Guide to Citizen Entitlements During the COVID-19 Crisis

Crisis situation worsens corruption and abuse of power. This in turn makes it harder for societies to respond and recover from disaster in a way that takes care of the victims and most vulnerable who suffer most.

COVID-19 hit the Philippines like no other disaster before. It is an enemy that is unseen, yet the devastation it is causing affects all.

As of 5 April 2020, there are 3,094 positive cases all over the country, 144 are dead. The Philippines perhaps has the worst COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia with highest number of fatalities, second highest number of positive cases and one of the slowest recovery rates. COVID-19 has placed the entire country in a crisis situation requiring emergency response from government and stakeholders.

It is particularly crucial in periods of disaster - when the demand is highest at a quicker pace, a heavier toll in governance - that citizens know their rights and entitlements. Not only that this equips them in claim-making, it also enables them to more proactively demand for a responsive and accountable disaster governance.

Reviewing the current and new policies and guidelines that governs the government’s COVID-19 response, Government Watch (G-Watch) has mapped the entitlements of citizens during the COVID19 crisis. We are tentatively calling this the COVID-19 Citizen Entitlement Map (C-CEM).

In the current draft of C-CEM attached herein, we have listed what citizens are entitled to from different levels of the government: the barangays, municipality/ city and regional/ national governments. We specified entitlements that are specific to certain sectors, such as farmers, fisherfolks, senior citizens, etc. Entitlements are what citizens should be receiving from the government as guaranteed in the laws. Governments have the mandate and responsibility to provide citizens their entitlements and rights.

Included too in the C-CEM are the legal basis of the entitlements and the corresponding government hotlines that citizens can use if they have inquiries or complaints about a specific entitlement.

C-CEM can also be used as a monitoring tool. We have provided a space (column 4) to record whether the government has delivered the entitlement (or not) and a space (column 5) for observations/ details/ comments.

While intermediation is likely to still be needed for ordinary citizens to check on and claim their entitlements, having a readily available consolidated source of information on citizen entitlement will hopefully make us all collectively equipped for claim-making and demanding responsive and accountable governance crucial everyday but especially at times of disaster and crisis.

G-Watch will be utilizing C-CEM as a guide in generating, consolidating and providing information on relevant government programs and the overall COVID-19 response using our social media accounts and in recording reports/ feedback from G-Watchers and citizens online. As government’s capacity to respond has a lot to do with its fiscal capacity, we also keep track of the budget, procurements and financial management under the COVID-19, particularly coordinating/ interfacing with groups and initiatives undertaking relevant accountability efforts.

We also expect to formally request for information about the government’s COVID-19 response, particularly the social amelioration package in order to provide our own assessment and analysis of the government’s action (or inaction) in this crisis. We can also be contacted for assistance in case government’s hotlines are unresponsive.

For inquiries on C-CEM and G-Watch’s COVID-19 monitoring, contact G-Watch at government_watch [at], 0917-1860298 or 02-8796-9922.

For more information, check G-Watch’s social media accounts:

Twitter: @gwatch_ph

Clink link for the downloadable copy of the COVID-19 Citizen Entitlement Map:

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