107 years ago, the basic foundation for municipal governments in the
country was laid with the promulgation of the Maura Law on May 19,
Named after the then Spanish Minister of Colonies, the law
reorganized town governments in the Philippines with the aim of making
them more effective and autonomous.
It created the municipal council headed by a captain (mayor),
with expanded powers for such tasks as revenue-raising, budget
preparation, public works supervision, and others.
as the Maura Law granted very limited powers (given the context of
colonial rule), it was nevertheless significant.
It created the basic municipal organization that was later
adopted, revised, and further strengthened by the American and Filipino
governments that succeeded Spanish rule.
the past century, however, practice has never quite matched the ideal of
“autonomous and effective” local governments.
Elite control of local politics, strong centralized trends, weak
local resource base, corruption and incompetence fostered local
governments that were not fully responsive to local needs.
moves to “empower” local governments have been pushed to a higher
stage with decentralization and the new Local Government Code.
At no other time have local governments been presented with as
large a challenge and opportunity for truly meaningful, participatory,
and effective local governance..
Extracted from an
article by Ybarra