Community Score Cards (CSC): A Tool for Social Accountabililty to be Tested in Bulacan, Caloocan, Pasay and Quezon City
Citizens engagement should be promoted in all fronts. It is our right to take part in decision-making process, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies, programs and services. People have the right to a transparent, accountable and participative governance, both at the national and local level.
Accountability in governance can be defined as the obligation of power holders to account for or take responsibility for their actions. “Power holders” are those who hold political, financial, or other forms of power, including officials in government, private corporations, international financial institutions and civil society organizations.
Social accountability is a “an approach towards building accountability that relies on civic engagement, i.e. in which ordinary citizens and/or civil society organizations participate directly or indirectly in exacting accountability.” it also “refers to the broad range of actions and mechanisms (beyond voting) that citizens can use to help government be more effective and accountable, as well as actions on the part of government, civil society, media and other societal actors that promote or facilitate these efforts”
Furthermore, social accountability is a process of constructive engagement between citizen groups and government , a means to check and monitor the conduct and performance of public officials in their use of public resources ; and a mechanism towards delivering better services, improving people’s welfare, and protecting people’s rights.
One approach to promote social accountability is through the development of Community Score Cards (CSC). In a training conducted by CPE for 40 community leaders in Quezon City, Caloocan City, City of San Jose del Monte and Pasay City (thanks to FES for supporting the activity), Ms. Corrine Canlas enlightened the group on the concepts and practice of CSC. (CPE will publish a manual on CSC within October 2009 as a result of the workshop-training held).
According to Ms. Canlas, CSC is ¨a tool to generate “demand-side” information to enhance social accountability. It can also raise awareness and promote local-level mobilization and organization. Also, it can produce meaningful information and analysis which can be understood by all stakeholders and go beyond mere protest to evidence-based dialogues.
The main objective of the CSC is to influence the quality, efficiency and accountability of public services provided at the local level.
CSC can also be a follow-up or a continuing activity for Barangay Development Planning through Participatory Learning and Action (BDP-PLA).
Based on experience, CSC can produce the following outcomes:
- Downward accountability of service providers
- Empowerment of local service users
- Enhanced transparency
- Enhanced sensitivity of service users to providers’ constraints
- Evidence of service performance and
- Agreements on local reforms
Pilot testing of CSC as a social accountability mechanism for planning, monitoring and evaluation will be tested in Barangay 91 Pasay City; Barangay Graceville, City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; in Barangay Pasong Putik Proper, Quezon City; and in Barangay 176 (Bagong Silang), Caloocan City.
Bayanihan sa Kaunlaran sa CSJDM, Bulacan:Barangay Development Planning through Participatory Learning and Action
The Center for Popular Empowerment, together with the Sangguniang Barangay of Graceville and the local chapter of Akbayan! Citizens’ Action Party in the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, conduct BDP-PLA which will facilitate the formulation of the 5 years comprehensive and multi-sectoral development program of Barangay Graceville. It will start on August 27-30, 2009. CPE acts as the capacity building partner and facilitator for the BDP-PLA process.
Punong Barangay Len Garcia, who is also a member of Akbayan, initiates a participatory process in development planning. “ We should involve people in identifying priority programs that will be funded by the local development fund. It is only through people’s participation that genuine development will be achieved, “ said the multi-awarded Punong Barangay.
The planning process will be participated in by not less than 50 community members, wherein issues , vision, goals and objectives, as well as projects, programs and activities will be slated for the barangay. The community will plan for the economic,
Unlike before, where annual investment plans are focused only on infrastructure projects, the BDP-PLA process will address and promote holistic and sustainable approach to local development. It will have an integrated and comprehensive plan on economic, environmental, physical/land use, social and institutional development sectors,” said Ed Chavez, Executive Director of CPE. He also added that the process to be done will be aligned with the Rationalized Local Planning System (RLPS)—the planning process being encouraged by the DILG, DBM and NEDA through the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) that facilitates a simpler but participatory and rationalized process of local development planning in the country.
Akbayan Citizens Action Party also took part in the process because according to their local party leaders, participatory local planning and budgeting is part of their vision in pursuing participatory democracy. Gerry Bautista, local Chair of Akbayan in the city said that in progressive countries being ran by progressive political parties, participatory budget process helps in building alternatives and institutionalizing people’s participation in the development process.
The process can also facilitate the process of empowering citizenry because it will give them opportunities that may increase their self confidence in engaging the state by airing their views and ideas on how to pursue development and change in their situation
Participatory Local Development Planning in Mindanao for Peace and Development BDP-PLA in Zamboang Sibugay
Poverty remains to be major problem being experienced in the 16 municipalities of the province. In 2003, Zamboanga Sibugay, still part of Zamboanga del Sur, was one of the 10 poorest provinces in the country. There are now 76 provinces in the Philippines. Currently, the province is listed as still part of the 10 poorest provinces. The situation did not improve overtime because the province is still listed as one of the food poorest provinces. Even in terms of education, the province’s Net Enrolment Ratio went down drastically, having the largest decrease in 2006 at 12.1%. Poverty threshold also increased from
Php9,580 in 2003 to Php12,188 in 2006.
One major intervention to address the problem of poverty and delivery of services was for all the local government units to have a clear development plan. Priority programs were identified –from the barangay level, up to municipal and provincial. In 2008, the provincial administration, in partnership with the Center for Popular Empowerment (CPE), embarked on building the capacities of local governments and civil society organizations by formulating participatory barangay development planning and budgeting. This endeavour covered 150 barangays as pilot projects, out of the total 389 barangays in the province in 8 out of 16 municipalities.
