G-WATCH MONTH: Celebrating 22 Years of Doing Accountability Differently

In September this year, Government Watch (G-Watch) marks its 22nd anniversary. Established in 2000 in the wake of EDSA Dos and Joseph Estrada’s removal from the presidency, G-Watch began as the governance program of a university. Meant as a response to the plethora of corruption scandals involving senior government officials, Government Watch began one of the country’s earliest attempts at social accountability—training hundreds of citizen-volunteers to monitor the delivery of various public services.

One of first major efforts was Textbook Count, which ran from 2002 to 2007. Co-implemented with the Department of Education (DepEd), Textbook Count adopted a vertically integrated approach to accountability, which covered the entirety of DepEd’s textbook delivery program, from procurement to production to distribution. As a result, Textbook Count contributed in reducing the unit price of textbooks, helped improve the physical quality of textbooks and shortened the procurement cycle, generating substantive savings for the government from costs on additional government evaluation and helping improved DepEd’s public perception as one of the most corrupt government agencies before 2000 to one of the least corrupt in 2009.  

Since then, G-Watch has undertaken various of accountability initiatives, mobilized hundreds of local communities for monitoring work, and released a good number of useful knowledge products that bridge practice and theory. These include books, occasional papers, technical reports and op-ed pieces.

In 2016, G-Watch wrote its first major book entitled Going Vertical: Citizen-led Reform Campaigns in the Philippines. Co-published with Accountability Research Center (ARC) based in Washington, DC, Going Vertical examined seven successful social accountability initiatives using the lens of vertical integration. The book paved the way to an institutional action research partnership between G-Watch and ARC on strategic approaches to accountability that continues to this day.

Also that same year, to respond to the changed political context that was ushered by the Duterte presidency, G-Watch decided to spinoff as an independent action research organization operating in 11 sites, with partners from both government and civil society.

Four years later, in 2020, G-Watch launched its own paper series called TPA Now! as a platform for practitioners, researchers, and action strategists to advance and broaden public awareness of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA).

It was as an independent organization that G-Watch sustained citizen monitoring even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizing accountability frontliners all over the country, G-Watch was able to monitor critical pandemic services and democratic processes, such as the social amelioration program, vaccination, COVID loans, conduct of pilot face-to-face classes and conduct of elections. Also amid the pandemic, G-Watch has implemented a citizenship education program to advance political and electoral reforms called Making Elections an Accountability Platform (MEAP) as part of its ‘eco-systemic approach’ to accountability.

To mark 22 years of doing accountability differently, Government Watch has declared September 2022 as G-Watch Month.

During G-Watch Month this September, G-Watch will be celebrating not only its 22nd anniversary, but also the sixth year since G-Watch decided to spin-off to be an independent organization, on September 27, 2016 at Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas.

To kick off this month-long celebration, Manang Pura Sumangil’s co-authored TPA Now! paper on civil society engagement in public audit will be released on September 8. It will be followed by the release of an audio-visual presentation (AVP) on accountability frontliners on September 15, coinciding with the International Day of Democracy.

On September 23, G-Watch will launch a report entitled ‘Ensuring Learning Continuity in a Resilient Public Education System in the Philippines: Mapping of Standards & Baselining of Current Practices’ published via Multiply-Ed (X-Ed) Project during X-Ed’s Briefing-Orientation Seminar for its national and division accountability teams in Davao City. This will then be followed by the release of the G-Watch National Learning Exchange Report on September 28.

To cap off the G-Watch Month, there will be an online G-Watch Get-Together and Mass Orientation on October 1 via Zoom, where G-Watch leaders and anyone interested to join G-Watch may attend, marking another new year of G-Watch expanding its base to continue doing accountability differently.


#GWatch@22 #GWatchMonth #GWatcherForever


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