Himamaylan City has 142 dengue cases, the highest in Negros Occidental so far. (File photo)
Himamaylan City has 142 dengue cases, the highest in Negros Occidental so far. (File photo)

Himamaylan SP strengthens public participation in governance

The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Himamaylan passed an amendment to its Internal Rules which significantly expands the role of civil society in their legislative affairs.

Authored by Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao, the amendment requires all Sanggunian Committees to include representatives of people’s organizations in the deliberation, conceptualization, and evaluation of proposed measures. In addition, these representatives must attest that they had participated in the Committee meeting otherwise the measures considered cannot be forwarded for consideration by the Sanggunian during its sessions.

Guided by the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Cities for Enhanced Governance and Engagement (CHANGE) project, the sweeping public participation initiative aims to empower citizens by increasing their engagement in and oversight of local governance processes.

“The inclusion of Civil Society representatives in our legislative affairs provides a mechanism for direct citizen representation,” Gatuslao said. “This strengthens the legitimacy of decision-making processes and encourages citizens to take ownership of local policies,” he added.

In the same amendment, Gatuslao also pushed for the institutionalization of Safe Space in Governance Principles in the local legislature. This ensures that stakeholders can communicate freely, openly, and confidently to speak their minds and meaningfully participate in local governance.

An advocate of good governance, Gatuslao was previously commended by Malacañang as one of the pioneers of Freedom of Information advocacy. He was also recognized by the International Republican Institute for his efforts in strengthening the role of civil society in governance through digital channels. (TDE)

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