Civil Society Participation to Improve LGU Service Delivery (PH0042)
Action Plan: Philippines 2017-2019 Action Plan (Updated)
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Support Institution(s): Department of Budget and Management, Local Government Units, Civil Society Organizations, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, INCITEGov, and other Development Partners,
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Capacity Building, Democratizing Decision-Making, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, LGBTQIA+, Local Commitments, Open Data, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, Social Accountability
Starred: Pending IRM Review
Early Results: Major
Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?: The Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) will contribute to addressing the policy and governance gaps in the implementation of local programs and projects by harmonizing the ADM processes with existing systems of the local government to strengthen these existing systems: The governance focuses on building the partnership of the LGUs with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and People’s Organizations (POs) in the selection and monitoring of infrastructure projects through the Local Development Councils (LDCs). The policy gaps refers to the fiscal and infrastructure imbalances in local service delivery. - Fiscal Gap – refers to the insufficiency of the municipal governments’ revenues to cover basic infrastructure requirements. This is based on the finding that compared to the other levels of local governments such as the barangay, province and city, the municipal government is the most disadvantaged in terms of Internal Revenue Allotment. - Infrastructure Gap – refers to the difference between the required basic infrastructure to reduce poverty and promote economic growth and the current stock of infrastructure.; What is the commitment?: The program shall aim to contribute to the building of empowered, responsible and responsive LGUs. It shall serve as a tool to assist all municipalities to access basic facilities by strengthening the LDCs to become more able partners in national development and strengthening of LGU abilities to deliver basic services. It shall provide a revitalized thrust to government's efforts to contribute to the realization of a responsive national priorities and budget.; How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? : The program shall follow a five-year governance roadmap during which milestones each year are set to serve as the basis of pre-conditions to the funding of and implementing locally funded projects. Target Year MILESTONES Year 1 Fully Functionalized Local Development Council Year 2 Enhanced Quality of Local Development Investment Program Year 3 Institutionalization of Full Service Delivery System Year 4 Strengthened Vertical Linkage of Local Plans Year 5 Improved Municipality Asset Management and Resource Mobilization Capacity ; Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?: The ADM program implementation will hopefully be able to advance OGP values especially to promote transparent, accountable, participatory local governance, ensuring that local development councils, with the participation of non-government/civil society organizations, are fully functional and independent third party monitoring and evaluation are conducted. It also leverages technology to strengthen governance with the establishment of the ADM Portal.; Additional information: As provided by Republic Act 10924, the budget for this program is P19.43-billion for FY 2017 and FY 2018. This commitment is in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022 Chapter 5 on Ensuring People-Centered, Clean, and Efficient Governance.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
1. Strengthen civil society participation in local planning and development to further improve LGU delivery of basic services
Commitment text from action plan:
“The program shall aim to contribute to the full attainment of empowered, responsible and responsive LGUs (Local Government Units). It shall serve as a tool to assist all municipalities to access basic facilities by strengthening the LDCs (Local Development Councils) to become more able partners in national development and strengthening of LGU abilities to deliver basic services. It shall provide a revitalized thrust to government's efforts to contribute to the realization of a responsive national priorities and budget.”
- "50% (19,770) of Barangay Development Councils (BDCs), 70% (962) Municipal Development Councils (MDCs) and 60% (46) of Provincial Development Councils (PDCs) are fully functional, such that: Required composition of the councils is observed; Representation of Non-Governmental Organization; The LDC meets at least once every six months; and Creation of Executive Committee.
- 50% of Barangays, 70% of Municipalities, and 60% of Provinces have LDIP approved by the Sanggunian and submitted to the DILG
- Establishment of open ADM portal
- 1,373 Municipalities’ CSOs capacitated on ADM
- Three (3) regional workshops with HEIs on ADM monitoring
- Three (3) case studies on ADM implementation
- Convene One (1) regional consultation with key CSO networks in budget advocacy for crafting the guidelines for strengthening LDIPs’ quality
- Conduct one(1) FGD for the dissemination of the approved guidelines and mechanism of strengthening LDIPs’ quality
- Conduct one (1) briefing and assessment of ADM full delivery system and 2018 implementation"
Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Philippines’ action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Philippines_-Action-Plan_2017-2019_updated.pdf
Context and Objectives (Commitment Design)
The decentralization of Philippine governance, as mandated by the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, is aimed at improving the contribution of local governments to national development and improving governance in the country by bringing government closer to the people. The participation of CSOs in local governance is deemed both a means and end to decentralization.  LGC provides numerous mechanisms for participation to enable active participation of civil society, including local development councils (LDCs). LDCs are tasked to create and coordinate development planning of the locality and consist of government and CSO representatives.
Specifically, LDCs develop Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP) that outline development objectives, strategies, and policies at the city or municipal level for six-year periods. LDCs also develop a Local Development Investment Program that links the CDP to the annual local budget. This contains a prioritized list of programs, projects, and activities, matched with financing resources over a three-year period.  A 2011 sample study found that most LGUs met the basic requirements to create development plans and meet at least twice a year. However, 67% of the LGUs failed to meet the requirement of having one-quarter of council members be from non-governmental organizations. 
