CANA holds first training in Aurora


BALER, Aurora – CANA held its first training on citizen monitoring and reporting transparency at the Bataris Formation Center here February 8. A total of 31 people from different sectors took part in this first of three trainings which CANA provides the citizen action groups it develops and works with to help them enhance skills in engaging local governments towards better transparency and accountability.

Participants of the “Monitoring and Reporting Public Transparency and Accountability (CANA Training Series 1)” were from church-based and peoples’ organizations like the Samahang Magbubukid ng Kababaihan (SAMAKA), Aniban ng Kilusang Magbubukid (AKMA), Samahan ng Kabataan sa Aurora (SAKA), Multi-sectoral Action Group (MSAG), Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK), Bataris Formation Center, Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG), Panlalawigang Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Aurora (PAMANA), Tawid Aurora, AKAP, and Social Action Center; and DZJO-FM Baler.

CANA lead trainer and NUJP chairperson Rowena Paraan gave an overview of interrelated issues of public fiscal management and good governance, and the need to localize good governance. Using the pork barrel system as a specific issue, she said public funds which don’t undergo scrutiny are most often abused and that this system allows patronage.

Bataris gave an overview on how former Sen. Edgardo Angara and his clan allegedly misused the pork barrel and other public funds in the province to profit themselves. Among these are priority development projects – fish farms, bridges, training centers, and hospitals  -- which are no longer functioning after high-profile public launches. Gutierrez also cited the PhP 127-million budget deficit of the provincial government in 2012 under then Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Edgardo’s younger sister. His son, Sonny, now sits as Senator.

The participants plan to form their own citizen action group called Task Force Anti-Corruption, deepen mass education on the said issues, and take part in the succeeding CANA training.