ILIGAN CITY -- Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman is among the seven leaders from government, civil society and the private sector from various parts of the world who were recognized Friday by the World Bank (WB)-hosted Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) for their work in helping to eradicate poverty and promote inclusive growth through social accountability.
“Secretary Soliman walks the talk: she translates the practice of social accountability and transparency into concrete strategic activities, which she implements with great commitment and passion,” a bank news release quoted Motoo Konishi, its Philippine country director, as saying.
“Amid dissenting voices and criticisms, she opens the door for collaboration, participation and dialogue, inviting people to voice and discuss their concerns,” Konishi said.
He added that under Soliman’s leadership, civil society organizations have been involved in the implementation and monitoring of government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, popularly known as the “Pantawid Pamilya.”
Patterned after similar initiatives in Brazil and Mexico, the CCT in the country covers more than four million households, and benefits at least 11 million children 0-18 years old who are able to stay in school and have regular health checks.
The first generation of 400,000 children supported by the CCT program has just graduated from secondary education.
The WB noted that DSWD has entered into a budget partnership agreement with more than 50 civil society organizations in monitoring the budget of the department.
Konishi lauded Soliman’s effort to make available to the public relevant data about the department’s programs and activities through its website.
The WB also cited the participatory approach in carrying out another program under Soliman’s agency that “covers 850 municipalities benefitting 27 million poor people.”
“Secretary Soliman catalyzed genuine engagement between citizens and local government in the country’s community-driven development program, where citizens plan, implement, and evaluate their own local development interventions,” the WB said.
It added that Soliman also “helped promote collaboration among government agencies for poverty reduction” in her capacity as chair of the Philippine Cabinet Cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction, helping oversee the bottom-up budgeting approach adopted by government whereby some 300 to 400 of the poorest municipalities in the country developed their own community-level poverty reduction and empowerment plans.
These plans, the WB said, “were subsequently included in the rural development and conditional cash transfer budgets of six national agencies: the departments of social welfare, education, health, agriculture, agrarian reform, and environment.”
Soliman also mobilized regional development councils to work with local government units in ensuring the registration of the poor in the government’s national household targeting system database, which is used in identifying families for the CCT program, the WB said.
Apart from Soliman, two other bureaucrats from Mexico and Moldova were among the awardees coming from government agencies. The other four are from civil society.
A lifetime award was accorded to Oded Grajew Oded Grajew, Founder and General Coordinator of Brazilian civil society organization Rede Nossa Sao Paulo. The other awardees are Ibrahim Tanko Amidu of Ghana; Gonzalo Hernandez Licona of Mexico; Iftekhar Zaman of Bangladesh; Aicha Ech-Chenna of Morocco; and Maia Sandu of Moldova.
The GPSA is a global partnership that brings together organizations that promote transparency, responsive government, citizen participation in policy decision-making and implementation.