Friday, January 14, 2022

In pursuit of fostering stronger partnerships between the government and civil society, Isabela State University’s Institute of Public Administration and Governance (IPAG) and the Regional Public Administration and Governance Research Center (RPAGRC) have collaborated with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct research that empowers Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in local public finance.

This collaborative endeavor aligns with the constitutional mandate outlined in Section 23, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which encourages the participation of non-governmental, community-based, and sectoral organizations by the State. Additionally, Section 67 of Republic Act No. 10964 (General Appropriations Act of 2018) allows national government agencies to engage with civil society organizations (CSOs) in implementing specific programs and projects.

The aim is to develop and strengthen collaborative relationships that form the bedrock of good governance.

Recognizing the pivotal role of an active, informed, and capacitated civil society in upholding a culture of good governance, DILG has opened avenues for CSOs to participate in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating government-initiated programs and projects.

The Technical Assistance Project initiated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in partnership with Isabela State University, encompasses research that promotes and empowers NGOs in the domain of local public finance.

This comprehensive project encompasses two municipalities, both recipients of the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) in 2017. Echague, a 1st class municipality, and Ivana, a 6th class municipality, were selected as the project’s focal areas. The project underscored the effectiveness of Civil Society Organizations in facilitating services, especially in marginalized communities. CSOs, closely connected to local communities, emerged as pivotal partners in uniting people to achieve common development goals and garner support for government programs and projects.

Furthermore, CSOs played a crucial role in enhancing transparency and reducing corruption in public procurement. However, they encountered three primary challenges: ensuring an enabling operating environment, including legal protection and security; recognition and authorization for CSOs to monitor; and enhancing procurement skills, including adapting to digital tools and procurement reforms.

This project represents the commitment of Isabela State University’s Institute of Public Administration and Governance (IPAG), in collaboration with the Regional Public Administration and Governance Research Center (RPAGRC), to contribute to research-based extension activities. It aims to sustain partnerships between CSOs, LGUs, and the university while fostering potential collaborations among these stakeholders.

This initiative reflects a proactive approach towards building a more transparent, efficient, and accountable governance system, ultimately benefiting the local communities within Isabela State University’s purview.