This local institutional capability pertains to the actual and potential ability of the townspeople to plan for, and manage, the pattern of development of their community. It focuses on the municipal government, but also touches on the opportunities available for non-government and people’s organizations to participate in local governance.
The study does not intend to make a management audit of the local government’s performance. It seeks merely to describe the organizational structure of the local government focusing on the planning function, the fiscal resources and management of the LGU, the development orientation of the local legislative body, and public-private participation in selected local development initiatives.
THE MUNICIPAL ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE
The organizational set up shows the LGU’s compliance with the minimum requirements for its viable operations (Figure 15). Key government offices are in place. There are, however, positions identified in the 1991 Local Government Code as optional but which are vitally important that were not created. Examples are the Municipal Tourism Officer and the Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO).
THE MUNICIPAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (MDC)
As defined by the LGC, the Municipal Development Council (MDC) in the municipal has been reconstituted. It is composed of the Mayor as the Chairman, all Punong Barangays, the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the SB, the Congressman or his representative, and NGOs operating in the municipality as members.
THE MUNICIPAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
The current MPDO has four staff complement — the MPDC, a Project Development Assistant, an Administrative Assistant II and a Labor Foreman. Given its mandate as the technical arm and secretariat of the Municipal Development Council, the scope of its responsibilities and duties, having an MPDO with only three staff is not commensurate to its tasks, to say the least. The technical skills required in effective planning cannot be adequately provided by the current structure and capabilities of the MPDO.
Status of Financial Health
The Municipality of Mercedes has managed to maintain a positive balance of total receipts over total expenditures for the fiscal years 2016, 2017 2018 and 2019. Both receipts and expenditures shows an inconsistent trend in all stated years. (Table 74 and Figure 23)
MUNICIPAL REVENUES BY SOURCE
In terms of sources of revenues over a period of four years, Operating and Miscellaneous Revenues and Tax Revenues are major sources of the municipality’s income. (Table 75 and Figure 24)
EXTENT OF FISCAL AUTONOMY
The data (Table 76 and Figure 18) shows the proportion of local revenues to total municipal income. A bigger part of the income is derived from the municipality’s share in the country’s IRA. In 2019, only around 12% of the municipality’s income is locally generated. This somehow indicates the municipality’s relative dependence on the contribution of the national government. The challenge therefore is for the LGU to explore ways to increase the share of locally generated resources to the total municipal income.
ACTUAL EXPENDITURE BY GENERAL ACCOUNT
The data below (Table 77) suggest an improvement in terms of the pattern of expenditure by the municipality over a period of three years. Same level of actual expenditures for personnel services can be observed from 2008 to 2009 which slightly increased in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (Figure 19). A significant increase in capital outlay between the years 2009 and 2010 can be seen but it decreased in year 2011 and then increased again in 2012. Moreover, expenditures on Maintenance and Operating Expenses continuously increased. If this pattern continues, this could establish a positive trend towards the LGU investing more in activities and projects that would bear impact on the socio-economic well-being of the people in the long term.
“Mercedes is a world class tourism hub and a key player for the production of renewable energy in Camarines Norte and the Center of Excellence for Fisheries in the Bicol Region where god-loving, empowered and health citizenry are living in a preserved and protected natural environment, with well-planned and functional infrastructure, and a vibrant economy under a dynamic and transparent leadership where everyone adheres to the principles of sustainable development.”