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A.

MEANING AND IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL LEGISLATION


1. What is local legislation?
Local legislation can be understood in two ways: as power and as a process.
Local Legislation as power--Local legislation refers to the power of a local
legislative body to make rules in the form of ordinances and resolutions of
local application that have the force and effect of law.

Local Legislation as a process--Local legislation is the interaction of the


local legislative body with the executive branch, civil society including
constituents, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector
resulting in ordinances and resolutions that promote the development of a
local government unit (LGU). The products or outputs of this interaction
are ordinances and resolutions.

2. Why is local legislation important?


Local legislation is important because it is a powerful, vital tool for:
addressing the problems of the citizens of the LGU
promoting the general welfare and development of the LGU and its citizens
attaining the vision of the LGU for its citizens
Many ordinances are enacted based on the legislative bodys reaction to a
problem that has already arisen. This type of legislation is valid but often has
a short-term effect in addressing a problem. Local legislation can be more
responsive if it addresses or predicts what citizens need to have a better
quality of life, even before the citizens bring them to the attention of
legislators. Further, local legislation can be effective if addresses long-term,
strategic needs that can contribute to the attainment of the vision of the LGU
for its citizens.
Local legislation is a tool for operationalizing Section 16 of the 1991 Local
Government Code (LGC) or the General Welfare Clause which covers the
following aspects:
1. preservation and enrichment of culture;
2. promotion of health and safety;
3. enhancement of the right of the people to a balanced ecology;
4. encouragement of, and support to, the development of appropriate and
self-reliant technological capabilities;
5. improvement of public morals;
6. enhancement of economic prosperity and social justice;
7. promotion of full employment among the residents; and
8. maintenance of peace and order as well as the preservation of the comfort
and convenience of the inhabitants.
3. Who makes local legislation?
Local legislation is a participatory process. It acquires legitimacy and social
acceptability though the involvement of stakeholders in the LGU. In this
context, stakeholders are groups, organizations and individuals who have a
stake in or whose interests will be affected by the process of making laws or
policies. Local legislation is made by key stakeholders in the LGU:
the sanggunian or local legislative body
the local chief executive, including local government executives
the constituents
the civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and
peoples organizations
the private sector and other interest groups.

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Legislative authority at the local level is vested in the sanggunian or the


local legislative body. The sanggunian is a collegial body, composed of a
group of individuals elected to represent the peoples interests. It has the
power to enact ordinances, approve resolutions, and appropriate funds for
the welfare of the LGU and its inhabitants.
The 1991 Local Government Code vests legislative power to the sanggunian
at different levels of local government:
a. Sangguniang Panlawigan for provinces
b. Sangguniang Bayan for municipalities
c. Sangguniang Panlungsod for cities
d. Sangguniang Barangay for barangays
e. In the autonomous regions of the country, legislation is made by the
regional legislative assemblies, e.g. Regional Legislative Assembly of the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
B. EFFECTIVE LOCAL LEGISLATION (refer to Framework for Effective Local
Legislation)
What is effective local legislation?
Effective local legislation is a collective and participatory process. It refers to
the interaction of the sanggunian or local legislative body with the executive
branch and civil society resulting in legislative actions that promote the
development objectives of the LGU.
Civil society includes the private sector, nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs), peoples organizations (POs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and
constituents. The participation of these individuals and groups is essential to
ensure the legitimacy and social acceptability of ordinances and resolutions
enacted.
The sanggunian is a public institution. Like any other organization, it must
have efficient structures and systems. It must have people who can do their
jobs well because they know their roles and functions.
An efficient legislative organization must have the following:
organizational structure
rules of procedure
legislative leadership
legislative committees
legislative support system, and
mechanism for legislative-executive coordination
The presence of adequate and functioning structures and systems make the
legislation process or cycle efficient and open to participation from stakeholders
outside the legislative organization.
For instance, ordinances cannot be enacted without rules of procedure; or the
substance of draft ordinances cannot be enhanced by NGOs without sanggunian
committees to get their views and perspectives.
C. Local Legislation Cycle
As an institution tasked to carry out a public mandate, the sanggunian must
have a clear understanding of the vision and mission of the LGU unit to which
it belongs. As well, its work must be guided by a clear process that defines
the role of different stakeholders in each stage or phase.
Local legislation is a cycle that involves four phases or stages:
1. Legislative Agenda Formulation
2. Crafting of Ordinances and Resolutions
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3. Enactment of Ordinances and Codes of Ordinances


