The local government units (LGUs) and citizens’ groups of La Libertad, Dauin and Sibulan in Negros Oriental converged today in a Festival on Good Governance in Dumaguete City to celebrate the success of their effort to increase the budget for anti-poverty programs related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The mayors of the three municipalities headed the formation of Joint LGU-Citizens Technical Working Groups on the MDGs that crafted the MDG Breakthrough Plans for each municipality for adoption into the local budgets. This effort was done through the project Cementing Pathways to Financing the MDGs implemented in partnership with Social Watch Philippines (SWP) and the La Liga Policy Institute through the support of the European Union.
“The MDG Breakthrough Plans painstakingly crafted by people’s organizations and LGU Department heads who make up the MDG Technical Working Groups in Negros Oriental and adopted by the LGUs in the three municipalities should serve as an inspiration to the nation. Government should ensure people’s participation in crafting a budget to support an MDG catch up plan especially for targets where the country is lagging behind – poverty, education and maternal health,” said former national treasurer and SWP lead convenor Leonor Magtolis Briones.
“Indeed, the initiative was a way of assessing the Local Government Units in their compelling mission to eradicate poverty by year 2015. In more ways than one, the inputs gathered during the process guided us in redirecting and refocusing our attention in critical areas which need local and outside funding, viz: access to potable water, livelihood, environment protection, health and education,” said Mayor Marcela Bartoces of Sibulan. She already signed Executive Order No. 11 Series of 2011 adopting the Sibulan MDG Breakthrough Plan and prioritizing it in the local plans and budget.
“This is our humble contribution to this historic global action towards common goals. Most importantly, I want to see people would go out and immerse themselves in the real world and contribute their skills, talents and resources towards “freeing our people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations.” said Mayor Lawrence Limkaichong of La Libertad.
“We are hoping that more engagements of this nature can be conducted by SWP and La Liga Policy Institute with us and with other municipalities in the future and that they will continue to initiate programs and projects designed to strike changes. We are also grateful for the European Union’s support to the project,” said Mayor Neil Credo of Dauin.
The MDGs is all about social justice and ending the worst forms of human deprivation. Yet, many are being left behind on the MDGs. They are the women, children, farmers, fishers, indigenous people, and rural and urban poor who still make up the 23 million poorest of the poor population in the Philippines,” Briones said. “But there is hope: our partners in Negros Oriental proved that an MDG-sensitive budget is possible through collaboration of the local governments and the marginalized sectors in the community. When the people are able to directly influence public finance, we can achieve a budget to provide education, health, decent work and food security for all -- not just for a half or for two-thirds of the population,” she added. Leonor Briones, Social Watch Philippines