June 21, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cordillera encouraged local government units in the region planning to enter into sister-city or twinning relationships to expand the coverage of their partnerships to bring in more developmental initiatives to their localities.

The DILG earlier this month issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 2024-066 that outlines the amended guidelines on the establishment of national or international Sister-City or Town-Twinning Programs that seeks to streamline the procedures of establishing more defined inter-local government or international partnerships.

DILG-Cordillera Director Araceli A. San Jose said as LGUs intend to forge local and international partnerships, they must ensure these ties can contribute to their pursuit of addressing contemporary issues such as sustainable development and Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA), the latter critical for Cordillera LGUs.

“We recognize the importance of socio-cultural exchange as a means to foster understanding, friendship, and goodwill; at the same time, we must look at these partnerships as an opportunity for knowledge-sharing where we can learn about their best practices that we can potentially adopt or even replicate in our own communities,” San Jose said.

DILG MC 2024-066 recommends the designation of an existing office or department in the LGU as the “Local Government Relations Unit” (LGRU) that shall act as the coordinative body in discussing, crafting, and finalizing proposals on potential local and international partnerships.

The LGRU may be under the directive supervision of the local chief executive or under the department they deem appropriate.

The MC further defines the scope of the LGRU’s role in preparing a profile of the LGU, in the form of a brochure, taking into consideration the expanded coverage of the partnership to include technical exchange and cooperation in various economic undertakings.

The body shall also discuss among themselves the parameters of the proposed partnership by taking into consideration the LGUs’ historical, socio-political, cultural, and economic interests.

The LGRU shall also recommend the approval of the sister-city or town-twinning proposal through a sanggunian resolution upon the endorsement of the LCE.

Prior to this, an authority by the sanggunian for the LCE to negotiate or enter into any form of inter-LGU agreement must be secured accordingly.

San Jose said the LGRU must ensure that the citizens are involved in this process by initiating dialogues or consultations with stakeholders.

“We must invite civil society organizations whose areas of expertise are aligned with the main subject matter of the partnership to help our LGU define their objectives,” she said.

San Jose reminded LGUs with plans of establishing inter-LGU partnerships that the proposed areas of collaboration and thematic areas of activities may be pursued so long that these are aligned with the LGU’s Annual Investment Program and/or directly related in their comprehensive development plans.

She further reminded LGUs to strictly comply with all applicable guidelines from the Commission on Audit and other relevant rules and regulations relative to the utilization of donations of any nature.

“Our LGUs must exercise utmost due diligence when exploring potential partnerships with other local governments to ensure the objectives are aligned with our LGUs vision and development goals in their local development plans. We must ensure that the partnership will ultimately help our LGUs improve their local service delivery,” San Jose said. – Press release