As part of its concrete efforts to lay a strong foundation of local governance, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-National Capital Region (DILG-NCR) conducted an orientation workshop to capacitate CSO Desk Officers last April 19, 2022 at the Discovery Suites Manila, Ortigas, Pasig City.

Regional Director Maria Lourdes Agustin welcomed the newly-designated officers from each locality of NCR. “This intervention is one of the main initiatives of the Support to Local Governance Program (SLGP) of the Department to inform you of your roles and responsibilities and the importance of the Local People’s Councils,” RD Agustin said.
The training, attended by a mix of LGU personnel and actual CSO practitioners, is envisioned to be mainstreamed and continued as part of the priorities of respective LGUs in NCR.

Local Government Capability Development Division (LGCDD) Chief Helen Verzosa provided an overview of the activity highlighting the end goal of a well-informed and dynamic pool of desk officers.

Emphasizing the legal basis for citizen participation and what avenues are open to CSOs in local planning and development processes, LGOO V Maria Jasmin Diaz discussed the Relevance of Participatory Governance and Codal Avenues of Participation as vital elements for stronger citizen involvement.

The activity also covered the relevant provision of the policy instruments that concern CSO Accreditation and Selection to Representatives to the LSBs (MC 2019-72) and the Creation of CSO Desk Officers and Institutionalization of People’s Councils (MC 2021-54).

Representing the concerned policy making body, Project Development Officer Sean Apostol from the Bureau of Local Government Supervision, discussed the two memorandum circulars, the salient changes, and the key innovations in the aforementioned policies.

Delving deeper into the Roles and Responsibilities of CSO Desk Officers in LGUs, DMO IV Leonides Frago Jr. oriented the participants on the different functions and processes that CSO Desk Officers will facilitate upon their designation.

The second main session of the activity introduced participants to the actual experiences of other LGUs in the operations of CSO Desk Office and the formation of Local People’s Council through an online mode of delivery.

A recorded video of CSO Desk officer May Manibo of Naujan Municipality was played as she elaborated on their journey towards empowerment with the full support of their local leaders and initiatives of the Naujan People’s Council.

On the other hand, Chairperson Albert Aquino of Negros Oriental Network of NGOs and POs (NEGORNET), through Zoom Teleconference, recounted their initial struggles to lobby for recognition which resulted in the crafting of the People’s Partnership Ordinance of Dumaguete City.
Furthermore, Mr. Aquino expounded on the topic entitled: Suggested Code of Ethics and Internal Rules for Local People’s Council where he discussed the necessary internal and organizational mechanisms for a functional People’s Council.

The session also served as a platform for direct interfacing between the participants, the resource speakers, and DILG-NCR.
DMO Frago conducted a workshop, before the conclusion of the activity, to gather and facilitate an exchange of insights from the participants. These recommendations will then be used to inform the ongoing amendment process and future CSO-competency building interventions.

In closing, DC Verzosa urged all the CSO Desk Officers to use all the points of learning and inspiration gathered in the activity in assuming their roles and responsibilities. “This training will definitely not be the last and we look forward to our future engagement together capacitating CSOs as trusted partners in good governance,” she said.