Action plan – South Cotabato, Philippines, 2021 – 2022
Action Plan: Action plan – South Cotabato, Philippines, 2021 – 2022
Action Plan Submission: 2021
Action Plan End: June 2022
Lead Institution: Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of South Cotabato, Bids & Awards Division of South Cotabato, Provincial Information Office of South Cotabato, Provincial Population Office of South Cotabato, Youth Alliance for Freedom of Information
30th August 2021
South Cotabato is one of the progressive provinces in Region XII doubling as its regional center. The influx of migration from neighboring provinces and the investments pouring in created a paradigm shift in its manner in all aspects of governance having to cater to diverse cultures and needs. With progress, however, comes varied challenges in all aspects of governance. The coping mechanisms of both the local government as well as the other players that steer the direction of the LGU come to the fore. It reflects the system that defines the people behind it. The Open Government Partnership of South Cotabato has arrived at an opportune time resulting in a synergetic and holistic approach to governance anchored on a forged relationship among all the sectors of society present in the locality. It does not deviate from the vision and mission of the province but rather complements them through various commitments in the course of its implementation. The foundation of the OGP established on integrity, transparency and citizen participation present a clear-cut definition of what an ideal government should be. This boils down to collaborative efforts from all sides — government, business, NGOs, and the private sectors. Participatory measures to strengthen citizens’ involvement in local government policies and frameworks are given new meaning and direction. Along this line, new commitments are being scoured of which from the OGP South Cotabato, commitments on open information, open legislation, and open contracting open avenues for the youth involvement in the mentioned areas for partnership. This spells greater responsibility for them to be part of a significant undertaking shaping the province’s future. This second action plan, therefore, highlights the youth empowerment and their alliances with other stakeholders setting the path for diversified interests forming a concrete action in elevating the responsibilities and involvement of the new generation to greater heights.
Open Government Challenges, Opportunities and Strategic Vision
What is the long-term vision for open government in your context and jurisdiction?
South Cotabato’s development direction is aligned with the international agenda for sustainable development – 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). South Cotabato localizes the SDGs by working on the perspective that achieving Goals #2-16 by forging strong partnerships – which is Goal # 17, will ultimately result in achieving Goal # 1 of No Poverty where no one is left behind. The vision is also anchored on the national government’s vision of a “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay” (Strongly Rooted, Comfortable and Secure Life) as captured in AmBisyon Natin 2040 that envisions the Philippines as a prosperous middle-class society where no one is poor. In order to achieve the vision, it is the role and development mission of the provincial government to highlight good governance and promote transparency, accountability and participation as a way of making people co-own their government. By providing the enabling environment for growth to thrive, this brand of governance – focused on creating spaces of integrity and open government – will increase the chances of producing tangible outcomes to our people and positive impacts to our communities. The Vision Statement describes both the outward-looking and inward-looking elements of the envisioned long-term role and development direction of the province. The desired role of the province in the wider region or the best contribution it can make to the development of the nation is captured.
What are the achievements in open government to date (for example, recent open government reforms)?
- In 2015, South Cotabato already successfully pioneered the implementation of an integrity program at the local government level through the iSouthCotabato or South Cotabato for Integrity and Jobs program. The South Cotabato Integrity Circle (SCIC) was formed and developed twenty-four (24) integrity mechanisms following Caren Levy’s Web of Institutionalization model.
- In 2018, with the help of our government, civil society and private/business sector partners, we were able to co-create five (5) commitments to the Open Government Partnership like the public procurement process as well as in the monitoring of provincial infrastructure projects.
- Along with the procurement data system, we also developed a system for the monitoring of provincial infrastructure projects and the online disclosure of monitoring reports near real-time, particularly those that have negative slippages or implemented beyond the target schedule of completion.
- The development of the Integrated Provincial Online Database (iPOD), which is both a supply-and-demand driven online database where the public can access, save and print provincial data and information right at their homes.
- The South Cotabato-COVID-19 Contact Tracing System (SC-CCTS) is a locally-developed e- logbook system that does not require smartphones, internet or Bluetooth from the general public and provides accurate information for efficient and expeditious contact tracing.
What are the current challenges/areas for improvement in open government that the jurisdiction wishes to tackle?
