Anchoring social accountability training on local autonomy

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BAGUIO CITY—Trainers from the Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG) in the Philippines have completed a 2-day Trainers’ Training on Social Accountability and the Local Government Code.

“The basic idea of the training is to anchor social accountability initiatives on the provisions of the Code,” says Ria Toquero, who is ANSA-EAP network fellow for Northern Luzon.

Passed in 1991, the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) has increased local autonomy by devolving significant authority and resources to local governments in the Philippines.

“Since all NLCGG members and their partners deal directly with local government units—from barangay (village) to regional levels—the training can facilitate their participation in local development councils and other special bodies,” says Toquero.

“Also, it can enable them to apply for accreditation [with local governments] for monitoring purposes.”

The training was held 9 to 10 November 2010 in Baguio City, a major urban center about 250 kilometers north of the capital, Manila.

A total of 19 people representing various NLCGG member groups underwent the training.

Facilitators and resource speakers came from ANSA-EAP, senior NLCGG officers, and the Philippine Government’s Department of Budget and Management-Cordillera Administrative Region.

“The NLCGG found it timely to focus the training on social accountability and the Local Government Code,” explains Toquero.

“There are new barangay, municipal, and provincial officials elected in May and October 2010.”

“Many of these officials have yet to appoint representatives of basic sectors in development councils and special bodies.”

“Moreover, the time is ripe for community-based organizations and NLCGG members to introduce their organizations and the concept of social accountability to these newly elected officials,” Toguero adds.

According to her, the Trainers’ Training on Social Accountability and the Local Government Code was the first in a planned series.

The series aims to build the capacity of a pool of trainers that can help train NLCGG community-based partners for future social accountability action.

ANSA-EAP coordinates its partnership with the NLCGG through a convenor group that includes:

The NLCGG says its main interest in social accountability is to use its tools to, among others, monitor government anti-insurgency programs.

It emphasizes the importance of being sensitive to local culture and conditions when doing social accountability work.

This is especially relevant across Northern Luzon, where many people are still afraid to question or challenge government actions.

The NLCGG also hopes it can address the situation of indigenous peoples through its partnership with ANSA-EAP.

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