First introduced by then Camarines Sur Rep. and now Vice President Leni Robredo in the 16th Congress, the proposed People Empowerment Act is making a comeback through a bill filed by Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
Pangilinan said Senate Bill No. 692 would strengthen local government units as it would institutionalize the participation of people’s organizations, non-government units, and the private sector.
“Ang pagtataguyod ng bayan ay trabaho nating lahat — karaniwang mamamayan man o opisyal ng gobyerno. Nilalayon ng panukalang batas na ito na patotohanin ang people power sa araw-araw na trabaho ng pamamahala (Nation-building is everyone’s job — whether ordinary citizen or government official. This bill aims to realize people power in the everyday job of governance),” Pangilinan said.
The bill urges the people to organize themselves and register as a civil society organization (CSO) in a city or municipality.
Registered CSOs may enjoy the following rights and privileges:
• enter into joint ventures or other forms of undertaking with the Local Sanggunian to engage in the delivery of basic services, capacity-building, and livelihood projects;
• develop local enterprises designed to improve productivity and income, diversity agriculture, spur rural industrialization, promote ecological balance and enhance the economic and social well-being of the people;
• receive assistance from the Local Sanggunian for economic, socially-oriented, environmental, good governance or cultural projects to be implemented within territorial jurisdiction; and
• join and become part of the Local People’s Council.
The Local People’s Council, to be composed of accredited CSOs, will be recognized by the Local Sanggunian and will have participation in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of government activities and functions.
It will be a recognized member of existing committees, boards, councils, task forces, special bodies of all local government units.
The funds needed for the capacity-building of CSOs shall be included in the annual budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government.