In an event organized by the Ateneo School of Government on May 3 in Manila recognition were given to the programs initiated in the following LGUs: Dumaguete City was awarded for engaging the public in ensuring the right quality and quantity of drugs provided to the citizens at the barangay level.
Naga City, for engaging the public in monitoring the efficiency of education services like textbooks, school furnitures, school buildings, teachers’ provisions and students’ welfare programs.
Puerto Princesa City, engages the public in monitoring their community-based sustainable tourism by ensuring the balance between economic development and environmental protection.
For engaging the public in monitoring of the revenue-generating Environmental User’s Fee, Samal City also received an award while San Miguel, Bohol is recognized for engaging the public in monitoring the LGU’s rice production program.
Southern Leyte , for public in monitoring of various infrastructure projects in the province, ensuring the standards of health facilities, roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the province.
These LGUs are said to have applied the Government Watch (G-Watch) Social Accountability Model, wherein both the citizens and government officials watch or monitor government processes.
It is a model conceived by the Ateneo in 2000 as a response to the massive reports of public corruption and inefficiency.
Program volunteers and officials in each LGU were awarded with plaque of recognition from the Ateneo and the European Commission of the Philippines, which funded the programs through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
G-Watch project director Joy Aceron, explained that these initiatives highlight the idea that citizens can share the responsibility of implementing more effective government programs at the local level, instead of simply complaining or making demands.
“All politics is local in the Philippines. It is where genuine political changes will happen,” she said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, on the other hand, said that the secret to the success of these initiatives lie in the hands of a productive and optimistic public.
“If this is constituency-driven, meaning people themselves will demand, that their local government should be transparent, should disclose, should engage… this [project] will be sustainable,” he said.
Robredo is optimistic that the G-Watch model, if mobilized in other LGUs, can improve government service delivery at the national level. (www.ugnayan.com)