This year, some 263 local government units received the Seal of Good Local Governance given out by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The 17 provinces, 39 cities and 207 municipalities received their awards earlier this week during ceremonies held at the Manila Hotel.
The award recipients excelled in the following governance areas: Financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, peace and order, business-friendliness and competitiveness, environmental management, and tourism, culture and the arts.
There is also a proposal to add education, health and youth initiatives to the criteria, and to include barangays in the LGUs for consideration.
The coveted seal is a good way to recognize best practices in local government and to inspire other units to do the same in living up to their public service mandate.
But there is a catch: Getting the award is not the be-all and end-all of governance. The fluid political situation in the country makes local government a day-to-day affair. There are too many surprises, too many extraneous factors, and sometimes, sadly, too little predictability and continuity.
This is where the biggest challenge lies—for those recognized for good governance to continuously show they are worthy of the seal, not because they hit a particular target score one time, but because they consistently strive for excellence in governance despite the many odds and temptations that face them in the job.
The ultimate reward of good governance is not some cash prize in an envelope or a certificate on the wall, but the improved quality of life of constituents.