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ASEAN Journal of Community Engagement

Abstract

In a developing country such as the Philippines, where call for change is relentless, the inclusive participation of the citizens has become vital. In 2012, the Aquino Administration launched the Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) Program to bolster inclusive growth, grassroots empowerment, and good governance at the local level. In Cagayan de Oro City (CdeO), BUB sought to increase citizens’ access to local service delivery with a demand-driven budget planning process and to strengthen government accountability in local public service provision (Openbub.gov, 2012). Using the Most Significant Change (MSC) approach, this study examined the dynamics of Civil Society Organizations’ participation in BUB-funded projects that have helped the Local Government Unit (LGU) develop a more progressive perspective in governance and its replicability in other areas. There has been formal recognition by the LGU of the valuable contributions of CSOs to the City’s growth, in the form of strengthened commitment towards poverty alleviation, productive partnerships, and the establishment of the City CSO Affairs Office. The interplay of the CSOs, government stakeholders, and private institutions in the City remains relevant. BUB has been anchored on strong community involvement, open government, and people’s multifaceted agenda for the City, even in the face of the Duterte administration’s plan to replace BUB with a relatively similar system, the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities Program (ADMP). Once institutionalized in the local bureaucracy, civil society participation will continue to keep alight the torch of cooperation in building the fourth metropolis in the country, even as we are buffeted by winds of uncertainty brought about by social and political challenges.

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