Cebu Province joins int’l conference on Project I4J, presents integrity mechanisms

The Cebu Provincial Government, represented by Provincial Administrator Atty. Mark Tolentino, joined the international conference on Partnerships for Integrity and Jobs (Project I4J) last August 25 at Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila.

Key countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the said event.

The conference gathered local government units (LGUs) and associations across Southeast Asia to exchange experiences and best practices on efforts geared towards improving transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of local government processes in order to attract business and investments in their respect localities.

As one of the pilot LGUs of Project I4J, the Province of Cebu presented its integrity mechanisms and models for investment and business promotion to improve transparency and efficiency of public service delivery, especially those that directly impact business sector and investors.

The event featured exhibit booths from nine pilot LGUs, showcasing their integrity mechanisms. It allowed participants to experience the “market place” of ideas for integrity and transparency.

Members of the Integrity Consortium composed of the LGU, business sector and civil society organizations represented the Province of Cebu. Catherine Melody Ruiz of Kaabagsa Sugbo represented the civil society organizations while Tolentino, Jone Siegfred Sepe, Rocelyn Zosa, and Benjamin Joseph Yap represented the LGU sector.

Forum and Discussion

A roundtable discussion with representatives of the National Competitiveness Council, European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and League of the Cities of the Philippines (LCP) discussed the wider question of how to achieve a sustainable culture of integrity on the level of local government. The relevance and transferability of the models presented at the conference were discussed in an open forum.

Among the issues raised were:

  1.    1. How LGUs can change the behavior of the civil servants who think of corruption as a “business as usual” practice
  2.    2. How to encourage citizens to participate in governance, particularly in monitoring the performance of the local government officials
  3.    3. The sharing of experiences on partnering with the private sector
  4.    4. How to reconcile conflicting interests with the non-government organizations working at the local government and with the LGU
  5.    5. How to show the correlation between integrity and competitiveness
  6.    6. How to sustain the initiatives started by Project I4J

mark tolentino @ I4JThe Province of Cebu is expected to formalize the integrity circles through an executive order signed by the Governor. The integrity circles are composed of seven representatives each from the LGU, business sector and civil society organizations.

Each pilot area is expected to implement the Integrity Mechanisms and Models of Business and Investment Promotion at two months interval. The implementation process shall test these mechanisms before the pilot LGUs and to be replicated in other local government units across the country.

Experts from the project team will serve as local integrity program coordinators. With the support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) technical project staff, they will ensure the active role of the Integrity Circles in monitoring and supporting the implementation process.

KAS, CDPI, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, LCP, League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), and League of Provinces of the Philippines (LMP) will implement the Integrity Project.

The implementation of the pilot mechanisms and models will be evaluated and documented by the project team. July Anne C. Guibone