4. Evaluation of the Implementation of Ordinances
At each phase, various stakeholders in the LGU interact with the sanggunian
to ensure that measures produced address the development objectives of the
LGU.
1. Phase 1. Legislative Agenda Formulation--Legislation does not begin with
the first reading of a proposed measure. Legislation begins much earlier,
with the formulation of a list of priority legislative measures which the
sanggunian seeks to enact for the duration of its term.
2. Phase 2. Crafting of Ordinances and Resolutions--The second stage is the
crafting of ordinances and resolutions.
This involves two major steps:
1) identifying and analyzing a policy problem to be addressed by legislation
2) gathering research-based information, and 3) drafting the legislative
proposal.
A good analysis is informed by a sufficient knowledge of the development
issues that should be addressed by ordinances: poverty reduction, gender
equality, environmental protection, peace and unity, accountability
and transparency, and citizen participation.
Drafting a legislative proposal requires knowledge of its parts or elements,
rules of construction such as grammar and usage, form and style.
3. Phase 3. Enactment of Ordinances and Codes of Ordinances--This stage
involves the process of deliberation, consultation, codification and
consideration that a draft ordinance or resolution undergoes before it is
adopted or enacted.
Without executive approval, an ordinance passed by the sanggunian
cannot be implemented. The executive branch and the civil society groups
can influence this stage by participating in committee activities and other
stages of the legislative process from first reading to approval of the
measure by the local chief executive (LCE).
4. Phase 4. Evaluation of the Implementation of Ordinances--The work of the
sanggunian does not end with the enactment of a law. The sanggunian
must determine if the ordinances it enacted are implemented and if so,
how they are implemented by the executive branch.
The evaluation process seeks to determine if legislative intent is carried
out and determine if funds used for implementing government programs
are not wasted. This function of local legislative bodies is called legislative
oversight. Recommendations from the evaluation feedback into the first
stage of the legislation cycle and become an additional agenda or part of
the legislative agenda of a new set of legislators.
The cycle continues with the crafting of new ordinances, their enactment
and evaluation.
D. Difference of Ordinances and Resolutions
A basic rule in crafting legislative measures is to know the difference between an
ordinances and a resolution.
A resolution is a legislative action of a temporary nature; a mere expression of the
opinion or sentiment of the sanggunian on matters relating to proprietary function
and to private concerns.
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An ordinance is a local law prescribing rules of conduct of a general, permanent


