Think Pieces

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

31 January 2019
Bangsamoro as a "New Unity"

Last January 21, parts of Muslim Mindanao held a plebiscite to determine what will form the new Bangsamoro entity created through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), a landmark piece of legislation that is a product of decades of struggle of Moros for their right to self-determination. 

There is a critical misconception that is quite common even to those who would opt to give peace in Mindanao a chance. Some people who are mostly doubtful of the peace process are under the impression that the ratification of BOL is a victory for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that comes with a reward, including (to some, at least) the power over the to-be Bangsamoro entity itself. This is wrong. It is a big misconception and a misunderstanding. 

13 December 2018
‘Closing Civic Space:’ A Space for a New Movement-Building

The agenda ‘closing civic space’ has been taken up extensively of late in transparency, participation, accountability, open government and anti-corruption spaces. I have been asked to give talks on this topic in three separate international events, namely the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia in July; the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen in October; and this week in UNODC’s workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. This is recognized as a key issue in the Philippines. In the event of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Philippines that G-Watch attended in Tagaytay several weeks ago, the challenge of ‘closing,’ ‘shrinking,’ ‘constraining’ civic space has been pointed out in all workshop groups when asked what are the main challenges confronting Philippine civil society today. 

30 October 2018
Notes on Chantal Mouffe's Lecture ‘Linker Populismus’

By Francis Isaac, Government Watch (G-Watch)

SO36 is a large music bar in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, known for hosting punk rock concerts and has been a fixture of Germany’s counter-cultural scene for the past four decades. But on the evening of 3 October 2018, this rebel hangout (that once featured Iggy Pop and David Bowie) was converted into a lecture hall that could accommodate close to three hundred people.

16 July 2018
10 Open Government Myths

As I attend my 3rd Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tblisi, Georgia, I am hoping to see progress in this network in breaking what I refer to as "open government myths." 

Let me share ten of my most favorite:

6 July 2018
Duterte's ChaCha Committee is Accountable to the Public

By Joy Aceron*

It is reported that one of the members of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution created by President Rodrigo Duterte thinks that the Committee does not owe the public a copy of their proposed Constitution. According to him, this is because the Committee only reports to the President and because he thinks the public is not capable of studying Constitutional Change proposal. Confidently, he argued that unlike him, the public did not study the Constitution and laws for years.

4 June 2018
‘Para kanino tayo kumikilos?’: Planting the seeds for a new social movement

“What can we do amidst these concerted efforts to strike down accountability? The people in the roundtable ask. What can we do against the overwhelming arrogance of power?
“The suggestion, coming from Government Watch — an action-research organization embedded in various civic groups all over the Philippines — is to revive the power of social movements. Or more specifically: revive the movement-building approach, especially in light of a society that feels more divided and fragmented than ever.”

11 May 2018
Implications of the Recent Philippine Supreme Court Decision on Accountability

By: Joy Aceron*

The removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno from office is a serious blow to accountability. Sereno has been one of those calling out the abuses of the Duterte government. In doing so, the President has singled her out, like he did opposition Senator Leila de Lima, who is now in jail.

20 February 2018
Pinagbuklod na mga Pananaw sa Pananagutan

By Anna Bueno*

May ‘pananagutan’ ba tayo sa sarili nating gobyerno?
Can Filipinos still take their government to account?
Do Filipinos still know how to make their gov’t officials accountable?
For Filipinos, what does accountability in government look like?

1 February 2018
Not As Good As it Seems: A Closer Look at the 2017 Open Budget Survey Result on the Philippines

By Joy Aceron, G-Watch/ Accountability Research Center

The result of the latest Open Budget Survey (OBS) is certainly encouraging for the Philippines. Since the Report has come out, the report has been covered by media (‪ and has been hailed by the government as an affirmation of its efforts on budget reform.