Teachers, govt workers join CANA’s 21st training in Tarlac 

 

TARLAC CITY – Public school teachers, police officers, health workers and other civil servants joined the Citizen Action Network for Accountability’s 21st training on monitoring public transparency held at La Maja Rica Hotel here August 28.

“We hope the training will help us understand issues important to our work such as monitoring proper budget allocation,” said Malou Fajardo, representative of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and one of the 49 people who took part in the CANA training on monitoring and reporting public transparency and accountability.

The training is first of CANA’s three-part training series aiming to increase citizens’ capacities to monitor and engage their local government units (LGUs) as a critical step to increase transparency and accountability in their communities.

The training, which the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Tarlac Chapter co-organized, also gathered regional representatives of national government agencies such as the education, science and technology, and interior and local government departments; provincial government offices such as the Public Employment Service Office and the PHO; the Tarlac City Police; civil society including the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Bamban and the Bantay Bayanihan; the Tarlac State University; and media including the Tarlac Weekly Post, Tarlac Profile. DZTC, Tarlac Headlines, UNTV and Tarlac Insider.

Among the local governance issues which the participants identified were corruption, political dynasties, impact of project implementation to communities, access to information on how public funds were spent, and delivery of basic social services to the people.

NUJP Director Jo Clemente said that while Tarlac has received from the interior and local government department the Seal of Good Housekeeping for its achievements on good governance, an equally important question is whether policies are in place to support and enhance good governance in the province.

Bonnie Dacayanan of Bantay Bayanihan also said that the Commission on Audit (COA) also plays an important role in increasing accountability of local governments.

NUJP Director and CANA Trainer Fred Villareal emphasized the critical role of citizens in letting the public know the issues which officials apparently like to be kept unknown, among them the use of discretionary funds. He said the President, Congress and even local governments all have pork barrel funds which only perpetuate patronage and abuse.

At the end of the training, participants agreed to form and strengthen a local citizen action group to monitor usage of public funds. The group, to be called initially CANA Tarlac, will help initiate small consultations with citizens in the province and use spaces to know more about government transactions.