WATCHDOGS: We are needed more than ever (Ikaw, Ako, Tayo May Pananagutan 2018 - Manila leg)


Ako, Ikaw, Tayo May Pananagutan 2018
G-Watch's Awareness-Raising Activity

Government Watch (G-Watch) has been one of the pioneers of citizens' monitoring of government performance, acting as an independent watchdog to hold government to account and improve governance. We have monitored procurements as well as several key service delivery and programs on education, health, social services, infrastructure, to name a few. 

For almost two decades we, along with other watchdog organizations, has done this work that has improved service delivery of departments and local governments through citizen action for accountability. 

Citizen action for accountability achieve success if these four pre-requisites are met:

- access to information
- mechanisms for accountability 
- citizen action (voice)
- response of government (teeth)

These pre-requisites are premised on the democratic order and basic human rights that the current legal-institutional framework of the country guarantees. 

As G-Watch reboots to an independent citizen accountability organization, our priorities center on accountability in key poverty reduction programs and commitments and in protecting and advancing research and practice in the field of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA). 

How do we ensure that citizen accountability groups and watchdogs are able to do their job to hold government to account? Are the four pre-requisites of effective citizens' action for accountability still being protected, promoted and upheld? And how can democratic values and respect for human rights be best defended?  

We are alarmed by recent developments that endanger measures in our institutional-legal system, which ensures openness and accountability in government. This includes moves that threaten press freedom. This also includes the recent call of the House of Representative for Constitutional Change through Constituent Assembly[i] that involve proposals to remove key accountability and checks-and-balances mechanisms and processes, such as the Ombudsman,[ii] term limits[iii] and the inclusion of a qualifier ("responsible") in the exercise of freedom of expression, making it vulnerable to State censorship.[iv]

Equally alarming are the recent moves of the Philippine government to undermine the Government Report and Procurement (GPRA) Act. The safeguards of the GPRA are there for a reason: to limit discretion that, in the past, resulted in big corruption. While some of the criticisms about the GRPA are valid and need to be addressed, taking an action that undermines an existing law, is not subjected to public scrutiny and without clear accountability measures is a red flag that threatens open government and accountability.[v]

Amidst all these occurrences, G-Watch is convening a discussion on February 14 that will bring together key G-Watch allies, supporters and members from government and civil society based in Metro Manila to plan for collective actions that will protect and advance transparency, participation and accountability under the Duterte government, laying the groundwork for a citizen monitoring of key progressive and anti-poverty programs of the government. This discussion will also take up G-Watch's proposal to undertake a civil society monitoring and advocacy campaign to protect the accountability and anti-corruption principles and mechanisms provided in the 1987 Constitution, if and when Charter Change pushes through. 

The discussion in Metro Manila will be conducted by G-Watch Center alongside simultaneous related events being conducted by G-Watch partners and collectives all over the country as part of its regular awareness-raising campaign called "Ako, Ikaw, Tayo May Pananagutan."

This activity will be conducted by the G-Watch Center alongside simultaneous related events being conducted by G-Watch partners and chapters all over the country.

These events are by-invitation, but anyone who is like-minded and is interested to support and take part in this endeavor may attend after meeting with us. For queries, please contact us through the contact information provided in the sidebar. 

Because more than ever, independent watchdogs and citizen action for accountability are needed today.





[v] See G-Watch Think Piece