The year 2015 marks the launching of the First Galing Pook Citizenship Award. The program searches for, identifies, recognizes and promotes the initiatives of individuals and civil society organizations who keep making good in the midst of continuing controversies in the government, socio-economic difficulties that beset not only the Philippines, and the development challenges brought about by the adverse effects of climate change. These are the individuals and organizations working with the grassroots who continue to discover opportunities within the existing democratic institutions and venues; who creatively find, utilize and mobilize wealth from available resources; and who keep producing and adding more values for social good, with and for the people and the communities they work with.
Best practices and lessons from outstanding individuals and civil society organizations need to get through to even more communities, development workers, local governments and to every level of public institutions in the country particularly among the duty bearers and policy makers. Harvesting the lessons in the productive engagement of the citizenry and the government from the civil society sector will be made more effective through the Galing Pook Citizenship Award. This particular award program supports and builds on the core thrust of the Galing Pook Foundation of promoting good governance.
At the local level most particularly, the adoption of model practices in community development by the civil society sector will be heightened resulting to more positive qualitative and quantitative impacts. The Galing Pook Foundation is able to search for and recognize outstanding LGUs and public leaders. It further seeks to complement this thrust with the harvest of knowledge products when it comes to civil society organizations and champions promoting effective people’s participation. It is of strategic importance for these outstanding individuals and civil society organizations who can provide wealth of practical insights, strategies and innovative solutions—addressing common concerns on the local economy, health of the people, environmental degradation, declining agricultural conditions in the face of unsustainable lifestyles, among others—to get noticed, recognized and their work documented and brought into the mainstream information channels.
Winners of the 1st Citizenship Awards
CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ABRA FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE, BALAY MINDANAW AND TAGUM COOPERATIVE SHINE AT THE GALING POOK AWARDS NIGHT
This year Galing Pook recognizes the initiatives of individuals and civil society organizations that continuously seek to provide a wealth of insights and innovative solutions to produce value for community development and to promote citizen engagement. The Galing Pook Citizenship Award complements Galing Pook Foundation’s efforts to promote good governance and encourage meaningful citizen participation.
Dr. Eddie Dorotan, executive director of Galing Pook said, “this year, our focus is on citizen engagement. Citizens are at the heart of good governance, and governments are genuinely more effective when they listen to and work with citizens, to solve developmental challenges especially in local governance.” Galing Pook is behind the pioneering Galing Pook Awards for Outstanding Local Governance Program, the annual nationwide search for the ten most innovative and excellent local governance programs.
The Galing Pook 1st Citizenship Award winners exhibit exceptional participation in promoting the results- oriented exercising of citizenship to engage the government and make it actually work specially at the local levels. Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) is among the civil society organizations that have been pursuing efforts to put an end to armed conflict through peace building and development programs. BMFI, believing in community-based, barangay focused approach, operates in more than 40 conflict-affected or disaster-affected communities throughout Mindanao and implements integrated and participatory programs at the barangay level. Because of BMFI’s efforts, communities and their leaders have shifted from thinking of peace as merely a security issue to peace as a development issue in which they have a role to play.
The community-based monitoring of government programs and services of the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government, Inc. (CCAGG) has continued to undertake constructive engagement with government to secure information that is essential to monitoring public works projects and pushing the needed reforms. Among the programs that CCAGG monitored is the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P). Likewise, Tagum Cooperative through its educational and various community development, scholarships, nutrition and health programs, and a host of other supports services, including savings and insurance facilities.
The Awarding Ceremony was the culmination of the first ever Galing Pook Governance Fair dubbed as Mamamayan, Mamamayani!. The 3-day event, promoting good governance and citizenship, was made possible through the partnership of Galing Pook, the private sector, local and national government units and civil society organizations. “Our good governance campaign aims to instill in the hearts and minds of local chief executives, officers, and the general public the importance of shared responsibility and accountability toward achieving sustainable and inclusive development. Furthermore, it will inspire the local government units and its people to continuously think and create the best innovative reform agenda carrying out the values of transparency, accountability, participation and effective governance,” says Dr. Dorotan.
Partners and sponsors joining the governance fair believe that good governance is essential in fostering a conducive investment climate and creating much needed employment for the poor. Sustaining these practices is also seen to improve the delivery of basic social services to the public.
