To ensure that only legitimate civil society organizations (CSOs) are engaging with the Department and local government units (LGUs) nationwide, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today said that CSOs who wish to be part of local COVID-19 response and recovery efforts should first secure a clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
"To determine the legitimacy of CSOs and prevent scams and other fraud, they are required to secure clearances from the PNP in addition to local accreditation requirements," said DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo C. Florece, Jr.
Florece said the clearance to be issued by the PNP shall indicate that such CSO has no record of illegal activity. "Gusto lang nating makasiguro na ang mga CSOs na katrabaho natin ay tunay na nais makatulong sa gobyerno at sa mga mamamayan,” he said.
According to Florece, the Department has verified reports of fly-by-night CSOs who wish to engage with local governments in order to lend legitimacy to their operations so that they could secure funding from local and foreign institutions to finance their personal nefarious agenda.
"Kunwari ay gustong makatulong at makikipagpartner sa gobyerno pero may hidden agenda ang mga ito kaya kailangan nating siguruhin kung legitimate ba talaga sila o nanggagamit lang," he said.
In an earlier directive, the DILG enjoined CSOs, private sector organizations and volunteer groups/individuals to work with barangay leaders in contact tracing, public information campaign on Disiplina Muna, values formation training, and capacity building activities on livelihood opportunities.
Among the other requirements for CSOs to be accredited as stated in DILG Memo Circular 2019-72 are the following: list of current officers and members; board resolution signifying intention for accreditation; original sworn statement that CSO is an independent, non-partisan organization; minutes of annual meeting, annual accomplishment report and financial statement for the preceding year.
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson Usec. Jonathan Malaya said the DILG issued Memo Circular 2021-012 urging LGUs to set up a CSO Desk that will be responsible for handling CSO-related concerns in their localities.
“Ang paglahok ng CSOs sa pamamahala ng gobyerno ay ipinag-utos ng Konstitusyon. Having CSO Desks in LGUs will ensure effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making," said Malaya.
In the said directive, provincial, city, and municipal LGUs are tasked to create a CSO Desk to be headed by a designated or appointed CSO Desk Officer who shall facilitate and promote people’s participation in governance within the LGU.
LGUs are further directed, through the Sanggunian, to enact an ordinance establishing a system of partnership between the LGU and CSOs or People’s Organizations (POs) that defines their roles and involvement in various local government programs, projects, and activities. This includes their participation in the Local Special Bodies (LSBs), committees, task forces, and similar groups, as required by law and the national government.
According to Malaya, the CSO Desk will be responsible for the organization of federation or coalition of sectoral CSOs, including the formation of People’s Council in the LGU.
In the same directive, LGUs are likewise encouraged to establish a mechanism that will facilitate a federation of sectoral CSOs or POs in the barangay, municipality, city, and province, and a People’s Council in the province, city, or municipality, with membership coming from the different sectors of CSOs or POs that are accredited, registered, and recognized by the LGUs.
"The participation of CSOs in government processes is important for the purpose of providing check and balance and in exacting accountability. An active CSO participation is an indicator of healthy participatory governance,” said Malaya.