Impressive Good Practices from the Philippines

Impressive Good Practices from the Philippines
20/09/2015

Philippines

During a conference on 25 August 2015, organised jointly by the ‘Partnership for Integrity and Job Creation’ (Project I4J) and DELGOSEA, nine local government units (LGUs) from across the Philippines presented their approach to improving integrity in local governance.

The conference aimed at initiating a regional dialogue by bringing together these Filipino LGUs, that developed their good practices as part of the I4J project (co-funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the European Union), with DELGOSEA members from six ASEAN countries. The examples they presented focused on improving effectiveness and efficiency of local government processes to attract business and investments in their respective localities.

All LGUs took a different approach, depending on local circumstances and the particular problems on the ground. A common theme to all of them, however, was the emphasis on transparency and people participation in local government processes. There were ideas for ‘scorecards’ with which to judge the performance of individual service units and regular communication with the community through newsletters and ‘open days’. Staff training and the simplification of procedures, for example for obtaining business permits, were also important elements for making a municipality more attractive for investors.

These presentations by the LGUs were wonderfully illustrated at the ‘marketplace of ideas for integrity and transparency’, were each LGU had the opportunity to showcase their best practice through pictures and posters, with local products available for sampling for the visitors from other regions and countries. These stalls proved inspirational and it was much appreciated to actually experience what these local government had achieved, not just to hear about it.

The discussion round that followed the nine presentations focused precisely on these issues of community cooperation, performance of civil servants and the monitoring of compliance with rules and regulation. Questions from the floor, especially from outside the Philippines, concentrated on the issue of corruption – how do you change the mindset of the people to reject corruption, was a question from Cambodia. The sustainability of such initiatives was a concern for participants from Vietnam and Indonesia with participants from both countries keen to hear how the LGUs intended to keep up the reforms and put budding partnerships between the public and private sector onto a more permanent footing. 

Following on from these practical examples, the wider question of how to achieve a sustainable culture of integrity on the level of local government, going beyond just the continuing of partnerships and small reforms, was discussed with representatives of the National Competitiveness Council, the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and the League of the Cities of the Philippines. There was agreement on the need for creating structures that lead to transparency and for integrating performance monitoring into all levels of the administration. Of course, national policies that promote openness and anti-corruption measures are essential for success at the local level as well.

For more information on the I4J project and on good practices from the Philippines on www.delgosea.eu: 

“Partnerships for Integrity and Jobs” – a New Project for the Philippines

Outstanding Local Governance Programmes Awarded in the Philippines