In forming a sustainable foundation of good governance, it is not enough to concentrate on developing the internal capacity of local governments. It is equally important to develop and strengthen partnerships with CSOs in order to empower citizens to articulate their needs as they participate in the decision-making process, program planning, implementation and monitoring at the local level, which can increase the responsiveness and efficiency of local governments in delivering services.

With this, the Department of the Interior and Local Government- Zambales Provincial Office, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Zambales facilitated the conduct of CSO Conference pursuant to the issuance of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-72 dated May 22, 2019 entitled “Guidelines on Accreditation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Selection of Representatives to the Local Special Bodies (LSBs)” on August 16, 2019 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Provincial Capitol, Iba, Zambales.

The CSO Conference, which aimed to enhance the awareness and understanding of CSOs on the importance of civil society participation, was participated by a total of eighty-two (82) CSO representatives from across the province. In her opening remarks, LGOO V Maharlina J. Tejada expressed that the DILG is hopeful that the activity will lead to the bridging of linkages among the Province and the CSOs, instrumental in the selection of the members to the Local Special Bodies (LSBs). Among the highlights of the activity are the discussion of the legal bases of citizen’s participation under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991, and action planning on the next critical steps relative to the challenges of citizen participation in local governance. Moreover, LGOO VI Cindy C. Cagalitan provided the synthesis of the matters arising from the workshop proper. SP Secretary Ma. Teresa D. Panes formally concluded the activity by expressing that the Provincial Government is strong-willed when it comes to the campaign of enjoining all of the CSOs to undergo accreditation, as first step for them to be selected as members for the local special bodies. She likewise enumerated the requirements needed by the Provincial Government relative to the selection process.

The activity, in support to DILG M.C. No. 2019-72, issued in consonance with Article 64 of the IRR of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that “within thirty (30) days from the approval of these Rules and thereafter, within thirty (30) days from the organization of the newly elected sanggunian, each sanggunian concerned shall call all community-based people's organizations or NGOs, including business and professional groups, and other similar aggrupation to apply with the LGU concerned for accreditation for membership in the local special bodies.