CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - Over 100 local government officials and leaders of civil society organizations have participated in the recently concluded Good Governance Dialogues in Cagayan de Oro City in southern Philippines.
Previously held in Manila and Cebu, the series of regional fora is organized by the Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance and Anti Corruption, in cooperation with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and INCITEGov.
The regional forum aims to make governance accessible to the grassroots by bringing together national and local governments, civil society organizations, business, academe and development partners for meaningful engagement.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who opened the forum, spoke on reforms instituted under the government's Budget Transformation Agenda. Central to these reforms, according to Abad, is the policy of “spending within our means, on the right priorities, and with measurable results.”
Among those who were in the forum panel were Mayor Evelyn Uy of Dipolog City; Vice Governor Maria Cristina Atay of Lanao del Norte; Councilor Melleanette Mercado of Gingoog City; and Councilor Kirk Asis of Bayugan City.
The forum emphasized the importance of empowering CSOs and citizens to take part in the government so programs are responsive to needs, especially of sectors like persons with disabilities, women and children, and youth.
Budget Undersecretary Richard Moya and Assistant Secretary Maxine Tanya Hamada and Department of Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin, and Marie Labajo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission weighed in on the state of citizen engagement in the current government.
The panelists discussed at length current government initiatives for citizen engagement, such as the award-winning Grassroots Participatory Budget Process and the bigger challenge of sustaining the positive gains in opening the government. The next Good Governance Dialogues will happen in Davao City and Baguio City in November. (Mindanao Examiner)
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