Reversing Accountability: Learning from Accountability Frontliners’ Observation of the DSWD Social Amelioration Program Validation

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This paper learns from G-Watch accountability frontliners that conducted the observation of the SAP validation by looking into and analyzing their reports and notes, and by undertaking informal online reflection-assessment sessions with them. The quick undertaking of G-Watch accountability frontliners to observe DSWD’s SAP in the midst of a pandemic shows that (a) citizens can continue to check government processes even in a crisis situation as “accountability frontliners,” though safety measures need to be set up and prior engagement with concerned government offices is deemed most facilitative, (b) citizen oversight of a supposed accountability mechanism in a government program is critical especially during a pandemic not only to check whether the mechanism is operating efficiently and effectively, but also to reveal possible distortion on the ground of the accountability intent of the mechanism, and (c) transparency, participation and accountability mechanisms in government could totally serve purposes that do not advance citizen empowerment, but instead check or control citizens, reversing accountability relationship between government and citizens critical in democracy.

Table of Contents


Promise of Checks and Controls in Government SAP
G-Watch Observation of the SAP Validation
How was the DSWD ‘Validation’ Done Exactly
Not an Accountability Process
Reverse Accountability

Annex 1: Guide to G-Watch Observation of SAP Validation
Annex 2: G-Watch Tool for the Independent Validation of SAP
Annex 3: G-Watch Safety Checklist for the Ground Monitoring of SAP