vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability in governance
By Bong Fabe
Posted 25 August 2010
Regional Director Loreto Bhagwani. Photo:
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — To
ensure accountability and transparency in all local government
units, civil society organizations (CSOs) must get involved in
governance, according to the regional director of the Department of
Interior and Local Government in Northern Mindanao (DILG-10).
“The wish of the Secretary
(Jesse Robredo), in line with the vision of the President, is
transparency and accountability in governance (TAG). But this cannot
be done by us (in government) alone. This can be done with the
involvement of others in the civil society organizations,”
stressed Dir. Loreto Bhagwani.
CSOs are stakeholders who
play a very big role in ensuring that President Noynoy Aquino
deliver his campaign promise of ensuring change in government,
Bhagwani told participants to the recent Budget Tracking For
Transparent, Accountable Governance in Mindanao (BTTAG) Project
Orientation and CSO Training Workshop held at the International
Center for Peace (IC Peace) in Mindanao of the Balay Mindanaw
Foundation, Inc. (BMFI).
organizations], POs [people’s organizations], etc., together with
the corresponding [government] agencies, in the process must work
together for a better society that caters to the needs of the
community pursuant to Section 16 of the Local Government Code, which
is the Delivery of Basic Services,” he said.
Bhagwani said that while it
is incumbent upon those who rule to deliver basic services to the
governed, the “bigger bulk of the responsibility is with the civil
society, with the community where these things are happening.”
He said that according to the
Local Government Code, at least 25 percent of the members of various
local government councils must come from the CSOs (NGOs, POs, etc.)
and “this must now be reflected in the actual presence of these
people, not just in figures.”
Abanil, provincial planning and development officer of Misamis
Oriental. Photo: Bong Fabe
According to Bhagwani, the
BTTAG training workshop will help those in the CSOs learn how to
track down budgetary allocation and spending of local governments.
He said this is very
important because according to the law, no local government must
spend money without the authority from the Sanggunian.
“But some people spend
without authority. Now is the time for them to be held accountable
for all these spending,” he stressed.
The BTTAG training-workshop,
according to Cynthia Abanil, provincial planning and development
officer of Misamis Oriental, “brings in the participation of CSOs
in governance. This is a long journey and we are taking a small step
with this workshop towards our goal even if we don’t see
significant changes during our lifetime.”
“The link between planning
and budgeting to expenditure management and back again to planning
should really be operationalized. The pressure should come from the
civil society,” she stressed.
Abanil, who represented
Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno in the training-workshop, said
that it is the dream of every Filipino for the leaders in government
to be examples of good governance.
“Good governance will not
happen even though those governing are doing their job if those who
are governed are not doing their job as well. Civil society
organizations play a very important role in good governance,” she
Bhagwani said that budget
tracking is “one of the very pronounced platform of the new
administration, which is also very well supported by the Department
of Interior and Local Government.”
He said that laws instituting
transparency in all government transactions have long been passed,
but it is very unfortunate that only very few local government chief
executives and officers implement them and only very few people from
the civil society care for their implementation.
“It’s in the [Local
Government] Code that the income and expenses of local governments
must be posted in a conspicuous part of the city, provincial and
municipal halls. It is there but it’s not being done. It is not
being complied with,” he said.
project manager Paul Richard A. Paraguya. Photo:
According to RA 9485
(Anti-Red Tape Law), all LGUs, as part of their transparency
program, “must establish, must publish in very conspicuous places
in the respective LGUs a system where a transacting public can do
and go without need of a fixer.”
“Dapat naay graph or
diagram or chart nga magtudlo sa mga tao unsay dapat himoon ug where
to go kung mo-transact sa gobyerno [There must be a
graph or diagram or chart that will direct people what they need to
do and where to go when transacting business with government]. These
are required under that law,” he said.
Bhagwani, however, said that
this particular law is 97 percent complied with in LGUs in Region X.
He also narrated that during
their meeting in Manila on July 16, Secretary Robredo “told us to
ensure that LGUs and government agencies partner with NGAs
[non-government agencies] and NGOs to strengthen transparency and
accountability and stakeholdership.”
Paul Richard A. Paraguya,
BTTAG project manager, said the project, which is being done in
partnership with BMFI, The Asia Foundation and USAID, is “not a
“We are not here to watch
the LGUs. We are here for a journey—to improve transparency and
accountability and institute policy advocacy,” he said.