IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Xavier University
GRANT AMOUNT: $29,555
THEMES: Local Governance
This project consolidated and strengthened various initiatives of civil society organizations in Cagayan de Oro to engage the Local Government towards transparent, participatory, and good governance of the city through a Citizen-led People’s Council. The CSOs’ primary goals are to mobilized and develope an ELA proposal that bridges the political impasse and initiate creation of a People’s Council for CSO participation in local governance.
The city government of Cagayan de Oro City had not been able to function normally for the best interest of the city. The LCE and the majority of the city council belonged to opposing political parties, which created a political impasse. As a consequence, the LCE was unable to get council approval of important ordinances, such as the ELA and the budget for 2014. This political impasse also adversely affected the implementation of programs and caused tension between and among old and new appointees in various offices. In lack of a third party that tried to connect the two partisan groups in order to develop programs and services that would benefit the people especially the poor, there was no go-between mechanism to break the deadlock and push for better governance showing teamwork, effectiveness and efficiency.
The objective of this sub-project to consolidate and strengthen various initiatives of civil society organizations of Cagayan de Oro and engage the Local Government towards transparent and participatory and good governance of the city through a Citizen-led Peoples Council was guided by the the following strategies:
People’s Council: Formation of a strong people’s body that engaged constructively with the executive and legislative branches fostering transparent and accountable governance in the city government, and enacted ordinances and measures accelerating inclusive development of the city.
Peoples Development Agenda: Formulation and adaptation to the City Executive Strategic Plan, the priorities of the various legislative committees, and the consolidated people’s agenda of the civil society organizations. Public engagement through popular education and advocacy, public forum, promotions.
Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process Engagement: Active participation and facilitation by the People’s Council for a well-planned and coordinated city-wide implementation of the Grassroots Participatory budgeting (formerly BuB), particularly in the preparation of the City Budget for 2015, and in the priority barangays of the National BUB 2016 process.
The creation of a citizen-led Peoples Council for Cagayan de Oro brought impact to the engaged organizations basically by providing concrete relevant experiences on good governance, and consequently, it led to realizations such as their participation becoming integral to their respective organizations, and the effect towards the City Government seeing organizations conniving as one voice for Kagayanons’ concerns and needs. In particular, the following targets were attained throughout the project term:
Recognition of the Kagayanons Constructive Engagement with the LGU through Peoples Council:
– Conduct of meetings and consultations
– Total number of CSOs
– Executive Order of the Mayor recognizing the engagement of Peoples Council (PC)
– SEC Registered
In terms of the formulation, Constituency and Consensus Building of the Peoples Development Agenda, the Peoples Council was able to advance the study, gather consensus that convened groups of people/organizations, and conduct Focused Group Discussions that validated (by the engaged organizations) most of the agenda items and surveys. At present, the Peoples Council is still working on the integration of Peoples Development Agenda to the local budget. Specifically, however, the positive outcomes so far are the following:
– Partnership of PC with CSO Representatives of Local Special Bodies, Local PovertyReduction Action Team (LPRAT) and Legislative Committees.
– Initial partnerships of PC with other people’s initiated constructive engagements with other. Government agencies such as Kagayanon Kontra Krimen (Peace and Order) with the City Police Department, CDO’s Federation of Homeowners Association with the City Shelter Program, Good Governance Programs of Xavier University, and Archdiocese of CDO.
– Integration of the PDA to the AIP for FY 2016 for proper allocation through consultation and dialogue between the Department Heads of the City Budget Office.
– Well researched community concerns and validated Peoples Concerns Agenda facilitated initial consensus among CSOs, academe, church, peoples/sectoral organizations and other private groups to rally these concerns in their respective engagements with the LGU
– The PC being a citizen-led, strengthens the value of collective engagement in mainstreaming good governance in the LGU.
– Direct political engagement of citizens concerns/agenda are integrated in the program of works of LGU;
– The political division of the two bodies of LGU (Executive and Legislative) is both an opportunity and liability. It is an opportunity to enhance further the need for the PC to critically and constructively engage both chambers; transcend partisan politics by engaging the peoples agenda and need for basic services; and it becomes an apparent need for the PC to act as a fiscalizer by gathering more groups, linkages with other sectors and other related initiatives to heighten its assertion for the common good and delivery of basic services. On the other hand, it is a liability because of the tendency to be seen by the other side (Legislative) as merely a political doing of the other side (Executive).
– For CDO, the PC engagement is a pioneering effort of directly engaging the mainstreaming of governance beyond the electoral exercise towards KAGAYANON (Citizens) as the third force of GOVERNANCE for transparency, accountability, participation, and sustainable development of the City.
Polarized local politics – Local Chief Executive and City Council belong to opposing political parties and engaging in highly partisan practice of blocking legislative proposals including passage of 2014 Executive-Legislative Agenda and city budget.