nature. It continues to be in force until repealed or superseded by a subsequent
enactment.
E. Elements of an Ordinance
An ordinance must have the following elements or basic parts:
1. Title
The long title of an ordinance is the general description of what it does. It
appears on the first pages, just after the heading An Ordinance.
The long title should always describe the ordinances main thrust and if
there are other miscellaneous, minor or unrelated items in the ordinance,
they are usually handled by simply adding and for other purposes just
before the period at the end of the title.
A short title should simply cover the field that the ordinance covers; it is
needed in major ordinances or codes so they can be easily cited and referred
to.
2. Enacting Clause
It indicates the authority or source of the ordinance.
3. Body or Central Provisions
The body or central provisions carry out the ordinances principal objective
The body consists of the statement of policy or purpose, definitions,
structural or administrative and reporting provisions, appropriations
provisions, and reporting provisions.
4. Penalty Clause
The penalty clause is optional as it applies only to general ordinances
and tax ordinances.
5. Transitional Provisions
Transitional provisions are optional and most frequently used in tax and
regulatory ordinances.
These provisions are the means to make the changeover from an old
ordinance to a new one.
6. Repealing Clause
It is also known as the severability or separability clause
It declares that if any part of the ordinances in which it appears is found to
be unconstitutional, the rest of the ordinance is not to be affected.
7. Effectivity Clause
It specifies exactly when and how the ordinance is to go initially into effect.
F. Kinds of Ordinances
The following are the four general kinds of ordinances.
1. General Ordinance - refers to an ordinance enacted by a sanggunian in
the exercise of its police power whose primary aim is the general welfare
of the people by prescribing certain regulatory measures.
2. Appropriation Ordinance refers to an ordinance whose primary aim is to
appropriate local funds for purposes allowed by existing laws.
3. Tax Ordinance refers to an ordinance enacted by a sanggunian in the
exercise of the local government units taxing power whose primary
purpose is to raise local revenues thru the imposition or levying of taxes,
fees and charges subject to certain limitations prescribed by existing law.
4. Special Ordinance refers to an ordinance aimed to address a special
purpose.
G. Basic Rules in Crafting Ordinances

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An ordinance to be valid must conform to the following cardinal rules:


1. It must be in harmony with the Constitution, laws and statutes as well as
general principles of law and equity; in a sense, must be consistent with
public policy and must not contravene human rights.
2. It must be enacted in good faith, in the public interest, and designed to
enable the LGU to perform its functions.
3. It must extend only to subjects or matters which are within the powers of the
sanggunian to enact.
4. It must be reasonable in its terms. It must not be partial or discriminatory.
5. It must not restraint, but may regulate trade.
6. It must be adopted by an authorized sanggunian, legally convened.
H. Steps in Enacting Ordinances and Resolutions/The Local Legislative Process
(refer to Tool 2-Local Legislative Process)
The following are the procedural steps in enacting ordinances and
resolutions:
Phase 1. Introduction or Sponsorship
Step 1. The measure is filed by a sanggunian member or group of
members with the secretary in its draft form.
Step 2. The secretary records the draft measure in a logbook with the
following information:
o Name of the author/authors
o Title of the proposed ordinance or resolution
o Date filed, and
o The number assigned to it.
Step 3. The title of the measure is read on first reading. If a measure is
proposed by a committee and presented with a report, it need not go
through first reading but is scheduled for second reading.
Step 4. The presiding officer assigns the measure to a committee that
will study it.
Phase 2. Committee Deliberation and Action
Step 5. The committee conducts a meeting and/or hearing to hear the
arguments for and against the measure. These can be attended by
members of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
Step 6. The committee takes action by reporting out the measure. The
committee action is either favorable or unfavorable.
o If favorable, report is submitted to the committee on rules which
calendars the measure for second reading.
o If unfavorable, measure is laid on the table, the author or authors are
given notice stating reasons for the action.
o To ensure that all measures are acted upon without delay,
committees may be mandated by the internal rules to prepare a report
whether action on a measure is favorable or unfavorable. This will
ensure no measure is left unacted and build the civil society groups
trust in the sincerity and capacity of the sanggunian to address
community issues and problems.
Phase 3. Sanggunian Deliberations
Step 7. The measure is read in its entirety on second reading during a
session.
Step 8. The committee that studied the measure sponsors it on the
floor by explaining the nature of the measure and recommending its
approval by the body.
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Step 9. The measure is subjected to debate and amendments.


