a surprise.

Let us be clear though. First of all, the period covered 2018 up to the first quarter of 2019, during which time, the mayor of Manila was Erap Estrada.  Mayor Isko Moreno won in May of 2019 and assumed office on June 30, 2019.

It is quite a shame that in the DILG’s February 14 report, Manila was the only city that failed to pass the GFH standards from among the 17 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila.

In the entire country, a total of only 184 assessed local government units (LGUs) failed to meet the same standard from out of a total of 1,706 LGUs. The number of non-passers is equivalent to just 10.8% of the total.

In determining whether or not an LGU passed the GFH standards, the DILG has set the following criteria: most recent available Commission on Audit opinion if unqualified or qualified for 2017 or 2018; compliance with the full disclosure policy (FDP), which involves the posting of financial documents in three conspicuous places and in the FDP portal for all quarters of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 posting period documents.

 If an LGU was not included in the passers’ list, it may request for reconsideration or opt to avail of after-assessment compliance of the GFH.

Even before the DILG released its report, it was learned that Mayor Kois had already convened his local finance team so as to put things in proper order.

It will be recalled that when Moreno assumed office, he tried so hard to work for a smooth and efficient turnover of the city’s leadership.  As such, he and his team, led by Secretary to the Mayor Bernie Ang, of course looked forward to getting hold of all the documents necessary to guide the new administration as to where it stood from Day 1 of taking over the reins of governance.

To the disappointment of then incoming Mayor Kois and his officials, the latter’s gesture aimed at achieving a smooth and orderly turnover was put to naught when, according to them, nothing was given to them.

Mayor Kois and his team of incoming city officials had to look for whatever information they need, by themselves, specially in terms of the persons under the city’s employ, properties and funds.

A report said that also under the past administration headed by Estrada, the city of Manila likewise failed to meet the DILG’s standards of a well-functioning anti-drug abuse council (ADAC),  as a result of which Manila also faced a show-cause order. It was the only LGU in the National Capital Region and one of four cities nationwide that gained a low score for ADAC functionality, the report stated.

The GFH is one of the minimum requirements for the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), particularly for the assessment criteria of financial administration.

The SGLG awards LGUs that have shown excellence in internal housekeeping and rewards them through monetary assistance and priority access to the DILG’s programs and capacity development assistance. SGLG awardees can avail of the Performance Challenge Fund that may finance local development initiatives.

Mayor Kois is doing the right thing in imploring the help of the citizens of Manila and, specially, God, all the time. He really, really needs all the help he can get to turn around the city from what it has become after years of neglect.

I don’t think even world-reknowned magician David Copperfield can do something about the gargantuan problems that Mayor Kois had inherited from his predecessor.


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