Cotabato CSOs share lessons, fun in Good Governance Journey

CAGAYAN DE ORO City — — Dozens of officers and representatives from various civil society organizations (CSOs)and local governments from North Cotabato province were treated to exciting and memorable experiences during the two-day Good Governance Journey exchange learning tour in Cagayan de Oro City recently.

Comprising diverse sectors such as farmers, indigenous peoples (IP), the local government and even persons with disabilities (PWDs), the CSOs from the municipalities of Arakan, Antipas, President Roxas, Magpet and Matalam participated in lectures and shared about good governance practices in their respective areas.

Facilitated by humanitarian organization Action against Hunger (ACF) and the Mindanao Land Foundation (MinLand), the March 29–30 Empowered Participatory Governance through Progress (EPG-Progress) Good Governance Journey at Balay Mindanaw Peace Center highlighted the different good governance practices in some of the five municipalities, particularly in Barangay (Village) Tamped, Matalam town, in which the local concept of dagyaw (cooperation) played a huge role in implementing projects as well as in maintaining peace.

As part of the activity, participants were also toured in three areas in Cagayan de Oro considered as best examples of good governance practices: the solid waste management practice of the urban village of Lapasan, the water filtration system of the upland village of Tuburan and the disaster risk mitigation and management program of Macansandig, an urban barangay that has risen from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Washi (local name: Sendong) in 2011.

“During our trip to Lapasan, I realized that there is more you can get from properly throwing garbage than just clean, fresh air and healthy surroundings. I found out there’s also money in wastes,” shared Noel Hatamosa, an official of Paglaum Consolidated Multi-purpose Cooperative (PCMPC), a grassroots-based financing cooperative in President Roxas town.

The activities also highlighted the role CSOs play in monitoring government programs to communities and empowering villagers in influencing local officials and policy-makers on enacting laws and policies that benefit the people.

Participants also shared about challenges they face in their respective areas, such as peace and order concerns, and provided insights how CSOs were instrumental in overcoming these hurdles.

They also listened to lectures on peace-building and other non-violent mechanisms to achieve peace in their communities given by Kaloy Manlupig, executive director of Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI), a Cagayan de Oro-based non-government organization (NGO) active in peacemaking efforts.

Javad Amoozegar, ACF Philippines country director, who attended the second day of the activity, thanked the participants even as he underscored the contribution of CSOs in achieving the development-oriented objectives of the ACF in Mindanao.

Also present was Eric Galvin, programme manager of the European Union, ACF’s funding partner. Galvin lauded the CSOs for their active participation and conveyed that mobilization is significant and valuable.