PARTNERSHIP for Integrity and Jobs (Project I4J), a three-year project being implemented by a public-private sector coalition, recently showcased the Philippine model in building a culture of integrity in local governments in a one-day regional conference held in Manila.
Dubbed Local Partnerships for Integrity and Job Creation in Asean: Learning from the Philippine Example, the conference was participated in by delegates from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
In his speech, I4J Project Coordinator Dr. Peter Koeppinger said they wanted to work on the transparency, accountability and integrity of local government units (LGUs) in the country.
Poverty remains because of lack of investments. There are dozens of laws that promote integrity but, on the ground, they are not being implemented. We wanted to start with the local stakeholders and bring them and business together and have them talk on how to implement national laws, Koeppinger said.
Initially chosen for the project were the provinces of Cebu, Oriental Mindoro and South Cotobato. They were joined by the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa and San Carlos, along with the municipalities of Iranun Cluster (Barira, Buldon, Matanog and Parang), Naujan and Tuburan.
The local governments were recommended by the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-all of which are Project I4J partners.
Koeppinger said the governors and the mayors from the nine pilot areas created a technical working group that drafted a customized set of integrity and business promotion mechanism.
Afterward, Integrity Circles were created composed of civil servants, members of the business community, and non-governmental organizations.
Koeppinger said concerns included monitoring of the implementation of national laws, attitude and performance of civil servants, relationship between LGUs and businesses, and the participation of citizens.
For his part, European Union Attache Eric Galvin said that cumbersome procedures lead to corruption and under the table transactions.
We want to inspire good local practices and reinvent the way we work, Galvin said, as he pointed to the experience of the nine pilot LGUs.
Project I4J expects that integrity mechanisms and small business registration and promotion models are implemented, time and cost for delivery of public services to citizens have been reduced, the increase in business registration and investments has led to creation of new jobs will be present in the nine pilot LGUs after the completion of the project.
It also expects a high number of LGUs to join the Integrity Initiative started by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), a network of Integrity Circles has been set up nationwide, results from the nine pilot places accessible for all other LGUs in the country.
Co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Project I4J is being implemented by the ECCP, Centrist Democracy Political Institute, LPP, LCP and LMP.