Civil Society Organizations and Local Government Units from BARMM and Caraga Benchmark in Metro Manila

Published: Jun 3, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Civil Society Organizations and Local Government Units of Caraga and BARMM together with the city officials of Quezon City.
© Foto: Zenny Awing

A delegation of 34 representatives from various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), along with 30 government officials from Local Government Units (LGUs) and government agencies in the Caraga region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), are embarking on a study visit and training in Quezon City and Pasig City. This three-day event, from June 3 to June 5, 2024, aims to enhance the understanding of CSO and LGU participants on CSO participation in governance and the implementation of social accountability mechanisms to effectively address the needs of citizens.

The study visit includes field tours and interactive dialogues with Quezon City and Pasig City LGUs and CSOs on June 3 and 4, providing practical insights into the good governance practices of these two model cities. The learning activity will conclude on June 5 with a whole-day training on participatory local governance and social accountability mechanisms conducted by the University of the Philippines - National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) at the UP Diliman campus.

“We expect that through this study visit, we will learn ways to improve our organization and our partnership with the local government unit. We are grateful to be here, and whatever we learn from this visit will be brought back to our province in Basilan and, hopefully, implemented in our municipality,” said Marcelina Brussel, chairperson of the Maluso Women Gender and Development Association.

The study visits and seminars are expected to enhance coordination and trust-building among CSOs and LGUs, focusing on sectors such as women and children, agriculture, peace, environment, Indigenous Peoples, and Muslim communities. Both Quezon City and Pasig City LGUs promptly responded to the visit requests and have provided logistical support to facilitate this event.

The participating CSOs and LGUs come from various regions in Mindanao, including Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in the BARMM area, as well as Surigao del Norte in the Caraga region.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Carlo Sotto warmly welcomed the CSOs and LGUs, saying,

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to share the good practices we implement in our LGU regarding people’s participation. Good governance is our top priority. We always dream of a city centered on the people, not politics, and aim to make governance and development processes easy for the public. Honestly, we also want to learn from you and your approaches to develop new ways to serve the people. I believe that this engagement is not just about sharing best practices but also about building strong relationships, as this is the only way to help improve our country.”

This event is a key component of the “Strengthening Capacities of Civil Society in Caraga and BARMM for Good Governance” project, funded by the European Union and implemented by People in Need (PIN), Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI), and Maranao People Development Center Inc. (MARADECA). The project collaborates with 34 CSOs and CSO networks across the Caraga and BARMM regions, aiming to enhance their participation in public decision-making at different government levels. It provides tailored capacity-building assistance, support to joint initiatives of CSOs with LGUs, and financial support to CSO actions.

Following these study visits and training sessions, the project will fund 10 joint initiatives between CSOs and LGUs in Caraga and BARMM. This funding will enable the implementation of insights gained from the study visits and workshops, allowing CSOs and LGUs to apply best practices, collaborate on implementing social accountability mechanisms, and promote good governance.

Autor: Zenny Awing, MEAL and Communications Officer

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