We can safely say that the open government seed we have planted is slowly growing. In order for it to continue to grow and thrive, we have to nurture and sustain the already existing open government mechanisms and improve on areas that require more work.
What are the medium-term open government goals that the government wants to achieve?
The education and capacitation of many individuals to what open information, open contracting, and open legislation are, are very crucial in attaining a genuine open government.
Educating the citizens about what Open Information, Open Contracting, and Open Legislation are and how these can affect their lives can deepen their appreciation and move them to engage more in the province’s open government initiatives.
Capacitating the people on how they can implement, monitor, and assess where the government is when it comes to its open government goals can help a lot in achieving them.
How does this action plan contribute to achieve the Open Government Strategic Vision?
The Provincial Government of South Cotabato continues to work with civil society, youth leaders, and other members of the private sector in engaging the youth on OGP Local program commitments by educating them by introducing and deepen their knowledge and awareness with the concepts of FOI and Open Contracting. It will also involve the youth leaders and organizations in activities on Open Government initiatives, converge them to co-create and collaborate with fellow youth sectors and other community members, and leads them in advocating FOI and Open Contracting as ambassadors to the community. Those activities contribute to achieving the Open Government strategic vision as it promotes good governance and promotes transparency, accountability, and participation as a way of making people co-own their government. By providing the enabling environment for growth to thrive, this brand of governance – focused on creating spaces of integrity and open government – will increase the chances of producing tangible outcomes for our people and positive impacts on our communities
How does the open government strategic vision contribute to the accomplishment of the current administration’s overall policy goals?
Good governance is at the core of South Cotabato’s Development Framework. Among the 5 Development Priorities of this administration is “Strengthening Good Governance,” where we advance grassroots-focused or bottom-up, open, participatory, and digital-driven governance to reduce poverty and build lasting peace.
Engagement and Coordination in the Open Government Strategic Vision and OGP Action Plan
Please list the lead institutions responsible for the implementation of this OGP action plan.
- Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of South Cotabato
- Bids & Awards Division of South Cotabato
- Provincial Information Office of South Cotabato
- Provincial Population Office of South Cotabato
- Youth Alliance for Freedom of Information
What kind of institutional arrangements are in place to coordinate between government agencies and departments to implement the OGP action plan?
South Cotabato has since had a strong relationship with its private/business sector, even before joining the OGP. The provincial government has always been keen on engaging both its civil society organizations and the private and business sectors through their inclusion and participation in the different local special bodies. This particular relationship has enabled balance in the co-creation process. Since there is already an existing partnership between the provincial government and its private and business sectors, it was never difficult to ask for their support. There were also a number of ideas and suggestions from them during the co-creation process that was incorporated in the action plan. The provincial government also has a functional and active Provincial Development Council (PDC) that is mainly the policy-making and primary planning body. Its main concern is the overall socio-economic development of the province. Consisting of five (5) sectoral committees (economic, social, infrastructure and land use, institutional, environment and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation) with representatives from civil society organizations, local government units, and agencies, the PDC acts as the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the province. At the same time, the PDC serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with provincial and regional development activities.
What kind of spaces have you used or created to enable the collaboration between government and civil society in the co-creation and implementation of this action plan? Mention both offline and online spaces.
With the SCIC acting as the main stage for immediate collaboration between the provincial government, civil society, and its lead partners in implementing this action plan, different online and offline mediums were used for constant engagement. Given the present global situation with COVID-19, the use of online platforms was heavily considered to curb the spread of the disease. Online platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and even Jitsi Meet was used along with limited physical meetings at the Provincial Development Council Hall in the Provincial Capitol were done for a more inclusive and comprehensive discussion without risking the health of those involved.
As the primary body that serves as the multi-stakeholder forum of the South Cotabato – Open Government Partnership, the South Cotabato Integrity Circle is also the ideal space for government and civil society collaboration. Since the body meets on a quarterly basis, it opens up opportunities for in-depth discussions on how to improve good governance mechanisms and systems.
What measures did you take to ensure diversity of representation (including vulnerable or marginalized populations) in these spaces?
