Citizens act for Palawan

Canaten Palawan training

Canaten Palawan is an anti-corruption advocacy group born out of the province’s urgent need to independently monitor and report on the usage of public funds, particularly the Malampaya natural gas project royalty funds. Canaten is the local term for “ours.”

Established on July 5, 2014 with the support of the Citizen Action Network for Accountability (CANA), Canaten Palawan aims to consolidate the efforts of citizens, the media, and civil society organizations in promoting transparency and accountability in the province as a means to counter the many evolving challenges facing Palawan’s LGUs and political leaders in the utilization of public funds.

This endeavor was evidently influenced by Palawan’s recent history involving the alleged large-scale misuse of the Malampaya royalty funds since the term of then President Gloria Arroyo.

Canaten Palawan believes that it is urgent and essential that an active, independent public accountability-oriented entity be formed to help raise awareness among the larger body politic on the issue of public funds in general and the Malampaya royalty in particular.

The provincial government of Palawan is currently negotiating an out-of-court arrangement with the Department of Budget and Management and related national government offices to work out the release of a portion of the province’s PhP 70 billion supposed share from Malampaya royalty, which is currently under escrow because of the unresolved issue on the right of the province to claim such.

In July 2014, it submitted to the Department of Energy a proposal for an energy sector development master plan, which it planned to implement using the escrowed royalty funds. Civil society viewed the apparent lack of public consultations on the provincial government’s plan to enter into another compromise agreement similar to that of the previous administrations as a “red flag” which needs to be monitored.

In the middle of these issues, Canaten Palawan pledges to build the citizens and civil society’s capacity to advocate for appropriate policy measures that ensure transparency and proper utilization of public funds.