Tracking for Transparent Accountable Governance in Mindanao (BTTAG)”
is an initiative implemented by Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc.
(BMFI) in partnership with the Civil Society Organizations
(CSOs), Local Government Units, The Asia Foundation
(TAF), and the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG) with support from the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID). BTTAG hopes to initiate and
strengthen LGU-CSO’s journey towards enhancing transparent
accountable governance through enhanced participation,
accountability, responsiveness and transparency in the local budget
over-all project aims at enhancing Local Government Units - Civil
Society Organization public-private partnership. The partnership is
focused on the tracking of the local budget planning, execution, and
accounting process as also promoted by President Benigno C. Aquino
III and Secretary Jesse M. Robredo of the Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG).
Aimed at scaling-up local
fiscal management through CSO participation and budget transparency,
the BTTAG 2nd Policy Dialogue was conducted last February 23, 2012
in Davao City where Secretary Robredo gave the Keynote Speech. The
dialogue was attended by the different Local Chief Executives and
representatives of BTTAG LGU partners, Civil Society Organizations,
National Line Agencies and Legislators who were one in pursuing the
call for a transparent and accountable governance.
The Call For Integrity
By Secretary Jesse M.
Department of Interior and Local Government
Jesse M. Robredo
Psychologist and philosopher
William James once said "a new idea is first condemned as
ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial until finally it becomes
what everybody knows." The trajectory of acceptance, he says,
goes from ridiculous to trivial to widely accepted knowledge.
Hopefully to many of us in
this room, transparent and accountable governance has already
graduated to the degree of "what everybody knows to be crucial
for us to go to the next level of our national evolution."
We preach it; we practice it.
We devote time and effort to systematize our execution of it. Alam
ko, na bigamy na bigamy talaga ang Balay Mindanaw sa gawaing ito
with the help of our development partners USAID and The Asia
Foundation and you all deserve the administration's sincere
appreciation for the work that you have done in this area.
For many of you, being here
is accomplishment enough.
When Congressman Erin Tanada
was saying about local government officials probably who are not
very happy about the FOI Bill inasmuch as it imposes transparency in
their operations, it is to them that all of those who are here did
not yield. All of those who are present here have subscribe to the
idea that accountability comes with authority. Lagi kong naaalala
si Spider Man, ang sabi niya, “With great power comes with
However, some may still be
thinking that budget tracking and openness to CSOs are still trivial
matters. Funding and resources, politics and vested interests are
realities in the local government setting that we must face
squarely. They can often take up most of a local chief executive's
time, leaving little energy for other concerns.
Trivial, however, is a lot
better than ridiculous. Unfortunately, another reality is that in
the outside world where government positions are considered juicy
because of the perks and entitlements that go with them, what we are
doing here in terms of transparent and accountable governance are
still ridiculous. They may not say so; sometimes they may even speak
our language and praise our work. But deep inside, they don't think
we will ever succeed in institutionalizing this movement.
They are wrong.
Project Manager, Paul Richard A. Paraguya, shares about the
beginnings, challenges and inspiring stories during the
implementation of BTTAG.
In our world today, there is
an emerging power that does not come from carbon, subatomic
particles, not politics. It's the power of collaboration. Palagay
ko po, yung pagtitipon-tipon natin dito, ito po yung kapangyarihan
na hindi pa nila nasukat. You know, there was a time when the
relationship of the local government units and NGOs were
adversarial. There was a time when NGOs think that they cannot track
the local government. And of course, LGUs felt that the group that
can actually track them can’t participate. At this point in time I
think all of us will agree that our mutual cooperation is the
foundation of better local governance in our country.
It's the idea that people
coming together can effect great change. Filipinos are early
adopters in this game--we have stumbled on this power in the 1980s
with the revolution that kicked out a dictator and put President
Aquino's late mother into power. Perhaps going back as far as the
days of bayanihan, we have already proven to be naturals at
BTTAG and CSOS participation
in budget tracking harvest the power of collaboration. This movement
gives local governments good reason to fix their budget systems, to
be accountable to their constituents, and raise the bar overall in
Mindanao local governance. And since good governance is a shared
responsibility, it provides a platform for people to engage their
local government. It also raises CSO capability by opening up the
conversation on budgets--the true indicator of any organization's
The DILG over the last two
years has institutionalized the Seal of Good Housekeeping. This may
be an oversimplification, but the success of this reform rests on
the collaboration of two things. One, the execution of the LGU. Two,
the participation of CSOs and POs. We are flinging the doors wide
open for people to participate in governance. Especially here in
Next month, we are bringing
this reform to a higher level. We are launching the Second Level of
the Seal of Good Housekeeping to ensure that we hit a new standard
of managing our people, resources, and transformative leadership.
