Batad, Iloilo, a fourth-class municipality in the Visayas region, previously suffered from graft and corruption, poor budget allocation and poor revenue utilization.
To improve the accountability and transparency of local government officials, the Office of the Mayor institutionalized the “Pahayag sa Banwa” (local dialect for “Report to the People”), a project originally introduced by Code-NGO, a non-governmental organization.
The municipal government envisioned a democratic venue for elected leaders, career personnel of government agencies, and the communities they serve to clarify issues, policies and programs, financial status and individual performance or conduct of civil servants.
People’s awareness of their rights and privileges, as well as the policies instituted by the local government was enhanced. Sangguniang Bayan members designated a “daily officer on duty” within their ranks to make other LGU line agencies available and responsive to the community.
Before the program was launched, local officials realized their entire community of 7,074 constituents in all 24 barangays did not even know the kinds of services to which they were entitled.
Twice a year, people take active part in planning and governance through the Pahayag sa Banwa. Two weeks before the Pahayag, the municipal government placed drop boxes in church doors to solicit questions and suggestions from its constituents.
People also get involved with Annual Barangay Development Planning and Annual Investment Planning meetings. In Batad’s experience, transparency is key in effective local governance.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2002 Galing Pook Awards.