Think Pieces

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

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)

12 April 2020
Citizen Accountability Efforts as an Integral Part of the Philippines' COVID-19 Response

By: Joy Aceron

In my April 2 Rappler article entitled ‘Challenges facing social amelioration for the coronavirus, I underscored the importance of citizen accountability efforts given the immense powers and resources that the Executive now wields:

26 March 2020
A Question Amidst the COVID 19 crisis: Where has all the health budget from sin tax gone?

As it seems, the Philippine health sector is ill-prepared for the COVID19 outbreak. This is not surprising after budget cuts, corruption allegations, politicization of health governance and political leadership’s focus on security and order going after opposition, activists and poor drug offenders.

24 March 2020
How Vulnerable are the COVID-19 Procurements to Corruption?

On March 23, 2020, the House of Representatives and Senate deliberated and passed a bill that grants immense powers to the president to address the COVID-19 threat. The proposed legislation was quickly signed into law on March 25, 2020 with the title Bayanihan We Heal as One Act or Republic Act 11469.  

Among the powers granted to the president by RA 11469 are exemptions to the government procurement law in order to undertake procurements in the most “expeditious manners” (Section 4.k). Some of the items listed that can be procured with exemptions include:

  • Goods, such as personal protective equipment (PPEs), different surgical, laboratory, medical equipment, supplies and consumables, testing kits and other needs to be determined by the Department of Health
  • Good and services for social amelioration measures in favor of affected communities
  • Lease of real property or venue for use to house health workers or serve as quarantine centers, medical relief and others
  • Establishment, construction and operation of temporary medical facilities
  • Utilities, telecommunications and other critical services in relation to the operation of quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution centers and temporary medical facilities