NLCGG Strengthens its Capacity to Monitor Local Government Budget
Baguio City - The Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG) in the Philippines conducted a Training Workshop on Participatory Budget Monitoring on 28 to 29 June 2011. A total of 25 participants representing 15 NLCGG member organizations participated in the two-day event, which focused on understanding the local government budget process and how it can be monitored by citizens.
“ The training workshop is part of a series of capacity building efforts launched by NLCGG in November 2010. Such (training activities) are meant to anchor the social accountability (SAc) initiatives of the communities covered by NLCGG members on the provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC) and strengthen citizen-led monitoring of the barangay Public Financial Management cycle,” explains NLCGG Vice President and RECITE Executive Director, Ester S. Alkonga.
Alkonga further points out that NLCGG focuses on addressing the corruption problem at the barangay level since the barangay is the basic territorial and political unit of government and is also the most accessible to people. However, it is also the least prioritized in terms of SAc initiatives.
“NLCGG has three major outputs from this training workshop: 1) a community scorecard tool that can be used to assess the budgeting process at the barangay level; 2) guidelines for NLCGG monitors in monitoring the barangay budget cycle; and 3) a plan for organizing and training community-based volunteers who will monitor the barangay budget process,” says Alkonga.
Aside from the major outputs mentioned by Alkonga, the training workshop also enabled the participants to identify the significance of monitoring the budget process at both local and national levels; explain how government budgeting takes place and identify the factors that affect the budget process; describe the stages of the budget process and identify what happens at each stage; and review the various stages of the budget process in light of the national agency and local government units being monitored.
First in the series of capacity building efforts was the Training on Social Accountability and the Local Government Code (SAc and LGC) for NLCGG trainers and community partners. The workshop enabled all members and their partners to conduct dialogues with barangay officials, apply for accreditations, and sign Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) that formalizes their participation in barangay programs and processes.
Following the accreditation and the MOAs, the NLCGG conducted the Seminar-Workshop on Constructive Engagement and Government Procurement Monitoring in early June 2011.The seminar-workshop sought to sustain the gains of the SAc and LGC training by helping network members enrich their established relationship with Barangay Councils and guide them in monitoring the procurement process of their barangay or LGU partners.
The Training Workshop on Participatory Budget Monitoring builds on the results of these two capacity building efforts.
ANSA-EAP has been a partner of NLCGG since January 2010. NLCGG was formed in 2005 through the initiative of the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance (CCAGG), a pioneer in social accountability activities in the country. At present, NLCGG has 24 organizations and individuals based in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera (CAR) regions of the Philippines. It is the only network in the three regions with the sole purpose of promoting good governance through social accountability endeavors, or what it calls responsible stewardship in governance. Most NLCGG members have been involved in voters’ education and election monitoring; coalition building; establishing partnerships with the Government to monitor infrastructure, education, and health projects; documenting government compliance with the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), among other laws; and participating in local government bodies.
From 2011 to 2013, NLCGG seeks to strengthen citizen participation in public finance management cycle at the barangay level.