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Wednesday, 26 June 2013 02:29

Reducing Poverty through Citizens’ Monitoring – EU and CODE-NGO work for the poor’s voices to be heard  

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While the economy of the Philippines continuously grows at a steady pace, its growth does not guarantee the economic improvement of Filipinos living in poverty.  The lack of access to basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter and others, and their inability to voice out their various concerns, makes most Filipinos “poor.”  In improving the lives of the poor, citizens and local authorities are recognized as key stakeholders, and each has a role in the constructive engagement between local governments and citizens.  It is in this context that the Citizens’ Participation in Monitoring of LGU Performance and Development Planning for Poverty Reduction (CMLPD-PR) project was envisioned and is being implemented. 

 

The project, which officially started last September 2012 and was launched publicly in the 5th Congress of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) last November 2012, is supported by the European Union (EU) and will be implemented for four years covering 24 municipalities in 4 regions nationwide.  To support the project, a total of €750,000 or close to P40 million will be utilized in these four years.

CMLPD-PR aims to contribute to the reduction of poverty in 24 poor municipalities through the improvement of local poverty reduction action plans and budgets and of local government service delivery, particularly in health and agriculture/fishery.  Key strategies and major activities such as the participation in the Bottom-up Planning and Budgeting process of the government and the implementation of the Civil Society Satisfaction Report Card (CSRC) which monitors and assesses the performance of local governments are planned to meet the overall objective. 

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The project’s objectives of helping civil society organizations (CSOs) better participate in the planning and budgeting process complements the government’s thrust to make sure that people’s money will be channelled to anti-poverty programs that will yield the best results.  On the other hand, monitoring of local government units’ (LGUs) performance will identify the strengths of the municipal government and the major needs/concerns of the CSOs which will enable appropriate action. 

From February to March 2013, the training workshops for the CSRC were conducted in the 4 covered regions.  The workshops prepared the CSO representatives participating in the project to gather and analyze data using the CSRC survey tool, looked at the poverty situation of the region and the province, and also examined the experience of the CSO network in the region in its participation on the Bottom-up Budgeting process. Mr. Eric Galvin, Programme Manager Operations Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines participated in the training workshops for the Davao and Caraga region and met with the CSO representatives from the municipalities of Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur. He expressed support for the project, and thanked the participants and the local government counterparts for undertaking the effort of constructive engagement.

At the national level, meetings with key government agencies working on poverty reduction and local governance were held at the Department of Interior and Local Government office last December 2012 and at the Department of Agriculture last March 2013. In these meetings, the objectives and activities of the project were presented and agreements on possible activities jointly implemented by CODE-NGO and government agencies towards poverty reduction were explored. These activities were part of the agenda of the first Project Steering Committee meeting held last April 30, 2013 attended  by leaders of different regional and national networks) involved in the planning and implementation of the project, namely Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET), Western Visayas Network of Social Development NGOs (WEVNET), Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), Association of Foundations (AF), and Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA). --- By Sandino Soliman, Advocacy Officer, CMLPD-PR

 

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