Bacolod media & CSOs to form citizen action group

 

BACOLOD CITY – Members of media, civil society, and schools here agreed to form a citizen action group to lead campaigns to engage the city government and local governments in the province of Negros Occidental for better transparency and delivery of public services.

Present in the initial met with CANA January 17 were representatives of the Catholic church-backed Radyo Veritas Global, Negros Daily Bulletin, DYRI, the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI), the DIHON Art Collective, University of St. La Salle, and University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.

“We need to form a citizen action group here to help educate and inform the public on how national and local governments run and spend people’s money,” said Fr. Ireneo “Baby” Gordoncillo, Radyo Veritas Global station manager.

He said among the critical issues which the people should know more are the government bidding processes, taxation, access to information, the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the pork barrel system, local government savings which are turned into staff bonuses, and corruption.

Journalist Edgar Cadagat said several anti-corruption groups exist here but are either linked with the Ombudsman or are those who accept members with other motives, like project contractors. He is a member of an independent corruption monitoring group called Warrant, which will join the CANA-supported group and take part in training and campaigns.

The group, which is yet to decide on a name, agreed that the citizens should also lead campaigns for freedom of information. “FOI is not just the journalists’ issue. Citizens should help push for the passage of the FOI law,” said Fr. Gordoncillo.