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Perception Survey of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Government and Civil Society 2016

The Perception Survey of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Government and Civil Society is an annual survey conducted by the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO). It started in 2014 as a means to gauge the satisfaction ratings of civil society leaders across the Philippines on the performance of the government and the CSO sector. It also looks into the trust levels of CSO leaders in different government positions/officials and various types of civil society organizations.  Some highlights of the 2016 survey: the satisfaction with the national government dropped to 2.90 from 3.24 in 2015; the highest trust level was given to the Vice-President, while it was the President in 2015; and for both rounds, the most trusted among the institutions are the NGOs while the least trusted are political parties.

The survey was conducted from October 26, 2016 to November 18, 2016. The questionnaire was divided into 6 parts with a total of 51 rating questions. These were encoded to an online survey tool and the Google Forms link (http://goo.gl/forms/xVOxSbAlbu) was disseminated to CODE-NGO’s members and CSO partners. For those who were not able to respond online, the questionnaire was also printed and distributed during CSO gatherings within the survey period.

Distribution of Respondents by Region

Out of the 182 returns, 73% of the respondents were from the member networks and member base organizations of CODE-NGO, while 27% came from CSOs outside of the CODE-NGO network. All 18 regions of the Philippines were represented, with 44% of the respondents coming from the National Capital Region (NCR).

RESULTS

For this report, the 2016 results will be compared to the 2015 results where necessary. There were a total of 228 respondents in 2015, also across CSOs in the Philippines. The data is presented according to the sections in the questionnaire.

In general, the respondents gave almost neutral satisfaction rating with the national government with a mean score of 2.90. This is lower than the 2015 satisfaction which was at 3.24.  This is also slightly lower compared to the satisfaction with the local governments which was at 3.01 (up from 2.96 in 2015).

Among the identified capabilities of the national government, respondents were most satisfied with Intensifying anti-corruption efforts (3.04) and least satisfied with Strengthening performance management and accountability measures (2.88). With the local governments, the respondents were most satisfied with Engaging and empowering the citizenry (2.96), and was least satisfied with Intensifying anti-corruption efforts (2.58).

In terms of the identified capabilities of the national and local government in 2015, the respondents were also most satisfied with Engaging and empowering the citizenry (3.15 and 2.89, respectively). The least satisfaction was also with Services of the employees (2.95) for the national government and with Intensifying anti-corruption efforts (2.56) for the local governments.

Among the government officials, the trust level was highest for the Vice-President (3.75), while it was lowest for the Congresspersons (2.56).

In 2015, the highest trust level was for the President (3.63) and lowest for the Vice-President (2.03).

Among different institutions, the trust level was highest for NGOs (4.04), while it was lowest for political parties (2.37).

In 2015, the highest trust level was also for NGOs (3.99) and lowest for political parties (2.55).

Across all government officials and institutions (government and non-government), the respondents trust the NGOs (4.04), charitable organizations (3.87), and environmental organizations (3.81) the most. On the other hand, they were least trusting with the political parties (2.37), congresspersons (2.56), and the police (PNP) (2.67).

In 2015, the highest trust levels were given to NGOs (3.99), Churches (3.85), and charitable organizations (3.84). Lowest trust levels were for the Vice-President (2.03), political parties (2.55), and congresspersons (2.62).

Among several dimensions, CSOs’ good perception was highest for Organizational capacity (3.64). This may include strong CSOs’ constituencies, clearly defined strategic plans and good internal governance/ management structures, adequate human resources practices and office equipment.

On the other hand, the respondents gave low ratings to the legal/ policy environment in general (3.24) and in particular to encourage philanthropy (3.19). The former includes policies/laws on CSO registration, operations, reporting and tax treatment, and government support to CSOs. The latter includes individual and corporate donations to CSOs (that is, NGOs, POs, cooperatives, associations and other non-profit and non-government groups).

The respondents found the government regulation and oversight of CSOs to be in between inadequate and sufficient (2.88).

For both national (3.37) and local (2.95) governments, the respondents felt that CSOs had less than significant influence over the policies, programs and projects of the government. The same was true in 2015.

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Celia Fatima E. de Jesus is the Program Officer for Knowledge Development and Management (KDM) of CODE-NGO.