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Chairperson’s Message to the General Assembly

Our 25th year has been pivotal for CODE-NGO as we continue to pursue our mission to be a trusted national voice of civil society and to advance the capacities of our members for transformative leadership, and our vision of a developed, just and sustainable Philippine society.  Our silver anniversary has been shaped by historical events in our country and in our world. This fiscal year 2015 to 2016 marks the 30th year of the People Power Revolution, 25th year of the Local Government Code, historic signing of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, ratification of the Climate Change Agreement and, more critically, a change in the country’s political leadership after the May 2016 national and local elections.

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Chairperson Paraguya reports CODE-NGO’s accomplishments for 2015-16 to the General Assembly

We continued to stay focused on our agenda at the 4th year of our Strategic Plan 2013-2017 on the following Key Result Areas (KRAs):

  • KRA 1: Resource Generation Assistance for Member Networks
  • KRA 2: Strategic Capacity Building for Governance, Networking and Advocacy Effectiveness
  • KRA 3: Knowledge Development and Management
  • KRA 4: Increased Effectiveness of Development Advocacy.

What have we achieved this year?

On our KRA 1: Resource Generation Assistance for Member Networks:

We have supported the processes by which 10 of 12 of our member networks have updated their operations manuals and strategic plans. Seven (7) of them have crafted their financial sustainability plans.  This was done through funding support and technical assistance by volunteer mentors and the secretariat to member networks who needed such support.

We developed 7 consortium project proposals and received grants for 5 of them amounting to 27 million pesos, compared to our 15 million target this year. These grants support our work on participatory governance, advocacy for the transparency and accountability of public institutions, CSO good governance and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). Among those who supported our work are:  Peace and Equity Foundation, Christian Aid, Misereor, European Union, National Endowment for Democracy, Hivos for Making All Voices Count, Civicus, Commission on Human Rights with the United Nations Development Program, and Management Systems International with USAID.

Together with other organizations, we also successfully advocated for amendments to the government guidelines for accreditation of CSOs wishing to receive public funds, making these less burdensome especially for smaller organizations – although more still needs be done to improve the guidelines.

On our KRA 2: Strategic Capacity Building for Governance, Networking and Advocacy Effectiveness:

Guided by our Commission on Institution and Capacity Building (CICB) and Commission on Internal Reform Initiatives (CIRI), we have raised our performance in terms of our internal CSO Good Governance targets, with 64% of members renewing their commitment to our Code of Conduct, from 45% last year.  Also, all member networks are now applying the CSO Good Governance Checklist for their member organizations, so far covering 25% of the network’s total membership. Four (4) member networks – PBSP, AF, CBD, PHILSSA – are certified by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC), one network – NATCCO – by ISO; while 3 others are processing their application.  We have also introduced a mentoring component in our capacity building program for Member Networks, which involved 35 mentors and 69 organizations from May to August 2016. Our work on further strengthening the organizational capacities of our member networks and base organizations was enhanced by our Expanded Capacity Building Fund (eCBF) project, which, with the support of the Peace and Equity Foundation, infused an additional PhP 7.3 million this year to our PhP 3 million Capacity Building Fund (CBF) for member networks.

We have continued to strengthen the capacities of our member networks and key base organizations on organizational development, DRRM processes and humanitarian principles and participatory governance. By working with our 12 member networks, we have organized 76 CSO capacity building programs and consultation processes in 56 provinces in 16 regions this year through our projects and initiatives on Citizens’ Monitoring of LGU Performance (CML), Strengthening Decentralized Governance (Strengthening DG), Data Access towards Accountable Governance (DataGov), Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) 383, DRRM Fund Watch, and Advancing CSO Engagement in DRR-CCA (ACED).

In particular, our ACED Project, continues to capacitate our member networks in 10 regions to become CSO DRRM Coordination Hubs with 3 purposes: DRRM-CCA learning exchange, advocacy and coordination in emergencies. On the other hand, our Strengthening DG Project is echoing the lessons on organizational development from our previous ‘Strengthening the Capacity of CSOs Project’ by organizing a series of financial management, PDIMME, governance and resource mobilization training in Bicol, Central Visayas and Mindanao.

On KRA 3: Knowledge Development and Management:

We have worked on our 25th anniversary coffee table book, which we have just launched. This is our network’s humble contribution to the stories of everyday heroism of our community and CSO leaders and the painstaking work of our member organizations for people empowerment and sustainable development.  We thank all our 12 member networks and their leaders who selflessly shared their stories for the book. It took us 5 years to complete it (we started the book project in 2012), but at least the book puts on record that we are on the right side of history when a lot of things were happening to the country in the last 25 years.

We are getting the hang of social media campaigning by organizing our public forums on Facebook and sharing 77 articles through 4 issues of our online newsletter. We also conducted the ICT Capacity Assessment and Planning Workshop for 11 of our member networks, and we’re glad to see that the young blood, our successor generation, were the ones who participated in this workshop.

We have been more prolific in terms of producing KDM products by releasing 7 online and printed publications and preparing the printing of 5 more related to our work on CSO governance and policy advocacies.

We have also organized 2 research-based processes of assessing the environment for the CSO sector in the country through the Enabling Environment National Assessment (EENA) supported by Civicus and the International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL) and the 2015 CSO Sustainability Index (CSOSI) supported by Washington-based Management Systems International (MSI) and USAID.

We have updated our membership database, with 642 profiles received from members. The database will soon be available online at the CODE-NGO website.

On our KRA 4: Increased Effectiveness of Development Advocacy:

We have been active in various campaigns and coalitions pre- and post-May 2016 elections, such as the Right To Know Right Now (R2KRN), #ListaNaYan, and Task Force Eleksyon (TFE) 2016. We also worked with other CSOs to conduct the Civil Society Assessment of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011-16, crafted the Development and Reform Agenda for 2016-19 and published the profiles of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.

Our advocacy campaigns and organizing work on participatory governance, monitoring government budgets and inclusive and responsive DRRM plans and programs at the local levels have collectively reached 1,467 CSOs in 16 regions and 56 provinces.  (Refer to the slide for the infographic on the reach of our projects: Strengthening DG, CML, DataGov, ACED and DRRM Fund Watch, made possible through working with member networks in these regions).

We continued to influence the government’s Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) program by participating in the formulation of the Joint Memorandum Circular for Year 2017 BUB. We continue to be vigilant about its transformation into the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) program.

We participated actively in global advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Beyond 2015 and thru Civicus, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), International Forum of National NGO Platforms (IFP) and in the newly formed Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD). Our officers are also steering committee members of Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA) and ADA.

At the homefront, we are finally starting the construction of the CODE-NGO’s own office, which we expect to be completed in April 2017.

There were also painful downsides this fiscal year and in the recent months.  While we welcome the resumption of the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army, we’re saddened that we are back to square one on the peace negotiations for the Bangsamoro.  Some of our community-based partners have been victimized by the government’s fierce war against drugs and we expressed our concern by issuing a statement against extra judicial killings (EJK).  As a network, we disagreed with allowing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), but the Supreme Court decided otherwise. We haven’t fully assessed yet the impact of President Duterte’s word wars against the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and United States (US), but we expect that these will affect the environment in which Philippine CSOs work and relate with development organizations from these countries.

But we will overcome. As we have overcome in the past 25 years. As the stories of successes and of rising from challenges in the journeys of our member networks and base organizations prove.

It is knowing that our network, CODE-NGO, remains committed to Networking, Empowering and Transforming for Social Justice and Sustainable Development that keeps us hopeful for the future.

Padayon!

 Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya

CODE-NGO Chairperson

 

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