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Assessing Local Governance and Autonomy in the Philippines: Three Decades of the 1991 Local Government Code

This discussion paper looks at the issues and concerns of decentralization, democratization, and development vis-à-vis local governments in the Philippines. Briefly looking at the relevant concepts as well as historical and legal contexts of local governments and central-local relations, it begins with a review of the reforms introduced by the 1991 Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160). There is particular emphasis on assessing the impact of the 1991 Local Government Code on local governments, central-local relations, people’s participation, and development after three decades of implementation across different administrations to the present since the enactment of the Code. Then, it discusses development, continuing issues and challenges related to improving local governance, autonomy, and central-local relations in the Philippines. Finally, the study assesses the different suggested changes or reforms in central-local relations and local governments, including proposed amendments to the Local Government Code and the 1987 Constitution. The study draws from available academic literature, government documents, literature from nongovernment and international agencies, media reports, proceedings of public fora, and focus group discussions.


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