Section 34 of the Local Government Code of 1991 underscores the importance of promoting the establishment and operation of people and non-governmental organizations to become active partners in the pursuit of local autonomy. To become legitimate partners in local governance, CSOs such as NGOs, people’s organizations, cooperatives, and professional groups must be accredited by the provincial legislative body, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Further, the Department of the Interior and Local Government issued a Memorandum Circular, MC No. 2013-70, which provides the clarificatory guidelines relative to the accreditation of CSOs and in the selection of their representatives to the local special bodies (LSBs). Only accredited CSOs are qualified to become members of LSBs such as the PDC and SCIC.
The SCIC and PDC have since been promoting inclusivity and diversity through the representation of vulnerable and marginalized groups, particularly from indigenous peoples, women, and senior citizens. Both these local special bodies empower CSOs to take part in the decision-making and development processes of the provincial government. By allowing them a space to converse, they can directly express their concerns as well as opinions on certain issues and thus create a holistic system of decision making.
Who participated in these spaces?
The two types of groups who attended the co-creation workshops are from the government and the private sector.
- National Agencies
- Provincial Offices
- Municipal and Barangays
- NGOs/Academe/Private Sectors
How many groups participated in these spaces?
How many public-facing meetings were held in the co-creation process?
How will government and non-governmental stakeholders continue to collaborate through the implementation of the action plan?
Due to the pandemic, most collaborations will still be done online. Since we have the necessary contact information needed to communicate with our partners, we could still get in touch with them through sending emails, chats, or text messages and making phone calls too.
Please describe the independent Monitoring Body you have identified for this plan.
The purpose of monitoring is to track implementation and outputs systemically, and measure the effectiveness of the implemented programs. The monitoring team will determine the progress of the activities and should be the basis for modification of interventions and assessment of the activities being conducted. The youth being the key player in the Second Action Plan, it is deemed proper that the identified independent monitoring body is from the academe being the bastion of activities for the new generation.
Provide the contact details for the independent monitoring body.
- Raphael S. Tanseco, RPm, Program Director, Psychology Department of Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges, email@example.com
What types of activities will you have in place to discuss progress on commitments with stakeholders?
Monitoring is very essential, this will serve as an instrument to measure the effectiveness of the program. Targets will help stakeholders focus on the results and motivate counterparts in ensuring that all objectives were properly accomplished.
Nonetheless, a regular collaboration meeting will be conducted or a special meeting to discuss developments of the implementation of commitment/s, and Identify problems and recommend solutions to ensure that all problems are aided with preferential actions and to resolve them effectively.
Initiating activities like campaigns and projects that will introduce and deepen the knowledge and awareness of the youth when it comes to the concepts of Freedom of Information and Open Contracting, furthermore, will let youth leaders take the helm in advocating them and serving as ambassadors of the advocacy by constantly involving them into the conversation and activities surrounding the Open Government initiatives of the province.
How will you regularly check in on progress with implementing agencies?
Aside from the collaboration meetings with the monitoring team that will discuss updates, progress status, and work changes, it will also be presented during the conduct of Quarterly meetings of South Cotabato Integrity Circle (SCIC) with our partner Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to ensure the progress of the initiative, to maintain its momentum and to further capacitate the people involve.
How will you share the results of your monitoring efforts with the public?
Good communication is needed, this strategy is the best approach to share information with the public. On-time information dissemination can be an effective medium of communication. Thru the Integrated Provincial Online Database (IPOD) the Provincial Government of South Cotabato can properly disseminate information and thru social media pages managed by the PGSC and its partners. With this initiative, a huge amount of citizens can easily access all the posted information. We can also reach out to more people through the following:
- Posting Banners
- Holding Radio Broadcasts
- Broadcasting it on Social Media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter)
- Word-of-mouth, spreading the information to as many people as we can
Endorsement from Non-Governmental Stakeholders
- Arch. Carlito Y. Uy, Secretary, South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
- Ms. Belen S. Fecundo, Executive Director, South Cotabato Foundation, Inc.
- Mr. Dausay S. Daulog, Executive Director, Maguindanaoan Development Foundation, Inc.
- Mr. Eugenio G. Pamplona, President, Association of Vocational Education and Technical Institutions in South Cotabato