World Bank backs civil society tie-ups with local governments
MANILA, Philippines—The top official of the World Bank in the Philippines has urged more local government units to work with civil society organizations in improving public services to their communities.
World Bank country director Bert Hofman said in a statement Thursday that the Philippines “is ahead of most countries” in terms of engagement with civil society organizations and encouraged local governments to work with non-government organizations in spurring countryside development while ensuring no corruption in transactions.
Hofman said that this would be a good time to invest in good governance and help strengthen capacities of organizations working on transparency, accountability and service delivery because the flavors of engagement have been changing.
“The government is now telling civil society organizations, ‘You are welcome to come into the kitchen,’ so to speak, and help us with spreading good governance. And that is very encouraging,” Hofman said.
The World Bank said that engagements could take different forms. Civil society could create partnerships with LGUs for programs to qualify them for the seal of good housekeeping, monitor LGU compliance independent of government, or inform citizens of LGU performance.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said in the same statement that civil society groups would be welcome to “prod” local government units or LGUs to practice good governance and monitor their compliance with standards set by the national government.
Robredo particularly highlighted the need for full disclosure of LGU documents such as audited financial statements and passing Commission on Audit requirements.
These requirements are enshrined in good governance programs such as the so-called Performance Challenge Fund (PCF), which rewards top performing LGUs with cash.
Robredo said the PCF, now in its second year, has been serving as an incentive for municipalities, cities and provinces that have complied with requirements for the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) “seal of good housekeeping.”
DILG officials have been going around the country on a road show called “Byaheng Pinoy” (Pinoy Trip) to encourage more LGUs to participate in the performance incentive program. Thirty LGUs received cash incentives for meeting the requirements in 2010.
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