Karsa meeting with BMT

KARSA logoKARSA was initially formed during the early years of Martial Law as a Church-Military Liaison Committee in order to clear names of priests and pastors whom the military accused of supporting communist insurgents. It began using its current name in 1983 after the committee agreed to form an ecumenical group that addresses important social issues in the then unified province, such as human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, corruption, and peace and order. It was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003.

KARSA has since expanded to include different churches which share common vision to fight human rights violations and corruption among others – proving that religious people can set aside their differences in doctrines and cooperate to combat injustice. To date, the group helps communities improve their socio-economic and political situation while helping them protect their cultural and religious beliefs, which in turn enhances the communities’ potential to become KARSA’s partners in good governance.

KARSA is known for its trailblazing work of monitoring infrastructure and socio-economic projects in the Cordilleras, using skills and knowledge to detect whether materials used to build infrastructures were substandard, and raising red flags on possible corruption.

KARSA also boosts its engagement with local governments by sitting as CSO representatives in both Kalinga and Tabuk City’s local government committees, including the Bids and Awards Committee, Development Council, Monitoring Team, and Peace and Order Council.

KARSA is also active in advocating for the environment through its representation in Kalinga’s Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board and partnership with the Tabuk City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

Pastor Roy Dapeg's quoteAfter discussing potential issues and campaigns, KARSA officially entered into partnership with the Citizen Action Network for Accountability (CANA) in February 2015 to increase the group’s capacity to promote public transparency and accountability. In the same month, the group underwent CANA’s Training on Monitoring and Reporting Public Transparency and Accountability (CANA Training Series 1) and discussed how citizens can get involved in local government processes.

As part of its campaign, KARSA conducts dialogues with local officials to push for reforms in handling funds and organizes barangay monitoring teams to encourage citizens to demand for better public services.

KARSA Secretary Rev. Roy Dapeg, Jr. emphasized that battling corruption is a tall order, given that the organization constantly faces lack of funds and manpower. But through KARSA's partnerships with organizations such as CANA and the Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG), they can win the advocacy one step at a time.

"I would not say that we have already overcome this challenge [corruption], but it is a continuing battle," he said. "And we believe that by partnering with other organizations with the same advocacy, we can win this."