Talk:Local government in the Philippines

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Autonomous regions as LGUs?[edit]

The Local Government Code of 1991 m makes no explicit mention of autonomous regions as being "local government units". Only provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays are considered local government units. Regions are groupings of local government units, whose composition is set by the president, for administrative convenience. An autonomous region is a grouping of local government units that have, through congressional legislation as affirmed by plebiscite, been given the power to form a regional government, and not a local government. That's why the LGC does not have any provision regarding how a autonomous region is supposed to be run, since Congress confers powers and responsibilities to an autonomous region separately, on a one-on-one basis with due consideration of its specific situation and needs. Even the Philippine Constitution does not classify autonomous regions as a level of local government, and the wording in RA 9054 which expanded the powers and territorial coverage of the ARMM recognizes the autonomous regional government as "corporate entity with jurisdiction over all matters devolved to it by the Constitution and this Organic Act."

I suggest that all references to autonomous regions being "local government units" be changed so as to not mislead. Autonomous regional government is indeed a level of government, but that does not make it an LGU (a specific term defined in the LGC) since it is outside the scope of the Local Government Code. I also think that the [File:Philippine_local_government.png] image would be an excellent addition to the article. — isagani (talk) 04:40, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Article X entitled "Local Government", Section 1 of the constitution is vague:
Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.""
Section 4 says:
The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.
Section 16 later says:
The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that laws are faithfully executed.
To add, the phrase "Local government units" originated in the constitution:
The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure... among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources...
There's this local government book written by the (former?) administrator of Bulacan that includes autonomous regions in its contents. Also, aren't all LGUs "corporate entities with jurisdiction over all matters devolved to it by the Constitution"? And the LGC doesn't mention autonomous regions since the laws for them, as stated by the constitution should be according to Section 18, created under a separate organic act.
And I have no opposition in adding the image that I created. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 10:25, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
But none of these authoritative sources call an autonomous regional government explicitly as a "Local Government Unit." I agree that the autonomous region should be in the article, because it is a sub-national level of government. But my problem is its labelling as an LGU. No one refers to the ARMM as LGU-ARMM, and it is not under the purview of the DILG and is never a subject in the LGC, which deals with LGUs. If one can come up with an explicit, authoritative legal source regarding the classification of the autonomous region as a "local government unit," then I'll gladly concede. Until that day comes, the article is in the wrong, by gravely lacking in supporting sources, and by claiming an autonomous region as something which it is not. --- isagani (talk) 17:37, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, I can live with avoiding the term "local government unit," we can use "levels of local government." The reason I'm insisting on using "local government" is that the Philippines is a unitary state, that is, the local governments derive their powers from the national government, as opposed to federal states where the state governments are self-governing, the local governments report to them, and other powers are delegated to a federal government. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 12:36, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
The title of the article can remain, in my opinion. However, designating an autonomous region as a form/level of "local" government will still be inaccurate. It doesn't matter whether a country is run as a unitary or federal state, what matters are the laws. The United Kingdom, for example, is a unitary state, but its constituent countries of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England are not considered to be in the "local" level. A similar arrangement exists in Spain with its autonomous communities. Therefore, in the same manner, autonomous regional government should not be considered "local," not only because it is not considered an LGU (a fact already established in this discussion). Rather it is an added layer of sub-national government — which has jurisdiction over a group of local government units whose voters gave consent to establish this specific form of government — unto which the central government has devolved significant powers that were previously exclusively under its domain. That is what separates the autonomous region from regular LGUs. Another difference is that regular LGUs derive their powers and responsibilities from the LGC, which in a manner of speaking, provides the "template" for all future provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays to follow. However, there is no "template" for autonomous regional government. The organic acts that sought to establish autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras were specifically tailored to the needs and aspirations of the peoples of those regions, just as the Constitution intended. --- isagani (talk) 20:56, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I don't buy the "sub-national government" invention. The UK and Spain are not directly comparable with the Philippines, indeed, no country is, so I don't see what's the point in comparison with any other country. I do see your insistence on using the LGC as the "template" in local governments, but local governments, or governments below the national government level, is not exclusively limited to what the LGC says; indeed, the constitution groups the autonomous regions as local governments, and same with LGUs, autonomous regions derive their powers from the organic acts, just as the LGUs got theirs from the LGCs and from their charters, which should all conform to the constitution.
So, I don't buy the "sub-national government" construct, reject that the LGC is the only source of local governments (Manila, still up to this day, has been governed under its charter and not via the LGC), and autonomous regions, while not being LGUs as defined in the LGCs (which are admittedly outside their jurisdiction), are considered local governments by the constitution, and this is all that matters. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 03:36, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Fact #1: Manila is governed by its charter AND the LGC. Its charter (as later amended) gives it the power to carry out its responsibilities as specifically legislated by Congress, while the LGC gives a blanket uniform set of powers and responsibilities that all local government units are supposed to have. Take out the LGC from the equation, and what do you have? Manila's Sangguniang Panlungsod wouldn't exist, for one. The same is applicable to provinces, municipalities and barangays. Take a look at the statutes that created the provinces of Northern Samar or Basilan, the municipalities of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat or Ampatuan, Maguindanao, or any barangay, all of which contain no specific provisions regarding how these specific local governments are supposed to function. Without the LGC, these LGUs will have no legal basis on which to establish organized government.
Fact #2: The ARMM is governed by its organic act, but not the LGC. The LGC does not have anything to say about how autonomous regions are supposed to be run. It does not even mention the autonomous region as being a tier of local government. As said before, only provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays are termed "local government units." The argument that autonomous regions are also local governments just because the President is mandated to exercise supervision over them (just like the case for regular LGUs) is flawed, since the President is also tasked to supervise most other things, being the Chief Executive of the nation. This article in its current form is in the wrong since it considers the autonomous region as something which the laws don't say it is. If the laws really considered it as such, why are we going to great lengths trying to justify it by "reading between the lines"? The laws are written to be as explicit and unambiguous as possible - if it doesn't say autonomous regions are a form of local government unit, who are we to claim such?
Fact #3: My use of "subnational" is neither neologism nor invention. It means "inferior to the national government," or "subdivision of a nation." In both senses, all the five entities enumerated in the beginning of the article are considered subnational levels of government. But what separates the autonomous region from the four others is that it is not a local government unit, which is made very clear through my arguments in this discussion. The autonomous regional government has its own instruments of state that were previously exclusive to the central government. For example, the ARMM has its own Regional Department of the Interior and Local Government, meaning that it is not itself a local government unit, but a specially created layer of subnational government (replicating some important institutions and structure of the central government) designed to handle the affairs of a group of local government units that have collectively agreed to be governed by this layer of government. Hence my assertion that if there was ever a classification to attach to an autonomous region, it should be "subnational" (which is TRUE whichever way you look at it) rather than "local" (which can be true to an extent if semantics are stretched, but the strict interpretation as per the LGC does not permit us so).
In sum, the problem that I think we're trying to solve here is whether it is appropriate to call the autonomous region a level of local government. The phrase "local government" to me (and likely to many readers too) appears very tied to the concept of "local government unit" firmly established in the LGC, and that's why its use to refer to the autonomous region is a bit uncomfortable. It doesn't help when we go about calling the autonomous region a "local government unit," which is just wrong. I do believe that while the term "local government" CAN work to describe it (insofar as the autonomous regional government is "local" to Muslim Mindanao), there is a much better way of classifying the autonomous region without messing with and inventing something beyond the explicitly written laws of the land, which currently consider only provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays to be "local government units." I reject the use of "local government unit" to refer to the autonomous region because it is not considered as such by current laws, and suggest that "autonomous regional government" can suffice, or use "subnational (entity/government)" if it is necessary to refer to the category into which the autonomous region belongs. --- isagani (talk) 21:09, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
WP:TLDR. Just answer this question: on what section in the constitution are provisions for autonomous regions located? If you refuse to answer, let's just bring this to WP:3O. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 03:18, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
(P.S. I've read your last sentence, I'm not even saying we'd use "local government unit" anymore. I'm just saying we'd use any sentence having the phrase "local government" without the word "unit." –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 03:20, 23 April 2011 (UTC))
(P.P.S. I listed this at WP:3O anyway. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 03:27, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
How unfortunate. Again. Because this isn't the first time WP:TLDR was whipped out because when inconvenient facts are laid out they are brushed aside. But that's perfectly fine, though in my humble opinion it's just lazy. A third opinion is welcome, anyone can adjudge what is and what isn't in the laws. --- isagani (talk) 22:14, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I am lazy. Not everyone has the time to read all of that. If it was the points you earlier said, then I don;t need to re-read that. If there are new points you could add them exclusively. If you could be more succinct it would be great. What were your points again? I'd submit whatever the person giving the 3O tells us. Do you? –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 03:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I've read your reply just now, and I dunno if you separated them into bullet points before but I'd use the same bullet points as you did:
  1. Manila can be governed without the LGC. Its charter was the LGC for Manila when there was no LGC in the pre-LGC days. How was Manila governed when there was no LGC back in the day?
  2. I've already removed the LGC out of the equation. The autonomous regions are local governments, as the Philippines is a unitary state. There are only two levels of government in unitary states: national and local.
  3. "Subnational" is a neologism, at least in the realm of political science and local governments. As stated in #2, there are two levels of government; any level between the national and local governments is an invention. If you'll examine the constitution, it refers to the Philippines as the "state," which means that it is a unitary state.
While people associate "local government" with "local government units," the constitution, and even political theory, are one in saying that while autonomous regions are not local government units, and I'd support any edits to fix those up, governments of the autonomous regions are local governments. Inventing "subnational" or any other word that suggests that there is a level between the national government and local governments is wrong both constitutionally and theoretically. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 18:10, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Summary[edit]

