Strengthening Decentralized Governance National Conference held

Marking its first year of project implementation, the Strengthening Decentralized Governance (DG) Project conducted its first National Conference at Madison 101 Hotel, Quezon City last March 7-8, 2017. The two-day event aimed at affirming the partnership of the regional and provincial implementing partners among each other; assessing their engagements with partner government agencies; and discussing plans for the strengthening of local civil society organizations and participatory governance.

On the first day of the conference, three major points were tackled. The first one is assessing the socio-economic and political situation on a macro and micro perspective. This session was facilitated by CODE-NGO’s Executive Director, Sixto Donato C. Macasaet, wherein he gave an analysis on the policies and pronouncements of the Duterte Administration from the lens of CODE-NGO’s Development Reform Agenda (DRA).

The second objective is on the exchange of ideas and insights among the partners on how they have successfully engaged thru various participatory governance mechanisms in the past year. Sandino Soliman, Strengthening DG’s Project Manager highlighted the major accomplishments of the project, followed by the presentation of the local engagement at the regional and provincial level from the Coalition for Bicol Development (CBD), Central Visayas Network of NGOs (CENVISNET), and the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Lastly, the third objective emphasized was the refinement of the initially drafted Regional and Provincial Poverty Reduction Development Agenda (R/PPRDA) to come up with specific projects, policies, or programs to focus on as the agenda in mainstreamed towards the end of the project implementation. Furthermore, the implementing partners identified a common and cross cutting agenda, which is the amendment of the Executive Order 325, ‘Reorganization and Reconstitution of the Regional Development Councils.’

On its second day, the CSO (civil society organization) Networks presented the common agenda to Asec. Carlos Abad Santos of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which received a favorable response. To add, NEDA was also able to discuss with the participants the newly published 2017-22 Philippine Development Plan, and how these can be helpful in their respective R/PPRDAs. Also, Mr. Glenn Miranda from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was able to update the implementing partners about the recent developments on the ‘Assistance to the Disadvantaged Municipalities’ Program which is in lieu of the ‘Bottom Up Budgeting’.

The project “Strengthening Decentralized Governance and Multi-Stakeholder Partnership for Addressing Poverty and Inequalities at Regional and Provincial Levels in Bicol, Central Visayas and Southern Mindanao” or simply “Strengthening Decentralized Governance (DG) project” intends to promote the sustainability of participatory and decentralized governance that is responsive to addressing poverty and inequality and in strengthening the participatory governance structures at the regional and provincial levels. It is supported by MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Corporation.

Clarence Faye Salvador is the Project Monitoring Officer of CODE-NGO’s Strengthening Decentralized Governance Project.