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City-USAid CHANGE engages Bohol media for governance

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 26 (PIA) -- Not only would they be governance “critics and watchdogs,” Bohol media would also be assuming more engaging roles in governance.

This as the partnership between Tagbilaran City and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sought the active help of the media in strengthening the democratic processes.

During the two-day seminar workshop on media in governance on May 23-24 at the MetroCentre Hotel, USAID-funded Cities for Enhanced Governance and Engagement (CHANGE) Project City Governance Coordinator Rosalinda Paredes, USAID project City Governance Coordinator, cites the critical role of media in bringing about true decentralization and the mandated citizen participation in local governance.    

One of the pillars that can largely contribute to shaping of a better government, media has been considered the fourth estate, keeping a key function of checking and balancing powers in government as it plays an important role in strengthening the democratic governance.

Sitting during the two-day workshop were members of the Bohol press, including managers, editors, writers and reporters, broadcasters and photojournalists who were oriented on the theory of safe spaces in governance where people can speak without fear of harassment in their struggles for demanding and exacting accountability from authorities and the government.

They also had a lengthy plenary on good governance and accountability on the roles of media in local governance, and the threats that media face in the government-media interrelationship.

The gathering also tackled the state of media ethics in Bohol, digital journalism and its effect on mainstream delivery of information as well as the emergence of social media journalists and proposed social media governance frameworks. 

Already getting considerable success in getting the civil society organizations represented in the city government’s mandated organizations in line with the mandates for citizen participation in local governance, CHANGE now looks at the media and its immense power in shaping governments to help improve decentralization of fiscal, administrative and political authority of local governments, Paredes said.

Implemented in Bohol since 2001, CHANGE aims to strengthen the environment that enables decentralization in a larger goal of effecting better service delivery, updated and upgraded capacities, and enhancing legitimacy, transparency and accountability of partner local governments.

Now in its third goal of empowering citizens by increasing their participation in governance and actively join in the oversight of processes that can help improve governments service, CHANGE now looks at the media and its strategic role to inform communities so they can make smarter decisions, as well as checks and balances government functions for better and streamlined processes to achieve development.

CHANGE is also implemented in nine secondary cities in the Philippines like Batangas, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Ilo-ilo, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga.

CHANGE in Tagbilaran City has been leading in its project goals, having already organized 45 activities. (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

Tagbilaran City and the USAID-CHANGE Project gathered the media in a bid to create an atmosphere that enables the flow of two-way communication between the two and improve the processes to effect a more streamlined participative democratic governance. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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