Local Autonomy, or the spirit of self-rule, is a key component of democracy. It may be defined as an initial design for democratic rule in which power is given to all localities within the state.
Such governments are granted, in principle at least, a degree of autonomy from central government rule agreeing to comply only with certain policies and laws.
Local authorities enjoy wide latitude in making decisions about how best to serve their communities and are free from most forms of external interference by the central administration concerning their internal affairs.
The Local Government Code provides the framework for implementing this autonomy: it sets up regional governments and municipal districts that qualify under it as local government units (LGUs). It also provides for a third type of local government structure, the independent city.
The Constitution, however, seems to reserve jurisdiction to central government in certain areas. In particular, it states that “[o]rganizations on matters relating to national security and foreign policy which are not subject to any general or special law shall be under the command of the President and shall be responsible only to him.” (Sec. 8(1) )
The Local Government Code empowers LGUs to establish their own departments in charge of implementing their programs, activities and services; however, LGUs must seek approval from central government before such departments can create ordinances.
The Local Governments Act of 1995 was enacted to enshrine the principle of local autonomy and strengthen the role of LGUs in the country’s political and economic life.
There are nine LGUs, including:
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) [ “Local Government Units” ]
Local Government Units in the National Capital Region (NCR) [ “LGU” ]
Origin: The Local Government Code was originally written by a committee composed of representatives from all political parties, professional groups and sectors, government agencies, nongovernment organizations, educational institutions, private business and civil society organizations.