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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Philippine local government officials perceptions of decentralization and its effects on local governments' administrative capabilities
by Alinio, Buenafe F., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2008, 218; 3297128
Abstract (Summary)

During the past several decades, studies of decentralization of government have increased, expanding in scope and depth from single-country assessments to comparative nation-state studies, and from generalized societal implications to specific functional areas. Philippine decentralization studies were not far behind, especially when decentralization was implemented with the passage of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991. Earlier studies, however, focused on decentralization benefits and advantages from an overall societal perspective rather than in terms of its effects on day-to-day administration.

This study examined the local appointive officials' perceptions on the four dimensions of administrative capability—leadership, organizational structure, financial resources, and personnel—considered as important factors to a meaningful decentralization initiative. The perceptions of the appointive officials as decentralization implementers highlight the effects of decentralization on these four dimensions.

The strengths of the local governments' administrative capabilities revealed in the study include (1) the strengthening of the manpower complement of the local governments, (2) the increased participation of various non-government sector as governance partners, (3) the enhancement of local-national relations, and (4) the enhancement of service delivery through the adoption of new technologies into the management systems and procedures of the provincial governments.

Identified as the chief weaknesses of the local governments' administrative capabilities were: (a) Leadership-related weaknesses. The respondents expressed the need for more effective leadership in harnessing the contributions of other sectors in order to achieve decentralization's objectives. They also expressed the need to stimulate greater participation by organizational subordinates in order to achieve those objectives. (b) Organization structure-related weaknesses. Clearer definition and identification of functions and responsibilities between local governments and national agencies are required in order to address the problem of duplication of services. Likewise, the devolution of personnel from the national government created the need for a more thorough analysis of functions in order to achieve the proper alignment of positions in the provincial organizational structure. Personnel equipped with the expertise need to be fitted to positions where such expertise is appropriate. (c) Financial resources-related weaknesses. Provincial governments lack the capacity to generate own-sources revenues (OSRs) needed to cope with their expanded functions. The LGUs have not vigorously pursued those opportunities offered by the Local Government Code to increase their financial capacity. Respondents said that many local elective officials lacked the political will to enact new ordinances or implement existing ordinances to improve revenue generation and collection of the provincial governments. (d) Personnel-related weaknesses. The Human Resource Management (HRM) units of the provincial governments are simply subordinate offices attached to other line departments. The extent of these units' authority and responsibility thus needs to be redefined and expanded. The HRM units' personnel also need appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to revitalize the management of human resources in the provinces. The mechanisms for selection, appointment, placement, promotion, and training of employees are not adequate. Systems for monitoring employee performance, work attitude and behavior, as well as discipline are weak, if not absent altogether.

This study has revealed several successes and problems associated with the implementation of decentralization in the Philippines, but it does not provide a complete picture. Both the national government and the local government units can realize the benefits of decentralization by increasing the understanding by LGU officials, employees, and local constituencies of the Local Government Code's purposes. The national government should provide much-needed resources to support the LGUs' efforts to improve their administrative capabilities. The LGUs, for their part, need to do a better job in educating their constituencies and taking greater advantage of the mechanisms currently provided by the LGC to spur local development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harmon, Michael M.
Commitee: Kee, James Edwin, Parker, A. Rani
School: The George Washington University
Department: Public Policy and Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration
Keywords: Administrative capabilities, Decentralization, Government officials, Local governments, Philippines
Publication Number: 3297128
ISBN: 978-0-549-44294-3
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