However, amidst the inflow of various funds from donor agencies , local planning system in the province, as well as all of the municipalities, has been generally weak,. There is a lack of both horizontal linkages among sectoral concerns and vertical linkages (barangay to munic
ipalities, municipalities to barangay and vice versa). Plan-to-budget linkage was also found wanting.. To compound problems even more, the supposed body mandated by law to formulate comprehensive plans and integrate them—the local development councils—are mostly inactive. These factors lead to inefficient and ineffective delivery of basic services and allocation of local government resources.
Zamboanga Sibugay has 16 municipalities and 389 barangays.. These municipalities are Ipil, Kabasalan, Naga, R.T. Lim, Siay, Titay, Tungawan, Alicia, Buug, Diplahan, Imelda, Mabuhay, Malangas, Olutanga, Payao and Talusan. The whole province has a total of 101,131 households. There are 38,868 families categorized as poor families, according to 2006 survey of the National Statistics and Coordination Board. The province is home to diverse ethnic communities: Tausug, Subanen, Maguindanao, Samal, Kalibugan, Maranao and Yakan.
As to income levels, Zamboanga Sibugay is classified as third-class province. Among the sixteen (16) municipalities, one (1) is classified as second-class municipality, one (1) as second-class municipality, nine (9) are classified as fourth-class municipalities, and five (5) municipalities are classified as fifth class.
The partnership was established when Mr. Jet Hofer sought the assistance of CPE early 2009. A team was organized to
assist in the implementation of participatory local development planning and budgeting in 60 barangays in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay. The project head is Mr. Gromeo Bilugan, a veteran and trained BDP-PLA facilitator.
A pledging session is being prepared for October 2009. The pledging session is expected to bring in support and pledges from different agencies and institutions for the development programs of the pilot barangays.
The participatory local development planning in the province is a step towards realizing an accountable and responsive type of local governance. Being a province where traditional politics have reigned for decades, the process of people identifying themselves priority development programs is a welcome development in allocating budget and prioritizing projects by local governments. It also helps in the process of building empowered citizenry wherein people are being drawn in to participate in local decision-making process and analyzing their situation.
Bayanihan sa Kaunlaran sa Barangay 91-Zone 09 in Pasay City: Building Model of Effective Peoples Participation in Governance through Integrated Local Development Program
Punong Barangay Nilo Ilarina, together with the barangay council and the residents of Barangay 91, Zone 09, have created another innovative landmark program in promoting participatory governance practice. The barangay has formulated a comprehensive and multi-sectoral medium term development program for five years. It was done through the process of Barangay Development Planning through Participatory Learning and Action (BDP-PLA). CPE serves as their partner in capacity building. The Center also served as coach and mentor in the process of BDP-PLA.
In 2002, through the leadership of then Punong Barangay Hernando Jucutan, the barangay leadership initiated a process of participatory barangay development planning that will be implemented for 5 years (2002-2007). Almost 100% of the programs and projects identified and reflected in the plan was realized in 5 years.
After the 2007 election, the new barangay captain committed to pursue and continue and further improve what PB Jucutan has started. Being an advocate of empowering governance, PB Ilarina, led the new members of the barangay council in making a new 5 years BDP.
On October 25-27 , 2008, 30 facilitators and documenters were trained on BDP-PLA process. The training was co financed by the barangay council and CPE.
After the training, on November 8, 2008, the barangay council organized an orientation seminar on to mobilize community support for the initiative, and level off on the process and content of BDP-PLA process.
Six PLA teams were formed that will focus on each sectoral concerns. The barangay folks called them “clusters”. The clusters formed were based on a DILG memo which mandates barangay governments to develop a plan for the following sectors/clusters:
- Food Security, Health and Well-Being
- Economic , Livelihood and Entrepreneurship
- Education and Sports Development
- Peace and Order , Public Safety
- Environmental Management
- Barangay Performance / Administration
After the process of data gathering, analysis, visioning, setting of goals, objectives and programs, projects and activities, as well as its annual investment plan and annual operation plan.
The comprehensive plan was proudly presented by the members of the BDP PLA Team before the other community members in a barangay assembly held on July 1, 2009. It was attended by more than 500 members of the community. Amidst strong rains, the residents stayed on to listen to the report of the BDP PLA team and actively participated in the discussion.
Programs and projects identified in the plan are now being implemented one at a time. Support from the city government has also started to come in. Equipments for their ecological solid waste management program have been delivered by the city government.
IPG and CPE will assist also in the implementation of its health, livelihood and housing component. The process was also supported by other NGOs like CFSI and PCNPC.
Overview of BDP-PLA in Quezon City
Prepared by Edwin Chavez,
Executive Director, Center for Popular Empowerment (CPE)**
October 17, 2006
Participatory governance has become not only a trend but an imperative for local governments to pursue development. In recent years, participation has become increasingly associated with decentralized governance. Governance is a relational concept, and has been described as the relationship between civil society and the state, between rulers and the ruled, the government and the governed (McCarthy, 1996). As more power and resources are transferred to local governments, decentralization has likewise opened up spaces for other actors—especially from civil society—to participate in governance. However, two distinct perspectives have emerged regarding the role of civil society participation. The first view regards participation primarily in instrumental terms: Participation is a means for making development interventions and public policies more responsive and effective (Leftwich 1994; Robinson 1998). The goal is to enhance the administrative and technocratic capacities of government. Read more…