In 2011, we focused on sound
financial management through COA opinions on local financial
transactions and observance of the Full Disclosure Policy. This
year, those who did not qualify will be assessed on SGH Bronze, and
those who did will be covered by SGH Silver.
For Silver, on top of the COA
Opinions and Full Disclosure Policy, we are now requiring LGUs to
comply with the Government Procurement Act through the creation of a
functional Bids and Awards Committee and the requirements of the
Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System of PhilGEPS.
Another criteria is the CSC Report Card Survey on the Anti-Red Tape
Eventually, we a hoping that
LGUs will aim to qualify for SGH Gold, which brings transparent and
accountable governance to a whole new level. SGH Gold means that
CSOs, the constituency are now part of budget planning, budget
monitoring and budget implementation or execution.
from the Davao Medical School Foundation – Institute of
Primary Health Care (DMSF-IPHC) shares about how they plan to
sustain the BTTAG initiative in Panabo City and their other
I have to stress that we did
not invent these reforms. They are included in the Local Government
Code and other laws. Filipinos are great at making laws, right? All
we need to do is execute them.
So, we have packaged these
concepts to make them executable, and included incentives to reward
those who comply. Let me say
na itinaas na po natin ang antas ng sukat sa paglilingkod. May
panahon po na hinahanap natin ang mahusay lang. May panahon po na
hinahanap natin ang matino lang. Hindi po sabihin na ang matino ay
mahusay. Hindi po ibig sabihin na ang mahusay ay matino. Ang atin
pong sukat: mahusay at matino.
In 2011, 1,325 LGUs were
conferred the Seal of Good Housekeeping. Of this number, 351 LGUs
became recipients of the Performance Challenge Fund. As with any
reform, that was not easy. But we have to keep on going.
Why do we keep on pushing
boundaries even if people at first didn't think we could do it? Are
we doing this only for the sake of checking a "to do" list
for transparent and accountable governance? For pogi points?
We are doing these to have
better outcomes. We are doing these to improve service delivery to
so many poor Filipinos out there whose future rest on responsive
local governments. We are doing these because there is a great call
for integrity in this nation--and the world--and that the power of
collaboration is the key to make this happen.
Simply put, by making
everything transparent, we do believe we can deliver better outcomes
for our constituents.
When Starbucks asked Harvard
professor and author Daniel Gilbert to write 50 words that they can
print in their paper cups, he included this:
"When you hold your fate
in your hands, why would you ever make a fist?"
Why indeed? LGUs, you have
the fate of your communities in your hands. Isn't it logical to open
up those hands in the spirit of collaboration and share the power
and responsibility? CSO participation in budgets is like the sun and
its effect on dark and moist places. No deep dark secrets can grow
when you open these places to the rays of the sun. Opening up
budgets to public scrutiny allows for more integrity in governance.
To me, the call for integrity
should be treated as something wildly important in our survival as a
specie. Many of the things we are suffering now are a direct result
of a watered-down approach to honesty and integrity. From the
subprime crisis to the peace and development problems in this
region; from SALNs to reimbursements.
City Mayor Nova Princess E. Parojinog-Echavez and Tacurong
City Mayor Lina O. Montilla discusses about the Seal of Good
Housekeeping during the BTTAG 2nd Policy Dialogue.
Perhaps we can also find a
way to use the power of collaboration so that we as a society will
look closely at questions like "why doesn't the lack of
integrity cause our blood to boil?" "Is it alright to be
dishonest in our financial documents because everyone is doing
it?" We need to seriously rethink our value system, and ask
ourselves "Are we really going to let this shape our
You know, sometimes we really
need to trivialize all of these just to make that realization that
at the end of the day we are not doing this for ourselves, we are
doing this for our children. I now realize that I am at the sunset
of my career. What we do, whatever we did is really important to the
next generation who are expecting that they inherit a better world
than what we inherited.
We need to raise a new level
of awareness as to why the lack of integrity and accountability
should be disgusting to every Filipino. Disgusting is a strong word,
but this issue deserves it. The lack of integrity is a clear and
present danger in our journey along the "daang
matuwid." The call for integrity to be a
"shoutout", not something we all save for the next
We, the DILG, hope to enlist
you all in this movement.
It is very unfortunate and
very unfair that Mindanao is home to corrupt government officials.
My own exposure now show that it is unfair to say that it is a model
of corrupt governance because of the efforts of BTTAG, USAID, The
Asia Foundation and Balay Mindanaw. They have demonstrated the
important value that we need to promote to take the country for the
better are being spread all over in this part of the country.
Thank you very much.