The countryâ€™s Â best Â of all localÂ leagues and two global institutions have chosen Bohol to showcase local influence in the national action on Philippine commitments to the international Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The selection of Bohol under Gov. Edgar Chatto is part of the many Â recognition from both domestic and overseas institutions as a worthy center for local governance.
The OGP is an international initiative launched six years ago to provide nations an international platform for domestic reforms committed to making governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.
The Philippines is one of the eight founding members of the OGP, which has now 65 participating countries.
Bohol has been picked by the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (InciteGOV) and Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific Foundation, Inc. (ANSA-EAP).
The ULAP is the umbrella organization of all leagues of local government units (LGUs) and locally-elected government officials in the country.
Specifically, Bohol will be the â€œsite and partnerâ€ for the ULAP-InciteGOV-ANSA-EAP project â€œStrengthening Influence of Local Stakeholders in the Philippine Open Government Partnership.â€
THE VALUE OF THE NAP
ULAP Exec. Dir. Czarina Medina-Guce informed Chatto of the provinceâ€™s selection to showcase how to address the countryâ€™s problem of limited influence of the local stakeholders in shaping the Philippine OGP commitments in the National Action Plan (NAP).
To reflect its commitments, each OGP member country is to create a NAP, which has a three-year cycle, and the Philippines is on its third NAP covering the 2015-2017 period since OGPâ€™s start in 2011.
But there have been issues and gaps identified in the creation of the NAP as reflected in the Philippine Progress Report for the 2013-2015 cycle and reported by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).
One salient point was that the â€œCSOs (civil society organizations) and citizens did not play a significant role in the development process of the Philippinesâ€™ Second NAP.â€
Another review found out the consultation for the NAP formulation to be â€œonly limited to the members of the OGP Steering Committee.â€
Hence, the â€œreflection of the stakeholdersâ€™ feedback to the final NAP was vague and ambiguous.â€
Despite the efforts of the national government to be inclusive in the NAP creation, gaps are still to be filled in order to have a genuine participatory approach involving the local stakeholders.
The new project for Bohol piloting, thus, aims to improve the limited influence of local stakeholders in shaping the countryâ€™s OGP commitments in the NAP.
Cebu officials, meanwhile, led by Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino on Friday visited here and conducted benchmarking on certain Bohol innovations and best practices.
In choosing Bohol, the ULAP-InciteGOV-ANSA-EAP cited the provinceâ€™s numerous and major awards and recognition, the most recent being the 2016 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), and â€œbest practices related to the OGP commitmentsâ€ of the country.
Strategies include advocacy and capacity-building for a local OGP action plan; national policy advocacy thru engagement with the LGUs and OGP Steering Committee; and development of policy proposals based on lessons gathered from previous OGP implementation.
Lessons and best practices by the partner LGUs in Bohol will be gathered and used as basis for implementing OGP-linked policies and projects, according to the ULAP executive director.
ULAP is the umbrella union of all local leagues, which include the leagues of governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, vice mayors, councilors, and barangay councils.
The Bohol collaboration is a scale-up of the projects previously and currently implemented by the ULAP, InciteGOV and ANSA-EAP, with the support of the Making All Voices Count (MAVC).
For this upgraded innovation, capacity-building workshops cover Evidence-Informed Policy Making by ULAP; Social Accountability: Check My Barangay, ANSA-EAP; and Citizen Participation, InciteGOV.
The ULAP communicates with the LGUs; ANSA-EAP facilitates the community aspect of the project: and InciteGOV is tasked to take care of the civil society organizations.
One important learning from the OGP project of ULAP is that the insights from the local stakeholders can only be mainstreamed nationally if they are consistent with Â the trajectory of the national plans.
The integration of the local agenda to the NAP can be impeded by a change in the administration which affects the direction taken by the OGP, according to the ULAP and its international partners.
Hence, the collaboration project has been identified to address the issue, with Bohol deemed to be equal to the challenge locally influencing national action on the countryâ€™s commitments to the OGP.
Further, the OGP is a multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies ultimately resulting in strengthened governance.
Boholâ€™s choice was announced by ULAP almost coincidentally with the selection of Chatto as one of only 10 local officials to join the DILG-led Philippine study team to the United States in December on the countryâ€™s possible shift to federalism.
The DILG-Local Government Academy (LGA) picked the Bohol governor who â€œhighly qualifiedâ€ based on the delegation criteria of term seniority, growth potential and good governance track record, according to LGA Exec. Dir. Marivel Sacendoncillo.
For the maiden release of its social development leadership casebank entitled â€œSIMISIDHING ALAB â€“ Sumisimbolo sa Dakilang Hakbangin ng Isang Alagad ng Bayan,â€ the DILG-LGA has also Chatto its one resource figure, who began his public career at teenage.
Chatto is the national secretary-general of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), also known as the governorsâ€™ league, and has been named by the interior department of the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as a â€˜model governorâ€ in the country.
The top Bohol official figured in the lead discussion of varied concerns and programs in line with the national agenda and affecting the provinces during the LPP General Assembly graced by Agriculture Sec. Manny PiÃ±ol on Friday.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)Â Â