• The Pasig Review

Towards a more cohesive Citizens' Participation

From the Desk

MVS' agenda on Active Participation is one of the cornerstones of his leadership in Pasig. Laudable as it seems, his term saw the rise of civil society organizations and the empowerment of local communities. Coming from knee-deep politicking, CSOs are now realizing their innate ability to be part of the governance equation.

Last October 12, the city convened the City Development Council (CDC). The gathering was able to reach almost all the CDC Sectoral Committees and approved the motion of utilizing the Local Community Development Plan 2021 - the 20% of the Internal Revenue Allotment of Pasig and the Annual Investment Program. The fund will be used heavily for the development of the Health Sector as the city continue to fight the effects of the pandemic.

The event last week held in San Joaquin Elementary School yearns to answer the Citizen's Participation Agenda, however did it really fulfilled the desire of the Mayor or at least did it really mirrored the tenets of "participatory governance"?

The Civil Society Organizations in Pasig needs to be empowered - there is no doubt about that. But giving them outright representation is not the first step towards empowerment - it might perverse the very core and purpose of their participation. A series of dialogues, discourse and even meetings to measure their needs are required. Oftentimes, even capability trainings fall short since CSOs just like any infant needs to be guided, nurtured and observed to ensure that they function the way they should be. It is not about executing things and pleasing our heads. It is about the right process to yield the just results that are expected from all of us. In a time where everything can be done at the flick of a finger, there are still things that should be done traditionally and railroading it would just be the opposite.

The Office for the CSO Affairs of the City have been very tireless in the past months. Despite the threat of the CoViD 19, CSO workers and officers visit associations and housing organizations almost daily. Armed with their own metrics and manual towards community building, the office covered almost all these CSOs re orienting them of their purpose in their community; far from their previous engagements as a political tool. However, despite all of these, it would take time for these organizations to answer to their higher calling that is why they need to be properly informed and ascertain that they really understood their importance not only to their communities but also the larger whole - the city.

In the CDC assembly, it is clear to note that a vast majority of invited CSOs are not fully aware of the prime reason of their attendance. While discussions are on-going some representatives are not as serious or even participative in the discourse. It is either they know and they concur or they don't know anything about it at all. And while disorientation is evident, signatures of concurrences are still being supplied by the CSO Representatives.

The questions still remains. Whose fault is it? It is nobody's fault. It is part of the birth pains of creating a more inclusive governance method. For sure these challenges and difficulties would lessen in the long run as long as we know how to take criticisms seriously, positively and openly in a way that it would reflect on future efforts. The government is working hard together with the CSOs. It is the duty of both parties to allow mistakes and lessons to freely flow and from there, the true nature of inclusivity would arise.

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