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), people’s 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.
To be effective, local legislation requires three elements:
A. Institutional efficiency
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 thesubstance of draft ordinances cannot be enhanced by NGOs without sanggunian committees to get their views and perspectives.
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.
B. Local legislation cycle or process
- Legislative Agenda Formulation
- Crafting of Ordinances and Resolutions
- Enactment of Ordinances and Codes of Ordinances
- 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.
Development is a goal and an end of local legislation. Development is the sustained capacity to achieve a better life. For a nation or community, having a better life means that citizens have a higher life expectancy and enjoy a higher quality of life regardless of age, sex, gender, religion or ethnicity. Quality of life involves: a) the capacity to do, and b) the capacity to be. Underlying these capacities is the freedom of choice. Hence, development is also about expanding the range of choices of people.
Local legislation is considered an effective tool for good governance and results in ordinances and resolutions that enable citizens to achieve a better life or development. Local legislation is effective if it contributes to the attainment of the community’s shared vision and results in poverty reduction, gender equality, environmental protection, peace and unity, accountability and transparency of local officials, and active participation of citizens in social, economic and political transformation.