QUEZON CITY --- Multi-sectoral delegates from the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 3, Regions 4A and 4B, and Bicol that compose Luzon Cluster 1 had gathered here Tuesday to Wednesday (February 27-28) for the Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogues with concerned presidential cabinet secretaries.
While the participants are mainly from the representative local government units of various regions, the private sector – including members and head of NGOs, People’s Organizations, media, and the business chambers from the said regions – has also been invited to participate in the seminar-dialogue and opening of government programs for discussion, elaboration, and suggestions/feedback from the stakeholders, both public and private.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Undersecretary Eduardo Ano of the Department of Interior and Local Government welcomed the participants at the Quezon Hall of Great Eastern Hotel, Along Quezon Avenue here.
Director Rolando Toledo of the Department of Budget and Management explained that the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to make government better. It aims to secure concrete commitments (principally from the government) to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
On the other hand, the Participatory Governance Cluster is tasked (1) to enable the public to understand, rationalize and implement national government programs and projects based on area-specific realities; (2) to strengthen consultation mechanisms to ensure effective implementation of programs and projects, and (3) to propose policies, programs and projects that would foster participatory governance and build the capacities of LGUs for such purpose.
President Rodrigo Duterte has consistently made it clear that he wants to restore the people’s faith in government by (1) better delivery of public services; and (2) facilitating their active involvement in governance.
The second day of the conference-dialogue was focused on the budget and tax reform process, overview of the 2018 national budget and the presentation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act and reaction from the private sector. In the afternoon was the presentation of Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program and the ensuing open forum.
Among the participants from Bicol seen in the conference hall were Camarines Sur Provincial Administrator Angel Naval, Enrico Evangelista and Ferdinand Sia, presidents of the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) and Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), respectively, and Joe Perez, secretary-general of the MNCCI and editor-in-chief of the Bicol Mail.