Calamba council strengthens people’s participation in governance  

By Zen Trinidad

May 4, 2018, 9:36 pm

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna -- The city legislative council, or Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), is creating a people's council , dubbed as "Tugon" whose aim is to strengthen  people’s participation in legislative governance.
Some 54 village (barangay) secretaries and 41 accredited non-government organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and people’s organizations (POs) attended a two-day (May4-5, 2018) seminar in order to create Tugon (response),  working under the theme: “CSO Assembly cum Multi-Sectoral Forum on GAD Legislative Intervention” held at Doña Jovita Garden Resort in Barangay Bagong Kalsada in this city.
Vice Mayor  and Presiding Officer Roseller H. Rizal in his remarks clarified the important role of a duly accredited organization in the crafting of ordinances and local legislative measures being the people on the ground or grassroots level promoting their respective needs and interests.
He expounded that a representative, or the leader of a duly accredited organization, can sit as member of various local government committees or councils where they can participate, share their knowledge and concerns relative to their group’s purposes.
“As part of our (SP) oversight function, in coordination with the sectoral affairs office of the city, we will see to it that you will become members of various government councils based on your (organization) services,” Vice Mayor Rizal said.
Millet Rivano, head, Office the Sectoral Affairs  of the city welcomed the creation of the people’s council where various organizations can participate in the discussions, knowledge-sharing in formulating legislative programs and activities that suit to the need of the people.
She reiterated the instruction of Mayor Justin Marc SB Chipeco to discuss first with the concerned organization when formulating programs and activities  as the city recognizes the role  of NGOs, CSOs and POs evidenced by the observance of NGO Day every 27th day of February of each year with appropriate fund allocation.
According to lawyer Noel M. Villanueva, secretary of the legislative council and head of the Local Legislative Services Office, the primary aim of the seminar is the creation of “Tugon” which is the name of the council relative to the concept of responsive governance as the term implies.
He said, the 41 accredited organizations will form seven clusters based on organization’s purpose along with the seven clusters composed of barangay secretaries based on geographical proximity among each other. Each cluster with six to seven members at the average, will elect their representative to the council or ‘Tugon” a Filipino term for response that will act as the governing board.
Villanueva explained that the “Tugon” represents the collective voice in recommending amendments to any ordinance approved or being implemented in the city especially those provisions which are no longer responsive to the call of the times.
He clarified that the role of “Tugon” is recommendatory and directory not mandatory since the Sangguniang Panlungsod is the legislative body of the city government.
“We want the city council to work in the same tune with the grassroots,” he said.
Meanwhile, Susan Rabano Jalla, a retired Senior Supt. of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and certified Philippine Council for Women (PCW) national Gender and Development (GAD) resource speaker , oriented the participants of the important features of GAD in the policy making, program formulation and activity planning.
“All programs of the government must have gender responsiveness,” Jalla said emphasizing various components of GAD which further explained the Gender and Development Code of the city embodied in City Ordinance No. 534 Series of 2012. (PNA)