G-Watch Holds Discussion in Dumaguete on TPA Direction

Government Watch (G-Watch) conducted a forum on the direction and priority agenda for transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) under the new administration.

Held last July 15, the forum was attended by key leaders from civil society and allies from the local government of Dumaguete, the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, the Local Youth Development Office and barangay officials of Balugo and Buñao.

The participants described Dumaguete’s local governance context as having a “positive climate for people’s participation,” However, the quality and effectiveness of participation remains a challenge. Political capture and patronage threatens meaningful democratic exercises. According to Dr. Sarah Talla of the Dumaguete City Health Office, one of the original core group leaders of G-Watch Localization, due to COVID-19, health programs likely to be left out are reproductive health and those for children under the age of five. Red-tagging has been a constant threat preventing civil society from expanding and deepening its engagement, worsening the isolating impact of COVID-19. Rural and urban poor are expected to be the most affected by the worsening economic situation, further threatened by questions on the direction and priorities of the national government.

The forum highlighted the need for TPA to address the issues of inclusion, reclaim participatory spaces won by civil society in government, transform barangays into allies of civil society, expand ground organizing and empowerment exercises, sustain accountability work on women issues, health, agriculture, as well as political/ electoral reforms.

G-Watch has engaged Dumaguete local governance since 2010, particularly monitoring medicines procurement, barangay health governance and health services from sin tax.

With its organizational mandate to provide spaces to reflect on political and governance reforms and promote dialogues on TPA, G-Watch is undertaking a series of post-elections consultations with partners and allies in civil society and government. The aim is to reflect on the outcome of the elections and explore a possible strategic direction for TPA work in the locality.

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