House okays on first reading bill to create people’s council

Photo courtesy of Rep. Emmarie Lolypop Ouano-Dizon
Photo courtesy of Rep. Emmarie Lolypop Ouano-Dizon

A BILL that seeks to establish a partnership between local government units (LGUs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) for the creation of a people’s council in every LGU has been pushed in the House of Representatives.

The “People Empowerment Act,” a measure that combines House Bills 385, 2727 and 4141, was approved by the Committee on People’s Participation during its first reading on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

The bill will authorize the people’s council to participate in local boards, councils, committees, and task forces of similar work groups, as well as in the LGUs’ decision-making process.

The measure is authored by Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr., Oriental Mindoro Second District Rep. Alfredo Umali Jr., and Northern Samar Second District Rep. Harris Christopher Ongchuan.

The proposal was first brought before the 18th Congress and passed the third and final reading. It was not, however, able to pass the Senate due to lack of time.

Mandaue Lone District Rep. Emmarie Ouano-Dizon, chairperson of the Committee on People’s Participation, told SunStar Cebu the initiative gives people a greater voice in the LGU’s decision-making.

Ouano-Dizon said the bill entails the establishment of CSOs and people’s organizations (POs) to put up their respective representatives in the local bodies and councils at the committee level.

The measure, according to Ouano-Dizon, mandates the formation of CSOs and people’s organizations (POs), which will then elect their representatives to the municipal or city council.

The CSOs and POs from the municipalities and cities will also have a representative in the Provincial Board.

As stated in the bill, CSO refers to any organized citizen’s group, including POs and non-government organizations (NGOs) such as community groups, labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, and foundations, among others.

Once accredited by the LGUs, the CSO should participate in the conceptualization, implementation and evaluation of government activities, provided that they do not receive any compensation.

They would also observe and participate in the deliberation, conceptualization, implementation and evaluation of projects, activities and programs of the LGU, propose legislations and participate at the committee level of the local council.


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