On March 11th 2014, a seminar on decentralization to local government organizations (LGOs) was held by PPAO at the Royal City Hotel in Phuket Town. Hosting the seminar was Chief Executive – Paiboon Upattising together with his team consisting of Deputy Chief Executive – Chawalit Na Nakorn, Chief Administrator – Watcharin Pathomwattanapong, Council Members, Division Heads, officials and administrators as well as representatives from LGOs and involved agencies. Altogether, there were 120 participants.
Based on the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand BE 2540 and the Determining Plan and Process of Decentralization Act BE 2542, the Office of the Decentralization to Local Government Organization Committee (DLOC) has defined the role of Provincial Administration Offices (PAOs) in monitoring the public work of LGOs as follows:
1. PPAO will undertake public work within the province that is deemed too large a responsibility for certain LGOs or when responsibilities of some LGOs are seen to be overlapping.
2. LGOs are to create their own operational plans and coordinate with PAOs to make a master plan for the whole province.
Chief Administrator Watcharin said that the seminar, funded by PPAO, aim to develop knowledge of decentralization to LGOs, government agencies, PPAO Council Members and involved agencies for greater coordination and to ensure smooth transfer of functions from PAOs to LGOs without interrupting productivity and efficiency of the public services.
He added that the seminar has been given support by DLOC, whose Director – Weerachai Chomsakorn was present at the seminar. DLOC provided six speakers to lead the seminar.
In his speech, Mr Paiboon emphasized the importance of all attendees actually applying what they learn from the seminar in their public service work. He thanked Mr Weerachai for being present and for providing the seminar leaders. Decentralization, he said, means that LGOs are trusted with certain autonomy to carry out their public work while DLOC is responsible for developing policy.
He continued to say that Phuket is a small province with 19 LGOs. PPAO alone has operational budget of 1,000 M baht while a budget for all LGOs is set for 4,000 M baht. He urged all to work hard as use the funds effectively for public services.
“PPAO is the first in Thailand to broadcast its council meeting. I would like the decentralization process to be transparent and the funds used with utmost efficiency. I thank all PPAO officials who work hard to keep our budget on track and I expect the same from our LGOs. I would like our Council to be able to monitor transparency in using funds by LGOs. Decentralization means giving power and spreading equality among locals and locals should be able to check our work. This is democracy and Phuket province will be the top model for decentralization of power,” concluded Mr Paiboon.