US, five LGUs ink Engage pact

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


THE United States (US) government and officials of five local government units (LGUs) have forged a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Thursday affirming their mutual intent to support transparency, good governance, and peace and development through the implementation of Enhancing Governance, Accountability and Engagement (Engage) project.

Engage is a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAid)-Philippines project supporting improved governance and to build prosperity and stability in Mindanao.

The signatories of the MOU are U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, USAID-Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Luwalhati Antonino and the following LGU officials: Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, Zamboanga City; Mayor Rosita Furigay, Lamitan City, Basilan; Councilor Jenesa Tubongbanua representing her sister, Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar, Isabela City, Basilan; Mayor Hussin Amon, Jolo, Sulu; and, Provincial Board Member Abduradzmezer Burahan representing Gov. Abdusakur Tan II, Sulu.

US, five LGUs ink Engage pact<br />
ZAMBOANGA. U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and Lamitan City Mayor Rosita Furigay exchange copies of the agreement they sign Thursday witnessed by USAID-Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele (left) and MinDA Chair Luwalhati Antonino. (Bong Garcia)

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“We really need programs of the USAid to teach us citizen participation, stakeholder empowerment, collective and collaborative processes for our constituents to be really involved,” Salazar said in her welcome address.

“What we want is government of transparency and accountability of elected officials who will be at the helm of leadership, to be sure that every fund of national government would trickle down to benefit the most vulnerable citizens of our country,” Salazar added.

In particular, Goldberg said the focus of their efforts is to support the LGUs to remain responsive to the needs of those they serve and “to strengthen the bonds between their citizens and their local government.”

“USAid’s Engage project represents a partnership between the government of the Philippines and the United States, between local governments and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and between elected officials and those who work in their areas to foster good governance and straightens civic engagements,” Goldberg added.

The target areas in the implementation of Engage project are the southern part of Basilan and the cities and surrounding areas of: Cotabato, Isabela, Jolo, Marawi and Zamboanga.

The goal of the project is to improve peace and stability in six target areas of Mindanao by promoting good governance and public engagement.

It objectives are: Strengthen capacity, transparency, accountability and legitimacy of local governments; and, increase youth and adult involvement in governance process through civic education, civil society strengthening and fostering community-level participant and interaction.

The MOU signing ceremony coincided with the first Mindanao visit of Goldberg, who earlier paid his courtesy call to Salazar at City Hall.

City Hall rolled out a red carpet welcome for newly-installed envoy who was visiting Mindanao, Zamboanga City in particular for the first time.

Meanwhile, Salazar has briefed Goldberg about Zamboanga City’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts anchored on the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction under the Build Back Better strategy. (Bong Garcia)

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