By Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY, Aug 2 (PIA) — Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will soon receive funding support from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) once the CSO Empowerment Fund Program is implemented.
The DILG is now finalizing the guidelines of the funding program which aims to enhance CSOs capability building measures and capacitate them in participating to local government bodies through skills trainings on development planning and budgeting.
The program will intensify people’s participation in local governance through the CSOs, according to Allyn Lopez, executive assistant for CSO Empowerment of the DILG.
The program will also strengthen the partnership between CSOs and Local Government Units (LGUs) in giving services to the people.
“The CSOs can partner LGUs in implementing programs. They can also become guides or provide technical assistance to the government,” Lopez said.
Aside from this, CSOs can also act as bridge between the government and the target sectors considering they are closer to the grass roots level.
Lopez noted that CSOs can also take part in the bottom-up budgeting process of government projects since it is them who can identify the needs of a target sector.
CSOs are comprised of different Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and People’s Organization (PO).
Lopez also added that the budget for the program comes from the national budget with an allocation of P250 million. The amount is likely to increase if the program will yield positive results.
However, the empowerment fund will only be given to CSO networks. Lopez explained that NGOs and POs under a CSO network can convene and craft their project proposals as well as skills trainings which will be submitted to the DILG after it announces a call for proposal.
The proposals are subject under procurement law and will undergo bids and awards process.
CSO networks can get as low as P3 million and as much as P20 million empowerment funds for their projects. The allocation of these funds is by regional basis.
The DILG targets CSOs in fourth to sixth class municipalities as primary beneficiaries of the program. Lopez also assured the public the CSO Empowerment Fund program will be implemented soon.
In Negros Oriental, all the NGOs and POs belong to the umbrella group Negros Oriental Network of NGOs and Pos (NEGORNET).
Negornet recently inducted its new set of officials in a ceremony marking the celebration of the NGO and PO Week in the province starting July 29-Aug. 3. Part of the ceremony was a dialogue with Lopez.
Negornet officials expressed their willingness to partner with the LGU here for the betterment of Nergrenses.
This call is supported by Lopez. “CSOs may serve as a major contributor to good governance. They can help ensure that government projects are implemented properly,” Lopez adds.
Aside from this, Lopez also encourages CSOs to act as third party monitoring system when it comes to government spending.
“They should be watchdogs. They should check if the funds are spent well,” he concluded. (mbcn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)