Step 10. The secretary prepares copies of the measure incorporating
the amendments and distributes these to the members at least three
days before its third and final reading.
Phase 4. Third Reading and Final Voting
Step 11. The measure is voted upon on third reading in the session.
o A quorum must be present before voting is taken.
o The number of those who voted for and against is recorded.
o The measure is deemed approved by the sanggunian. The secretary
certifies the measure correct and the presiding officer signs it before it
is transmitted to the LCE for approval.
Phase 5. Approval and Review
Step 12. The approved measure is presented to the LCE for action. The
LCE may approve or veto the ordinance.
o If the LCE approves the measure, he/she affixes his/her signature on
each and every page of the measure
o If it is vetoed by the LCE, the measure is returned to the sanggunian
for reconsideration.
o The veto shall be communicated to the sanggunian within 15 days in
the case of the province, and 10 days in the case of city or
municipality; otherwise, the ordinance is deemed approved as if the
LCE had signed it.
o The sanggunian may override the veto with a two thirds vote of its
members making the ordinance or resolution legal and binding.
Step 13. An approved ordinance or resolution goes to a higher level
sanggunian for review.
o An ordinance or resolution from a component city or municipality
shall be reviewed by the provincial sanggunian three days after its
approval.
o An ordinance or resolution of a sangguniang barangay shall be
submitted for review within 10 days after its enactment.
o If no action is taken by a higher level sanggunian within 30 days after
submission of an ordinance or resolution, it shall be deemed valid.
Phase 6. Publication and Effectivity
Step 14. The secretary shall order the posting of the ordinance or
resolution in a bulletin board at the entrance to the city or municipal
hall or at the provincial capitol; and in at least two conspicuous places
in the LGU concerned not later than five days after its approval.
o The text of the ordinance or resolution shall be disseminated in
Pilipino or English and in the Philippine dialect understood by the
majority of the people.
o Unless otherwise stated in therein, the ordinance shall take effect ten
days from the date a copy of it is posted.
o Ordinances with penal provisions shall be posted for a minimum of
three consecutive weeks, and published in a newspaper of general
circulation within the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit
concerned except in the case of barangay ordinances. Unless
otherwise provided therein, the ordinance shall take effect on the day
following its publication, or at the end of the period of posting,
whichever occurs later.
I.

WHY GET CITIZENS INVOLVED?

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The sanggunian must get citizens and civil society organizations to actively
participate in legislative activities because:
The private sector and CSOs have access to resources research based
information, time, staff and funds that may be useful to policymaking.
It is the right of citizens to be heard.
It is the right of citizens to be consulted by their elected officials on matters
of public interest.
It is the right of citizens to organize themselves into groups to participate in
local governance.
CSOs have the advantage of having a network and the resources to assist
in the monitoring of the sectors, e.g. workers, youth, etc.
Getting groups involved in legislation can benefit the sanggunian because:
CSOs especially peoples organizations have direct links with the grassroots
because of the services they provide to the community, e.g. health,
education, among others.
It is the responsibility of the sanggunian to make citizens aware of the mechanisms
and venues which allows them to participate in legislative decision-making.
These include:
1. Committee meetings--Unless declared as closed-door executive meetings,
committee meetings are generally open to the public. They can be maximized by
establishing links with concerned sectors and involving them in committee
deliberations on a more regular basis.
2. Committee hearings--Committee hearings are also called public hearings because
their purpose is to consult stakeholders and experts in the LGU on proposed
ordinances or on matters relevant to legislation. These legislative matters should
not be limited to consideration of tax measures but include all other measures that
may affect the LGU. The process can be further maximized by the sanggunian by
giving the concerned sectors or stakeholders timely information and advice prior to
the holding of committee hearings, e.g. committee hearing schedule, agenda, and
advice to prepare presentation materials or position papers.
3. Accreditation While accreditation of NGOs is not a requirement for participation in
legislative activities, accreditation is a good opportunity for the sanggunian to
know who does what in the NGO community. This will make it easier for the
sanggunian to identify groups they can tap for their expertise in research, writing, or
simply for information. This mechanism can be further improved by adopting rules
and procedures to encourage CSOs to get accreditation and to provide for a system
of continuing accreditation of CSOs. However, the lack of accreditation should not
be an obstacle for the sanggunian to tap CSOs from participating in sanggunian
activities.

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