The first Pampanga Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) Forum was held on May 11, 2015 at the Benigno S. Aquino Hall, Capitol Compound, City of San Fernando, in this province.

CSO leaders representing all cities and municipalities who attended the whole-day activity are Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP) co-signatories of their respective Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT). Some non-LPRAT Provincial and District CSO leaders like Akbayan-Pampanga, Change Politics Movement, Lingap Balen, Pampanga Ministerial Fellowship, and Provincial CSO-Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) were also invited to attend.

The gathering was made possible through the active support and assistance of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Central Luzon headed by Regional Director Florida M. Dijan, and the Provincial Office through Director Myrvi A. Fabia. Also present in the forum was the Assistant Project Manager of Project Management Office-Bottom-up Budgeting (PMO-BUB) Jocelyn Vicente Angeles, BUB Regional Coordinator Avelino Aparente, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Provincial Focal Person Ed Manugue, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) BUB Focal Person Marge Santiano, and all DILG City and Municipal Operations Officers.

The very highlight of the forum was the workshop done by the CSO participants which centered on Issues and Concerns on the CSOs’ participation in the Local Special Bodies; What the CSOs can offer for the proper and faster implementation of the projects; and BUB’s impact in the grassroots. The brainstorming, reporting of output, and synthesizing was facilitated by BUB Community Mobilizers Nicanor Soriano and Amelito Vitug. It’s summary was mainly focused on the willingness of the CSO’s to actively participate in the monitoring of the projects, and their testimonies that indeed BUB helps for the welfare of the marginalized sectors, thus the need to continue it. Masantol LPRAT Co-chairperson Raul Lacap aptly remarked “Change must start from the bottom, and BUB is a great tool to start.”

The status of 2014 DILG-BUB projects and the 2015 list was presented by Cluster Team Leader/Provincial Focal Person Renalyn Iglesias. For some 2015 DILG projects, checks were awarded in Candaba Pampanga, by DILG Secretary Manuel A. Roxas III. These are for Bacolor (P1.2-M for two projects), City of San Fernando (P2.25-M), Masantol (P1,017,391), Minalin (P4,632,000 for 3 projects), San Luis (P2,956,000), and Santo Tomas (P960,000). All these projects were part of the approved poverty reduction plans with a total allocation of P12.5-M for each LGU for 2015 implementation. DILG Regional Focal Person Jayson Jumaquio presented the latest status of the whole BUB projects and gladly stressed the 41% completion rate. He further discussed the plans for the regional 80% target for 2014 projects completion, and 50% for the 2015’s by the end of September.