Think Pieces

Browse Think Pieces and other opinion articles published on G-Watch as well as other websites. 

5 August 2021
Rollback on Participatory Reform Gains in Government Procurement?

By: Joy Aceron*


After attending the online two-day training of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) for Civil Society Organization (CSO) observers last July 29-30, I can’t help but reflect on whether there has been a significant rollback in the participatory reforms in the country’s government procurement.

8 July 2021
Making Elections an Accountability Platform (MEAP): Explaining the Idea

By: Joy Aceron and Francis Isaac



In the past weeks, G-Watch local sites have started conducting their citizenship education sessions to make the elections an accountability platform. The said initiative aims to provide a safe and open platform for citizens, citizen groups and communities to collectively reflect on the situation of the country, reaffirm basic democratic values and processes and try to identify shared agenda in engaging the upcoming elections to get back on track on the agenda of democratic deepening in the Philippines.

18 March 2021
One Palawan Lang: The National Significance of the Palawan Plebiscite

By Mickel Ollave and Joy Aceron*

Analyzing the national significance of the recent Palawan plebiscite from an insider-outsider perspective, Mike Ollave and Joy Aceron, in this piece, contends that the Palawan plebiscite post positive implications on the country and its citizen movements. The Palawan plebiscite shows that top-down agenda initiated by the powerful can still be defeated by mostly citizen resistance below. The Palawan election proves a clean peaceful democratic electoral exercise remains feasible even amidst the pandemic. An electoral exercise can still be issue-based and an opportunity for the powerful to be held to account.

18 November 2020
Are Sectoral Bodies Truly Empowering to Marginalized Sectors?

By: Joy Aceron

Sectoral bodies are participatory institutions that are unique in the Philippines. The creation of sectoral bodies through laws demonstrates how Philippine institutional-legal framework values people’s participation and sectoral representation. Sectoral bodies institutionalize representation of marginalized sectors in governance, providing sectors formal access to decision-making to ensure sectoral concerns and issues are addressed. It is a mechanism for inclusion that directly addresses political disenfranchisement and inequality.

Some of the key sectoral bodies created through law are the National Youth Commission (NYC), National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) sectoral assemblies and councils, and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

15 October 2020
Sustaining Reforms Amid the Pandemic?

By: Joy Aceron*

With 4.4 million households as beneficiaries, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is the biggest social protection program of the government. Sustained across three (3) administrations (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Noynoy Aquino and Rodrigo Duterte), with its ambitious poverty reduction and participatory reform agenda withstanding three transitions, the program’s resilience is worth looking into and learning from.

3 August 2020
Does the PNP View Ordinary Filipinos as the Enemy?

At around 11 in the morning of July 27, two officers from the Manila Police District (MPD) entered the nave of the Quiapo Church, walked towards a small group of activists sitting on the back pew, and without any warning, seized a blue-and-white paper bag containing several placards from party-list group Akbayan. The officers did not immediately offer any explanation for their action, but as Rappler’s Camille Elemia wrote later in her article, the posters “were not being used” when the incident occurred. 

24 July 2020
Is the government sabotaging its own COVID-19 response by undermining trust and neglecting social assistance?

By Joy Aceron* 

In the past weeks after the expiration of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the Duterte administration took several actions that indicate its overreliance on policing or enforcement of quarantine laws as its main approach in fighting COVID-19.

2 June 2020
Citizen Health Entitlements in COVID-19 Pandemic

By Joy Aceron and Victoria Maglanque*

In a health emergency, entitlements of citizens that ensure their health, safety and security are most crucial. Not only that it ascertains individual welfare and rights, it also avoids over-burdening the health system with patients that require intensive care.

12 May 2020
Facing the Pandemic: Citizen Entitlements During COVID-19

This duty of the government to deliver entitlements becomes even more necessary during periods of crisis, which worsens the condition of the poor and the vulnerable. We can see this in the current health crisis caused by COVID-19. 

21 April 2020
Releasing the Names of Social Amelioration Beneficiaries can be an Effective Accountability Measure

A crisis situation can worsen government’s inefficiency 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 the most vulnerable who suffer most. This makes transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) measures extremely critical during crisis situations.

However, not all TPA measures are equally effective. And for TPA measures to be effective, they need to employ integrated approaches that enable both the demand side of accountability (citizen voice) and supply side (government’s capacity to respond)