The 2015 Galing Pook Good Governance Fair is supported by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Local Government Academy (LGA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). This activity is also held in partnership with The World Bank, Government of Australia-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Postal Corporation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), LGSP‐LED/Canada, UNICEF, SEAOIL Foundation, Microsoft, CODE-NGO, Synergeia Foundatio, and the ABS‐CBN News Channel (ANC).
CONTRIBUTING TO BOTH MEMBER’S WELFARE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Composed of more than 117,000 members, the Tagum Cooperative is a large cooperative with an equally large yearly net-surplus income that it allocates to its Community Development Programs and Projects.
In particular, the Cooperative’s Education, Community Development Program (ECDP) Section implements various programs and activities that support the community. These include scholarships for 10 bright but financially challenged students, vocational training for 60 beneficiaries, school supplies for more than 2,000 indigent students in 22 schools, cleaning materials to 91 partner schools, an alternate learning system or back-to-school program for out-of-school youth, and a literacy program for adults. The Tagum Cooperative also supports a nutrition program for school children, free cholesterol screening for senior citizens and free medical check-ups for indigenous families. It also helped finance the repair and construction of schools and churches.
THE TAGUM COOPERATIVE ALSO SUPPORTS A NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN, FREE CHOLESTEROL SCREENING FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND FREE MEDICAL CHECK-UPS FOR INDIGENOUS FAMILIES. IT ALSO HELPED FINANCE THE REPAIR AND CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES.
For its members, the Tagum Cooperative offers womb-to-tomb services: such as savings programs for the young, credit and insurance services for the adults, and mortuary benefits for bereaved families. Its Savings and Credit with Education program conducts livelihood trainings for its members. The goods produced by their livelihood trainees are sold in the cooperative’s “Partner sa Kabuhayan Store” in the Tagum City Public Market.
The Tagum Cooperative also put up in-house facilities to serve its members. It maintains a function hall for trainings and conferences, a clinic for the Himsug Pamilya Program which looks after the health needs of its members, and a nursing station for lactating mothers. For its tricycle driver members, the cooperative put up a special booth where the tricycle drivers can deposit their savings or loan payment under the Pabilising Savings para sa mga Drivers Advocacy (PaSaDa) program.
Future cooperative leaders of Tagum Cooperative are also being groomed through its TC Youth Laboratory Cooperative, which was launched in October 19, 2009. The laboratory teaches junior members, which number about 52,000, on how to manage and operate a regular cooperative, and how to operationalize the principles of financial management, planning and budgeting.
Impressed with the achievements of Tagum Cooperative, delegations from other cooperatives in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have visited Tagum Cooperative to learn about best practices in cooperative governance and financial literacy. Tagum Cooperative has come very close to the realization of its vision of becoming “the best one stop shop for total member care” and becoming an “icon of economic, social and spiritual transformation for families, communities and society.”
BALAY MINDANAW FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES IN PEACEBUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT
Mindanao is rich in resources but the bulk of its population remains poor due in part to recurring armed conflict brought on by competing claims over resources and by social injustice.
Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) is among the civil society organizations that have been pursuing efforts to put an end to armed conflict through peacebuilding and development programs. BMFI, believing in community-based, barangay focused approach, operates in more than 40 conflict- affected or disaster-affected communities throughout Mindanao and implements integrated and participatory programs at the barangay level. Its strategies include participatory governance, sustainable integrated area development, resource tenure improvement and access to justice, and transparent accountable governance.
BMFI established three area-based teams (i.e. BalayAleosan for the Aleosan and Alamada areas,BalayCalia for Cagwait and Lianga areas, and BalayCdo for its Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Sumilao areas) composed of community organizers called SIADOs (pronounced as shadows) or Sustainable Integrated Area Development Organizers. With their firm belief in the capacity of the community to solve their own problems, the SIADOs facilitated local peace consultations and barangay development planning workshops that involved the whole community. The SIADOs also provided peacebuilding courses, trainings and learning sessions to communities and to BMFI’s partner CSOs. BMFI also entered into Security Sec- tor Partnerships (SSP) with the military, police, and the LGUs. These community-based approaches are further complemented by collaborative peacebuilding interventions such as peace education, policy advocacy, constructive partnerships, exposures, exchanges and networking with key stakeholders at the regional, national and international levels. Combined, these programs were aimed at making all the stakeholders realize that as long as creating spaces for dialogues are continued, a culture of understanding, participation, cooperation and co-ownership can be attained.
