Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Participatory Budgeting in Gubat, Sorsogon Launched

Municipal Participatory launching in Gubat

GUBAT, SORSOGON, August 20 (PIA) – The Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED) and the Municipal government of Gubat, Sorsogon launched the first ever Municipal Participatory Budgeting Project in simple ceremonies held last August 8, 2013 at the Andaya Gymnasium in Gubat town.

Participatory Budgeting is one of the two components of PCCED’s program in Gubat town dubbed as “Promoting Democratic Values in the Barangays of Gubat”. It aims to make the Municipal Budgeting Process more inclusive and participatory by allowing ordinary citizens to deliberate and propose spending ideas to the Local Government Unit (LGU) so that the Municipal Budget reflects the real need of the community.

PCCED Executive Director Reynald Trillana emphasized the need to provide the citizens with civic education to be able to meaningfully participate in political processes like in Government Budgeting.

“While there are other models of participatory budgeting, what we are doing here in Sorsogon is a program that is as close as possible to direct democracy. Here the people themselves decide how to spend their money,” he said. He added that the program also hopes to educate people on the intricacies of public budgeting and make them meaningful participants in governance.

Addressing the Barangay Captains and leaders from various sectors, Gubat Municipal Mayor Roderick “Nonong” Co said that they aspire to become a model and center of Participatory Democracy in the Philippines. “We aim to inspire the people to work together for the community, especially those who, in one way or another, faced obstacles to participation and disillusioned by politics,” he said.

Sorsogon CityMayor Sally Lee delivers her message
Mayor Sally Lee of Sorsogon City, during her inspirational message, said that it is the whole community that benefits when governance is shared with the people by making it more democratic and participatory.

“Investing in the capacities of people is a key to making our democratic institutions more effective and responsive to the needs of the community,” she further added.

Participatory budgeting is a program developed in Porto Alegre, Spain that has been adopted by many local governments all over the world including New York, Chicago, New Zealand, Senegal, and South Korea.

The program is supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) through Asociacion Zabalketa, a Spain based NGO. Over the past years, AECID has been supporting projects that would strengthen democracy and its institutions in the Philippines.

Globe distributes communication equipment
On the same event, Globe Telecom Inc. distributed communication equipment and insurance to the barangays as part of its program to strengthen local government’s “Sagot Ka ni Kap!”.

“Sagot Ka Ni Kap!” is part of Globe BridgeCom's nationwide initiative to help communities prevent crime in their areas by providing communication and relevant law enforcement equipment including mobile phones and SIMs, hand-held radios, uniform shirts, tear gas, boots, flashlights, raincoats, and handcuffs to the local community police auxiliary units or barangay tanods.

PCCED and Globe Bridging Communities have partnered for Barangay Rule of Law Program and Project Citizen.

The Barangay Rule of Law Program of PCCED is anchored on the belief that the barangay, the basic political component in the country, should function as a “school for citizenship” incorporating democratic values, skills, habits and dispositions as they perform their task as peacekeepers of the community.

Project Citizen teaches young people how democracy actually works by training high school students in seeking public policy interventions to solve community problems. It is an international program for increasing the democratic participation, political efficacy, and civic engagement levels of students at the middle and high school levels. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon/JELansang, PCCED)

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