MORE than 500 stakeholders attended the 13th leg of the Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Town Hall Meeting held at the Iloilo City Convention Center Tuesday, September 3.
Among those present were representatives from civil society organizations, academe, business groups, public sector unions, people's organizations and local media.
Called "Dagyaw 2019," a Hiligaynon term for "Bayanihan," the regional dialogue was held as an avenue for productive engagement between the government and the people at the local level.
The event also aimed to illustrate the concept of "togetherness," which is the nature and value proposition of the Participatory Governance Cabinet Cluster and the Open Government Partnership.
The Western Visayas leg is the 13th of the 16 series of town hall meetings in the country.
Speakers representing different national government agencies presented their plans of bringing government closer to the citizens.
Speakers include Assistant Secretary Roosque Calacat of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Undersecretary Marvin Gatpayat of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Undersecretary Janet Abuel of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Director Cyril Ticao of the Department of Labor and Employment-Western Visayas, Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority, and Director Marlyn Convocar of Department of Health-Western Visayas.
DILG-Western Visayas Director Ariel Iglesia gave the welcome remarks, while DBM-Western Visayas Director Mae Chua gave the closing remarks.
DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo moderated the town hall forum during the end of the meeting.
Several concerns brought during the forum were problems on corruption in the government, health and hospitalization, funding for the Sangguniang Kabataan, end of contractualization, senior citizens' pensions for indigents, and privatization of government TV station IBC and the benefits of its workers.
Past meetings were held in Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, Koronadal, Manila, Tacloban, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Batangas, Tuguegarao City, Pangasinan and Legaspi.
The next town hall meeting will be held in Baguio City on September 10, Zamboanga City on September 17, and Calapan, Oriental Mindoro on September 25. (Leo Solinap/SunStar Philippines)