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Flores, Maxin Annette S.

Dascil, Vwxyz D.
Lagamia, Jay Emmanuel A.
Tamag, Johnlen U.

 Structure

 Centralized or decentralized?

o Power is decentralized because

 History
o The local self-government system was implemented in Korea in 1952
o However, it lasted only for nine years
o With the rise of authoritarian rule after Park Chung Hee's military coup,
local elections were abolished, and the constitution postponed
implementation of local autonomy indefinitely until the hypothetical future
unification of the Korean peninsula
o The assassination of President Park in 1979 and the rise of the Fifth
Republic reestablished a constitutional base for local self-rule
o As Korea enjoyed extensive and rapid economic development throughout
the 1970s and 1980s, its people became more interested in political
freedom and human rights issues. Democratization became a crucial
concern in the late 1980s and the early 1990s
o the revival of the local autonomy system became a symbol of
democratization, and a major point of political strife.
Flores, Maxin Annette S.
Dascil, Vwxyz D.
Lagamia, Jay Emmanuel A.
Tamag, Johnlen U.

o After a long debate over the local autonomy system and several
amendments to the Local Autonomy Act (LAA), local council elections
were held in 1991 and full-fledged local autonomy with comprehensive
local elections followed four years later
 Functions
o The first, policy-making, includes enacting ordinances and allocating
financial resources. Policy-making is the most important function of local
council in a representative local democracy system. The policy-making
function is realized in several ways. Firstly, local councils make, revise,
and abolish ordinances which regulate and provide legal basis of official
actions of local governments. They can initiate a bill with the signatures of
either more than ten council members, or one fifth of the total council
o Secondly, local councils have the so-called power of purse: to review and
revise the budget proposal prepared by executive branches and to
approve it. However, local councils are not allowed to increase the amount
of budget for a certain item, or to introduce a new item in the budget.
Finally, local councils may use their policy-making power by approving or
rejecting executive branches' policy proposals. In their second function,
councilors are expected to represent their constituents, the people who
live in their districts. Councilors are expected to speak for the interests of
their electorate. As explained in the previous section, local councilors are
elected by district election. This means that individual councilors have
their own constituencies to represent in the legislative body. Taking care
of citizen petitions is regarded as the rewarding business of local
o The third, oversight over the policy and activities of the executive branch,
is also a major function of local councils. Local councils review policy
proposals and budget preparation submitted by the executive and request
changes regarding the content. In doing so, councilors as a whole can
reflect the will of the citizens in local government policies and activities.
Regarding this power, LAA guarantees the authority of council to inspect
and investigate the executive branch's affairs for a maximum of 14 days
for upper-level councils and a maximum of 9 days for lower-level councils.
In addition, the council can investigate a specific affair within the domain
of local governments when a plenary session makes a decision by a
majority vote. In the midst of inspection and investigation, the council can
demand the submission of documents, and demand to have the head of
the local government or a public official appear in the session to give a
Flores, Maxin Annette S.
Dascil, Vwxyz D.
Lagamia, Jay Emmanuel A.
Tamag, Johnlen U.

 Powers
The first clause of Article 35 of the Local Autonomy Act (LAA) exemplifies some of the
key powers of the local council as follows:
o Enactment, revision and abolishment of ordinances
o Review and approval of budgets
o Imposition of user fees, service charges and local taxes that are not
prescribed either by law or by executive and ministerial orders
o Approval of the executive branch's activities using financial resources
o Audit and inspection of administrative affairs
o Receiving citizens' petitions