Calbayog hosts First
Provincial PCL Convention
By EMY C. BONIFACIO,
CATBALOGAN CITY –
More or less 156 Samar legislators attended the 1st Provincial
Convention of the Philippine Councilors League - Samar Chapter held
last January 19, 2012 at the Cultural and Convention Center in
The participants were
welcomed by a Sarakiki-Hadang Ritual performed by the scholars of the
Calbayog City Arts and Cultural Office (CACO).
Being hosted by
Calbayog City, no less than the City Mayor, Hon. Ronald P. Aquino; PCL
Samar Chapter President, Hon Roger Casurao and Samar’s First District
Congressman Mel Senen Sarmiento graced the occasion to welcome the
As speakers, the PCL
invited its National Chairman, Hon. Alan Zulueta and its National
President, Hon. Alma Moreno-Salic.
In its welcome
message, Mayor Aquino thanked the PCL for holding its first convention
in Calbayog. He expressly shared his vision to make Calbayog as the
convention capital in Eastern Visayas.
lengthily the “Innovations in Local Legislation” which is said to be a
key to building transformational governance in
Samar. Moreno-Salic gave an update on what she has accomplished
under her term. On the other hand, Cong. Sarmiento shared a timely
discussion on climate change and its challenges to urbanization and
the government’s policy response.
The session was ended
with a press conference attended by the local media. The panel was
composed by Hon. Roger Casurao, Hon. Alan zulueta and Hon. Mel Senen
One of the questions
raised was on the performance evaluation of the legislators. According
to Zulueta, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as
partner of the Philippine Councilors League, provides an assessment
tool for local government units. A tie up with other agencies in the
implementation of the Local Legislative Award Program where a regional
selection committee is tasked to assess the performance of the
legislative councils based on specific criteria has been undertaken. A
Sangguniang Bayan’s performance is being rated on the number of
legislations passed, office structure, sessions and effectiveness of
Moreover, an ongoing
competition for the Ten Most Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines
is being partnered with Sen. Edgardo Angara. An outstanding councilor
is expected to receive one million pesos worth of project funded by
Angara. The award
is intended to encourage legislators to enhance their capabilities and
motivate them to better serve their constituents.
To further improve the
competency level of PCL members, Casurao announced the
institutionalization of the PCL’s Legislative Academy. The academy has
already produced 19 graduates of a Masters Degree and 600 more are
expected to graduate from its masteral and baccalaureate degrees.
Recently, the Civil
Service Commission thru Republic Act No. 101-56 has conferred upon
members of the Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlalawigan the
appropriate Civil Service Eligibility. The said law was approved by
President Benigno Aquino on December 20, 2011.
A councilor who has
finished college or a bachelor’s degree and has served nine (9) years
or three (3) terms will be entitled to a Career Service Professional
Eligibility. If a member has only six (6) years service as legislator,
he is entitled to a Career Service Sub-professional Eligibility,
provided that he has earned at least seventy-two (72) units in any
four year course in college or baccalaureate degree program.
The members are
reminded to comply with the Civil Service Commission’s requirement in
the conferment of the said eligibility. The qualified applicants have
to submit their service records, transcript of records and other
credentials which will be processed for approval by the CSC.
Another issue raised
by the local media is the possibility of amending the qualifications
of would be legislators in order to fully deliver its mandate as
legislators. As legislators, the need to increase the educational
level in order to have a comprehensive understanding of their
responsibility as lawmakers and respond effectively to the needs of
their constituents was a topic of discussion.
This was asked by the
media after commenting on the reality that there are legislators who
cannot even read and write.
PCL Chair Zulueta
informed that moves have been initiated to deliberate on the issue.
However, the Local Government Code and the 1987 Philippine
Constitution provides for a very minimal requirement. Casurao
explained that the provisions could not be violated to give every
citizen the opportunity to run as mandated in a democratic country. A
constitutional amendment needs a legislative act of congress, Casurao
The convention was
generally considered a success by the organizers despite the absence
of more than fifty (50) more legislators from
participants were delighted to be billeted at the new Ciriaco’s Hotel
that hosted a party in the same evening.