TODAY, THE PEOPLE’S PRIORITY PROJECTS—WATER SYSTEMS, ELECTRIFICATION, FARM-TO-MARKET ROADS, PRE- AND POST-HARVEST FACILITIES, BETTER HOUSING, SCHOOLS, AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT TRAININGS—ARE NOW BEING PURSUED IN EACH OF THE BARANGAYS.
Today, the people’s priority projects—water systems, electrification, farm-to-market roads, pre- and post-harvest facilities, better housing, schools, and capacity development trainings—are now being pursued in each of the barangays. Some communities are now preparing for the “kanduli”, a celebration marking the culmination of a lengthy “rido” (clan war) between families in the same barangay. Regular community dialogues on the ongoing peace process helped people assess the current situation and prevented potential conflicts from breaking out or escalating.
The SSP has convinced the Philippine Military Academy to integrate theories of peace in their curriculum. A training workshop on SSP held at Balay Mindanaw Peace Center even included participants from BMFI’s Action Asia partners from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Manipur, Cambodia, and Odisha—countries and states who also have volatile peace and security concerns. BMFI’s policy recommendation of including a Civilian Democratic Over- sight (now called Bantay Bayanihan) in the localization of the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan has also been adopted.
Because of BMFI’s efforts, communities and their leaders have shifted from thinking of peace as merely a security issue to peace as a development issue in which they have a role to play.
CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ABRA FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT, INC.
COMMUNITY-BASED MONITORING OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Poverty in the province of Abra is partly caused by institutionalized corruption, which the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government, Inc. (CCAGG) has reportedly been battling since it was organized 29 years ago. CCAGG has been mobilizing communities throughout the province to monitor the implementation of various government projects. Over the years, CCAGG has continued to undertake constructive engagement with government to secure information that is essential to monitoring public works projects and pushing the needed reforms.
Among the programs that CCAGG monitored is the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P). The CCTP Watch pioneered Third Party Monitoring and was conceived with the goal of validating the inclusion of the poorest in the list of beneficiaries. The CCAGG also assessed LGU performance on the Full Disclosure Policy (FDP) by monitoring the purchase of medicines particularly paracetamols. CCAGG wanted to evaluate, though Participatory Action Research Monitoring, how efficiently local governments have been purchasing paracetamol for use in public health facilities.
Results of the CCTP Watch showed that, while the CCTP was helpful in alleviating the plight of the poor, there were also far more de- serving poor who should be included in the program. The CCTP Watch Terminal Report was well received by DSWD-CAR regional office and became a basis for improving its services. The program was cited by Dr. Vinay Bhargava, the Partnership Transparency Fund Technical Adviser, as the only project undertaken by a CSO in the Philippines in assessing the implementation of the CCTP in his presentation during the Good Practices and Learning Workshop held at the Asian Institute of Management on March 2-3, 2015. In his presentation, Dr. Bhargava emphasized the discovery of the CCTP Watch that an estimated $95,500 were wasted in past cash transfers due to erroneous payments to ineligible beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the FDP compliance monitoring showed that many of the local government units need to improve compliance. The reports provided useful feedback to the Department of the Interior and Local Government on how the FDP has enabled and strengthened citizens to engage their LGUs.
THE CCAGG HAS GAINED THE CONFIDENCE OF SOME GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, SO MUCH SO THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S REGIONAL FIELD UNIT CONTRACTED CCAGG TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION AND PARTICIPATORY PLANNING ASPECTS OF THE SECOND CORDILLERA HIGHLAND AGRICULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROJECT (CHARMP).
The CCAGG has gained the confidence of some government agencies, so much so that the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Field Unit contracted CCAGG to take responsibility for the community mobilization and participatory planning aspects of the second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP). The CHARMP aims to reduce poverty and improve quality of life of rural highland indigenous peoples through increased farm family income, improved land tenure security, ensured food security and improved forests and watershed through sustainable practices.
Today, the LGUs of Abra are now more supportive of good governance initiatives and are improving compliance with transparency policies. More CSOs and POs are now also more vigilant and have become active members of the Bottom-Up Budgeting process and Local Poverty Reduction Action Teams.