This commitment recognized the problem of ensuring effective and efficient functioning of the LDC, particularly in enabling civil society and in addressing local development needs, given the persistent fiscal and infrastructure gaps.  According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), this is elevating “the practice of citizen participation and good local governance . . . from procedural to substantive.”  This is in line with the OGP value of enhancing civic participation.
DILG and its partners aimed to provide support to local governments through a program called Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) (now referred to as Assistance to Municipalities-AM). Over a five-year period, ADM provides funding assistance to municipalities specifically to address fiscal and infrastructure gaps. This commitment was consistent with ADM’s year-one stage, as described in the action plan. The commitment was also set to be achieved through various capacity-building, consultative, and documentation activities, including the establishment of an online portal and enabling third-party monitoring of local planning. The establishment of the open ADM portal made this commitment relevant to the OGP value of access to information. The milestones of the commitment were generally specific enough to verify completion.
This commitment carries a minor potential impact to increase civic participation in local development planning and increase citizens’ access to development information through the ADM portal. Importantly, through this commitment, DILG aimed to shift its focus from procedural compliance to LGU’s substantive functioning. However, the milestones as written gave priority to ensuring LGUs meet procedural requirements rather than focusing on the quality of their operations. Furthermore, baseline information available suggests that many LDCs were meeting these basic functions. The misalignment between the scope of the activities set out by the commitment and the objective it was trying to achieve limited the potential impact of this commitment to minor. However, this commitment may have a greater open government effect if implementation activities are expanded to also support LDCs’ substantive functioning, such as the quality of dialogue between government and nongovernment council members.
This commitment’s implementation was substantial. According to government’s End-of-Term self-assessment report,  83% of Municipal Development Councils achieved high compliance regarding the inclusion of CSOs in sectoral committees, and 89% held regular council meetings (milestone 1). Regarding access to information, the government implemented the open ADM portal (milestone 3) that covers “all OPDS locally funded projects by the department. It includes Geo-tagging, Map Integration, Physical and Financial Monitoring Graphs, Reports, administrative functions and other useful analytical tools.”  Under milestone 4, the government conducted capacity-building sessions for municipality-level CSOs, including six “Regional Dialogues on Open Government and Participatory Governance” in Visayas, Mindanao, and Luzon, and three “targeted pilots” regarding the “enhancing of the Monitoring of ADM Sub-Projects through the Establishment of Community-Based Monitoring.” 
Milestones coordinated by De la Salle University (milestones 5 and 6) and the International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (milestones 7 to 9) showed limited progress. According to the government, only 1 out of 3 workshops by De la Salle University were carried out, and milestones 8 and 9 were not started.
This commitment advanced civic participation marginally by creating new opportunities for CSO participation at the municipal and regional levels in LDCs. The commitment opened up local-level decision-making by securing CSO representation in LDCs (milestone 1) and supporting its operation through capacity building (milestone 4). The commitment also made use of participatory mechanisms in its design. 
Additionally, the government made progress for future implementation of community-based monitoring in the country’s local planning. CBM aims to address issues with LGUs’ noncompliance with CSO participation. A 2019 paper highlighted challenges that include accreditation hurdles for CSOs and LGUs forming their own NGOs to meet requirements on paper.  In 2017, the Republic Act 11315 institutionalizing the community-based monitoring system was passed. This was followed by its implementing rules and regulations in May of 2020.  Therefore, the early results of these regulations cannot yet be observed.
The commitment resulted in major changes in citizens’ access to information about local infrastructure. The ADM portal (milestone 3)  offers a new channel with geo-located data about infrastructure projects, including project code, type, costs, status, among other indicators.  The government also conducted a significant number of outreach activities regarding the ADM program. A 2012 guide to citizen monitoring of local infrastructure projects by G-Watch outlines a list of complex and time-consuming steps citizens must take to monitor construction projects in their area.  Citizens previously had to gather documents from various government offices, conduct interviews, and observe the construction site. The ADM portal therefore significantly simplifies the process by consolidating a majority of the relevant information in a publicly available site through which citizens can submit comments and flag concerns. 
DILG continues to conduct activities beyond the scope of the milestones to further advance participatory development planning at the local level. Some of these activities are captured under commitment 1 of the Philippines’ 2019–2022 action plan. These include building CSOs’ capacity to participate in local governance and the Participatory Governance Cluster’s creation of strategic and operational directions for participatory governance at the national and local levels. Additionally, DILG is working to incorporate LDC functionality in the Seal of Good Local Governance assessment, monitor CDP formulation, and strengthen vertical alignment between development plans and investment. 
The IRM shared the following recommendations with stakeholders during the prepublication review period for the design section of this report. They are included below solely for public record and no longer reflect the most recent recommendations. 
Improving local service delivery and engaging citizens in a planning process to achieve this delivery are important efforts. If these efforts are carried forward to future action plans, the design of commitments needs to take into consideration the following:
- Set clear indicators and activities that are able to measure and link capacity-building efforts with improved development planning.
- Establish a baseline and diagnosis. A future commitment may include actions that address the fiscal and infrastructure gap through a multidimensional approach. It is important to consider actions that address other factors limiting successful implementation, other than the lack of engagement with civil society or citizens.