I'd feel bad for the person who'd make a third opinion on this, having to go through all of that text. It's probably a good idea to give a summary of the positions. –HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 17:50, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, to further emphasize the point, presently there are attempts to postpone the ARMM elections, and they all went through the Senate and House Committees on Local Government.HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 10:52, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

E. Ripley (talk · contribs) wants to offer a third opinion. To assist with the process, editors are requested to summarize the dispute in a short sentence below. (HTD, maybe you can copy and paste some or all of your above. Thank you for that.)

Viewpoint by (HTD)
....

The original dispute was whether an autonomous region was a local government unit. Since I conceded that point, now it seems that the dispute is whether governments of autonomous regions can be considered a level of local government.

  • Provisions for autonomous regions are located in Article X of the Constitution entitled "Local Government."
  • The Philippines is a unitary state, hence there are two levels of government: national and local, and autonomous regions' governments belong to the local level. There's no "subnational," "regional," or any other level of government between national and local governments in unitary states.
  • Strip this article of the notion that autonomous regions are LGUs, instead replacing them with the word "level" or any other appropriate word as long as it's not "local government units."

HTD (ITN: Where no updates but is stickied happens.) 18:10, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Viewpoint by (name here)
....
Third opinion by E. Ripley
....

Rewrite and rationalize Administrative divisions of the Philippines and Local government in the Philippines[edit]

I have thoughts at Talk:Administrative divisions of the Philippines#Rewrite and rationalize Administrative divisions of the Philippines and Local government in the Philippines --Bruce Hall (talk) 12:52, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

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