Escalating the Voice of the CSOs through the Peoples’ Council

Written by: Analiza Pacheco

The participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in government processes is a vehicle of empowering citizens by giving them opportunities to articulate their needs and to take part in the decision-making processes of their respective Local Government Units (LGUs). An active CSO participation is vital in the pursuit of a more participatory and responsive governance. It is strongly mandated under the Philippine Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991 or the RA 7160 that mandates LGUs to promote the establishment and operation of non-government organizations, peoples’ organizations and the private sector to make them active partners in the pursuit of local autonomy, and to directly involve them in the planning and implementation of programs and projects in the LGUs.

CSOs plays a crucial role in empowering communities and driving positive change. These grassroots movement bring individuals together fostering collective action and amplifying voices of marginalize group. Through the initiative of SEA Inc. in partnership with the Local Government Unit of New Lucena, Iloilo to have a collective effort in empowering the CSOs, the activity was executed. An orientation on the Institutionalization of Peoples Council was facilitated last January 18, 2024 in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through its Municipal Local Government Operation Officer (MLGOO) Ms. Jennifer E. Eldama. It was attended by the department heads, Civil Society Organizations from the farmers sector, Cooperatives, transport, religious, Solo parent, KaLiPi and civic groups. The presence of Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Secretary Ms. Philine B. Simora and Municipal CSO Desk Officer was a great help to the success of the activity.  

The orientation focused on the discussion about the DILG Memorandum Circular 2021-54 which mandates to create and institutionalize a People’s Council which shall be composed of the representatives from CSOs in the locality, whether accredited, registered and recognized by their respective LGUs.

“The membership is not limited to registered organizations only, but it also encourages those organizations who are not registered, not accredited but recognized by the LGU”

– Ms. Jennifer E. Eldama, MLGOO in New Lucena, Iloilo.

After thorough deliberation of the group on how to be a member of the People’s Council and understand its significance, they collectively asked the support of the legislative body and the CSO Desk Officer to take the first steps. With that, the SB Secretary committed to issue Notice of Call for the Creation of People’s Council to all accredited, registered and recognized CSOs immediately after the orientation. The CSO Desk Officer then agreed to facilitate and assist the CSOs to accomplish their requirement to be able to apply as member of the People’s Council.

“As designated CSO Desk Officer, I will follow what is in the guidelines and assist the CSOs to comply their requirements based on the Memorandum Circular”

– Mr. Rudy Asesor

The CSOs were so eager to realize this initiative so that they will have a representation in the legislative body to upscale some concerns that needs policy actions. Mr. Wilfredo Labaro of Pinili Development Cooperative said “We are thankful that SEA is with us who initiated this program and we the CSOs will have the opportunity to be heard or bring suggestions and share our knowledge to the Sanggunian for the betterment of local legislations in our municipality”.

They are thrilled and hopeful that the proposed People’s Council shall be created in the Municipality of New Lucena, and be the first in the province of Iloilo or even in Western Visayas. Indeed small steps would create a big difference!

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