Browse our documents and publications covering G-Watch Monitoring Manuals, Governance Reform Studies, Political Democracy and Reforms (PODER) Publications, and Vertical Integration Research.

TPA Now! Building Transparency, Participation, and Accountability in BARMM Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The challenge of transformative impact of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) initiatives points to the need for a different way of doing accountability. To advance the discourse and practice of ‘strategic TPA,’ Government Watch (G-Watch), in partnership with Accountability Research Center (ARC), launches TPA Now! A Paper Series on Transparency, Participation and Accountability as a platform for practitioners, researchers and action strategists to present evidence and re ect on the practice and research on strategic TPA and to broaden awareness on the importance of accountability in governance. 

This paper, the second issue of TPA Now! Paper Series, explores the emerging practices of transparency, participation and accountability in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Specifically, it checks how BARMM demonstrates its emerging TPA practices as it responds to the COVID-19 crisis. A quick scan of the efforts of BARRM in addressing COVID-19 shows that BARMM is heading to the right direction in enabling TPA in BARMM. However, there are still many complementary policies, mechanisms and efforts needed to set up a holistic, integrated accountability system in BARMM that works towards sustainable development and lasting peace. 


G-Watch Independent Validation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Report on Field Survey Findings

Given the many issues and challenges surrounding the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), including the observed ‘reversed accountability’ (Aceron 2020) in its existing validation process, Government Watch (G-Watch) has undertaken its own independent validation of the delivery of SAP assistance at the beneficiary level. G-Watch’s independent validation of the SAP was done through field interview of 470 SAP and non-SAP beneficiaries in 12 barangays in 4 localities all over the country using a survey tool.


Reversing Accountability: Learning from Accountability Frontliners’ Observation of the DSWD Social Amelioration Program Validation

This paper learns from G-Watch accountability frontliners that conducted the observation of the SAP validation by looking into and analyzing their reports and notes, and by undertaking informal online reflection-assessment sessions with them. The quick undertaking of G-Watch accountability frontliners to observe DSWD’s SAP in the midst of a pandemic shows that (a) citizens can continue to check government processes even in a crisis situation as “accountability frontliners,” though safety measures need to be set up and prior engagement with concerned government offices is deemed most facilitative, (b) citizen oversight of a supposed accountability mechanism in a government program is critical especially during a pandemic not only to check whether the mechanism is operating efficiently and effectively, but also to reveal possible distortion on the ground of the accountability intent of the mechanism, and (c) transparency, participation and accountability mechanisms in government could totally serve purposes that do not advance citizen empowerment, but instead check or control citizens, reversing accountability relationship between government and citizens critical in democracy.


Result and Analysis of G-Watch’s Online Survey on the State of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Implementation

Government Watch (G-Watch) is currently conducting a monitoring of citizen entitlements under the COVID-19 response. This endeavor asserts the need for governments to pay attention to providing what citizens are entitled to during emergency/ crisis situation. Often, this is overlooked and a cause of abuse where delivery of services and assistance becomes an opportunity for corruption and abuse of authority, instead of a way to ensure welfare and protection of the people.


G-Watch Report on Citizen Entitlements under COVID-19: Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Accomplishments, Misses and Challenges

This report looks into the accomplishments, misses, issues and challenges in SAP implementation using official reports of the government and the result of the monitoring done by G-Watchers in G-Watch local sites and online from mid-March to April 2020.


Strengthening the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) as an Accountability Mechanism in Local Governance (#SKasGWatch Project)

This report shares the highlights of the pilot implementation of the Strengthening the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) as an Accountability Mechanism in Local Governance or the #SKasGWatch Project and the documentation of its final activity, the learning exchange in January 2020, that brought together the project team and lead volunteer-monitors in the three pilot sites for an assessment and reflection. Implemented from November 2018 to January 2020, #SKasGWatch is an initiative of Government Watch (G-Watch) in collaboration of Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and Accountability Research Center (ARC) that aims to enable the SKs in engaging key poverty reduction programs of the government to advance the accountability and responsiveness of poverty reduction programs.


Pitfalls of Aiming to Empower the Bottom from the Top: The Case of Philippine Participatory Budgeting

This paper explains why and how a reform program that opened up spaces for participatory budgeting was ultimately unable to result in pro-citizen power shifts that transformed governance. The study reviews the design and implementation of Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB), the nationwide participatory budgeting (PB) program in the Philippines, which ran from 2012 to 2016 under the Benigno Aquino government. The findings underscore the importance of institutional design to participatory governance reforms. BuB’s goal was to transform local government by providing more space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to co-identify projects with the government and to take part in the budgeting process, but it did not strengthen CSO or grassroots capacity to hold their Local Government Units (LGUs) accountable.


Filling a Gap in Governance: The Case of Balangay as a Useful Application of Digital Technology

This short paper briefly looks at Balangay and how it was developed as a useful application of digital technology to address a specific governance problem of Legazpi City. It also examines the challenges that Legazpiitfaces in enabling strategic collective action to promote responsive and accountable governance. 

In a nutshell, Balangay is a cloud-based information system that aims to provide “prompt, reliable and understandable information” regarding various natural disasters that may threaten the Legazpi City, such as typhoons, flooding, landslides, earthquakes,and volcanic eruptions. It comes in the form of a web and mobile app that is meant to help prepare the City’s residents for any possible calamity. 


WATCH North Cotabato Case Study cover
Enabling a Strategic Shift: The Case of IWPR -WATCH North Cotabato - MAVC Partnership

How can ordinary citizens pressure local officialstorespond to their demands? The people from the province of North Cotabato in Mindanao seemsto have found a solution and areisattempting to further enhance it. 

This case is about how an organization attempts a strategic shift: from pressure/ protest-only approach to employing an integrated approach: pressure politics and constructive engagement. This case investigates what the enabling factors were of such a strategic shift and the challenges involved in going through with it. Since the strategic shift also involved the use of digital technology as facilitated by a global program (Making All Voices Count), the case also reflects on when and how digital technology worked (in this case, did not work) to support the work of an organization.  


Going Vertical: Citizen-led Reform Campaigns in the Philippines
Going Vertical: Citizen-led Reform Campaigns in the Philippines, 2nd ed.

Going Vertical is a result of action-research collaboration between Government Watch (G-Watch) and the Accountability Research Center (ARC) on multi-level citizen action for accountability. This book investigates how one strategic approach to citizen accountability - vertical integration - enabled seven reform initiatives in the Philippines to gain meaningful results.