The RA 7160 also known as the Local Government Code of 1991 gives the local government powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. To ensure the preservation and enhancement of culture, promotion of health and safety, right of people to a balanced ecology, development of scientific and technological capabilities, improvement of public morals, economic prosperity and social justice, full employment of residents, peace and order, and the preservation of comfort and convenience of its people.
The Constitution of the Philippines recognizes the importance of local governments. It provides as a policy that "the State shall guarantee and promote the autonomy of the local government units -- especially the barangays -- to ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities."
Local governments constitute the foundation of the entire structure of the government. The acts of the local government units affect the ordinary citizen more directly than those of the national government. The average citizen has more and closer contacts with the local governments and their agencies than with the national or provincial government, and is more concerned with the local affairs than with those of the national or provincial in scope.
The President of the Philippines exercises supervision over the whole country. But for purposes of administrative control, the Philippines is divided into units of different sizes -- known as political subdivisions. These are provinces, municipalities, cities, and barangays. These political subdivisions enjoy autonomy, especially in local affairs. But, they are also under the general supervision of the Chief Executive, through the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). These local governments are agencies of the national government in the matter of collection of taxes, law enforcement, and other governmental functions, which may be delegated by the national government to these local governments.
The provincial government takes care of the functions which affect the people of a certain province. The province is the largest political unit in the Philippines. It possess the following powers --- :
- to acquire and transfer real and personal properties,
- to enter into contracts, including those incurring obligations, which are expressly provided by law; and
- to exercise such other rights and incur such other obligations as are expressly authorized by law.
There are 77 provinces in the Philippines. They are classified according to their average income for five consecutive years. The higher the income of the province, the higher is its classification. A province elects its executives -- the governor, vice governor, and the members of the provincial board (vocales). There are three vocales in the first, second, and third class provinces, and two in the other classes of provinces. The rest of the provincial officials -- like the provincial treasurer, provincial assessor, district auditor, judges of the Regional Trial courts, provincial fiscal, division superintendent of schools, district health officer, district engineer, and register of deeds -- are all appointed by the corresponding departments of the national government.
However, under the New Local Government Code, they are the administrative control of the provincial governor. The election of the governor, vice governor, and members of the provincial board takes place on the Second Tuesday of November of the election year. They hold office for three years. They cannot serve for more than three consecutive terms. The provincial governor exercises general supervisory powers over the entire province. He also makes known to the people of his province all laws and orders of the government, especially those which directly concern them and sees to it that they are faithfully carried out. He acquints himself with the conditions of the municipalities comprising the province and advises local officials in matters affecting their official work.
The provincial board is the law making body of the province, with the provincial governor serving as the presiding officer. Some of its most important functions are as follows:
- it passes laws for the welfare of the municipalities and cities within its jurisdiction;
- it prepares and approves the provincial budget;
- it appropriates money for provincial purposes;
- it exercises the power of eminent domain; and
- it provides for the maintenance of equipment and buildings for provincial purposes.
The board holds a regular weekly meeting upon a day fixed by it. Special meetings, however, may be called by the provincial governor on any day.