Aiming to promote good governance among local government units (LGU) in Laguna, the Department of Development Broadcasting and Telecommunication of the College of Development Communication (DDBT-CDC) held a soft launch on April 22 of its new program, “Ready To Serve (RTS): LGUs Para sa Bayan.”

The new program, to be aired on DZLB Online, is the brainchild of Lester P. Ordan, a faculty member at DDBT, with the aid of his volunteer undergraduate students.

Part of the event was a capacity-building activity held for volunteer community broadcasters from various partner state and local universities and colleges (S/LUCs) in Laguna to enable them to effectively and efficiently report about the LGUs during the program.

These S/LUCs are the National University Laguna, Laguna University, Laguna State Polytechnic University – Los Baños, and City College of Calamba. Also in attendance were in-house student volunteers from CDC.

Six resource speakers discussed the ins and outs of the operations of LGUs.

The first session in the morning on “The Role of Local Government Units in Promoting Good Governance” was facilitated by Dr. Vella A. Atienza, an associate professor at the College of Public Affairs and Development.

Atienza discussed the value of good governance, its significance to society, especially the marginalized, and its necessary elements such as state capability, accountability, and responsiveness. She also presented best practices of exemplary LGUs in the country.

The next session “Local Development Planning,” was facilitated by Lou Andie G. Diaz-Reyes, project development officer at the Municipal Planning and Development Office of Los Baños. She explained the planning system carried out by LGUs and their dual functions as a political unit and a corporate body.

After a short break, Ordan facilitated a panel discussion by two barangay chairpersons of Los Baños, Hon. Rommel E. Maningas of Mayondon and Hon. Relly C. Palis of San Antonio.

They explained how they use their authority to improve the welfare of the residents in their barangays through the provision of social services. They also tackled the realities and challenges of dealing with their constituents and resolving conflicts in the community.

In the afternoon, Minerva L. Bongaling, the municipal treasurer of Pagsanjan, addressed the various aspects of “Financial Management in LGUs,” particularly taxation and income generation.

During the last session, Mirasol P. Mojica, local legislative staff officer and secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Los Baños, discussed the composition, roles, and dynamics of the Sangguniang Bayan. She concluded by recalling her learning experiences as someone who has worked in the LGU for almost a decade.

The participants then joined breakout sessions where they shared what they learned and gave feedback.

John Michael Demdam, a campus journalist from the City College of Calamba, said that the event offered him an opportunity to expand his networks with various campus journalists in Laguna and broaden his understanding of the workings in LGUs.

“It shed light into how LGUs work and how programs or activities take a long process before it is approved for implementation and on how good governance ensures LGUs [fulfill] their goal of serving the people in the right way and the correct manner,” he further explained.

On the other hand, campus broadcaster Franzine Lyka D. San Luis from the Laguna State Polytechnic University highlighted that through the training, she was able to learn about the functions and impact of LGUs on community development.

“As a BA Broadcasting student, this training highlighted in me the importance of accurate communication in civil and political matters, showing how the media can strengthen community ties and address pressing issues. This experience underscores our responsibility as media practitioners to be community change-makers, using our knowledge to drive positive change and promote transparency,” she said.

In her welcome remarks, CDC Dean Maria Stella C. Tirol said that she hoped that the RTS would serve as a platform where the community is given a voice and can participate in local political affairs.

She further said that it allows LGUs to exercise transparency and accountability, just like in CDC’s similar extension programs such as Bantay Halalan Laguna. She also expressed her enthusiasm for the pilot episode of RTS to come to fruition within the year.
Dr. Trina Leah T. Mendoza, chair of DDBT, gave the closing remarks. She congratulated the participants for finishing their training and said that she hoped for their active participation during the implementation of RTS. (Czyrnx Elyzha Szharll L. Eugenio)

This article was originally published on the UPLB website.