Dissonance Spotting: Multi-level Engagement of G-Watch Accountability Frontliners and the Contrasting State of Philippine Governance during COVID

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The paper, the ninth in the TPA Now! Paper Series that started in 2021, shows the strength of using multi-level context analysis and engagement in enabling citizen movements to be strategic — to have a nuanced understanding of the state of governance and democracy; to identify entry points; and strategize in a context of closing civic space and to set agenda for future advocacies.


Learning from the multi-level monitoring of COVID-19 services by G-Watch accountability frontliners, the paper authored by G-Watch convenor-director and Accountability Research Center researcher-adviser Joy Aceron surfaces and explains why there are contrasting assessments and outcomes of engagement by G-Watch at the national and local levels and what it says about the state of Philippine governance and democracy today.


The paper shares the following key takeaways from the COVID-19 monitoring of G-Watch accountability frontliners:

  • Local governments filled in the gaps in the COVID-19 response of the national government.
  • Amid the pandemic, mechanisms for transparency, participation and accountability adapted to work at the local level.
  • In fascistic regimes, openings could be at the local/ community level revealed through multi-level engagements and enabled through multi-sectoral solidarity work.
  • There remains pressing policy issues affecting transparency, participation and accountability reforms at the local level needing urgent national action and response.


Spotting the dissonance to know where the entry points are in contexts of closing civic space, disasters and fascistic governments could make the biggest difference in sustaining citizen action for accountability. Because in the most difficult and darkest moments, a dissonance could be the bright spot.


TPA Now! A Paper Series on Transparency, Participation and Accountability is a platform for practitioners, researchers and action strategists to present evidence and reflect on the practice and research on strategic TPA and to broaden awareness on the importance of accountability in governance. It is an initiative of Government Watch (G-Watch), in partnership with Accountability Research Center (ARC), to advance the discourse and practice of ‘strategic TPA.’