Citizens’ Participation- Good Governance and the Rule of Law

Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016

Citizens’ participation has been one of the strengths of Philippine governance. Partnerships between government and CSOs facilitate the promotion of good governance.

ImageThe OMB collaborates with the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance and Government Watch for anticorruption efforts in government procurement and project monitoring; and with the Society of Jesus for the conduct of integrity seminars. The government also partners with CSOs in promoting transparency, accountability and public participation in the preparation, authorization, execution and monitoring of the national budget. These efforts must be sustained and, in some cases, deepened. It is also noted that while citizens’ participation in local development councils and special bodies is mandated, CSOs claim that most of these are either inoperative or nominal.17

While the country is famous for the large number of CSOs that could, in principle, play a leading role in anticorruption efforts, such organizations themselves are heterogeneous and face various hindrances that affect and challenge their development effectiveness. “Internal challenges include capacity-building, shortage of funds for CSOs’

continuous operation and sustainability of programs, ensuring priority and reach of sectors most in need. There is also a need for lifestyle check as well as drawing lessons on the best practices where other CSOs can learn from. External challenges include: (a) conflicts of policies and laws with actual practice; (b) weak human rights protection and culture of impunity; (c) intervention of some local government units in CSO affairs; and (d) the threatening presence of military that deters people’s participation to their own programs and CSO initiatives.”18

Although citizens have a legal right of access to communication, there is no established legal route for citizens to petition to obtain government records. The actual practice of many citizens testifies to the highly uneven willingness or preparedness of government offices to provide information as well as the poor quality of the information provided, if at all. This is also seen from the country’s low score for the 2008 Global Integrity Report under the category of Civil Society, Public Information and Media category, which even dropped one point from the 2007 score of 69. The proposed Freedom of Information Act is an important step towards addressing this problem. http://www.neda.gov.ph/PDP/2011-2016/governance.pdf

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