Kung Tani: Roxas City Encourages Citizens to Participate in Drawing Up Roadmap
A few months after a new mayor was elected in Roxas City in May 2019, the local government initiated a series of dialogues with various groups and individuals, getting them involved in the planning process. Mayor Ronnie Dadivas stressed the importance of participatory governance, saying that “this is consensus building in participative governance and your contributions will be part and parcel of the output. You have a say in this government. You have a say in running the affairs of the city”.
The consultation process culminated in a workshop called Kung Tani, Visayan for “I wish,” in March 2020. About 300 participants were given the opportunity to communicate their priorities and needs for inclusion in Roxas City’s development. It was a realistic discussion as the different groups had to work around the city’s annual budget. The organizers shared a detailed breakdown of how much the city is allowed to spend in its programs for infrastructure, education and social services, to name a few.
This was the first time such a workshop was organized in Roxas City although dialogues with Mayor Dadivas had been held before.
“We have a very limited budget, but your voices and thoughts will contribute. We will gather your ideas and these will be our roadmap in running the affairs of the city government. This will serve as direction for our government,” said Mayor Dadivas.
The constituents identified concerns that had to do with safety and livelihood. One was the installation of proper lighting along the streets. At night, dark roads made people prone to vehicular accidents and vulnerable to crimes. Tricycle drivers also asked support so that they can collect their share of the earnings in a fair manner.
Observers have said that this is a commendable initiative of the local government for presenting not only facts and figures, but also the cost incurred for different programs. Transparency and inclusiveness, after all, are strong characteristics of good governance.
The workshop took place at the Gerry Roxas Foundation Training and Convention Center in Roxas City, Capiz. Overall facilitation was provided by Dr. Angelita Gregorio-Medel of the Ateneo School of Government. Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas delivered the opening remarks in both the morning and afternoon sessions.