April 18, 2024

Bakun, Benguet has recently passed an ordinance creating a people’s council that will unite all people’s organizations within the municipality.
Municipal Ordinance 10-2021 seeks to establish a civil society organization (CSO) desk tasked to handle matters involving CSOs while the people’s council would federate the sectoral organizations.
“The participation of CSOs in government processes is important for the purpose of providing check and balance, as well as in exacting accountability. An active CSO participation is an indicator of healthy participatory governance,” the ordinance stated.
The CSO desk would be headed by an appointed desk officer from the Municipal Planning and Development Office.
The desk officer would also mobilize the participation of the various groups to government activities as well as maintain and update a local CSO database. 
The municipality will also establish a mechanism for the federation of sectoral CSOs and people’s organizations in the barangays, including the election of a set of officers from its members.
It will also facilitate the organization of the people’s council in the town with membership from the different sectors of CSOs or POs that are accredited, registered, and recognized by the local government. The organizations would also elect their own set of officers and determine their internal rules.
The people’s council shall also petition the municipal council to be recognized as a representative of the people. With this, the special committee on accreditation shall, not later than 90 days from the effectivity of the ordinance, call for a convention of all accredited CSOs and POs to facilitate the formal organization of the people’s council.
The people’s council will determine its organizational structures and internal rules but should be open for consultations.
The ordinance stated that participation of the people’s council or any of its member organizations in the conception, implementation, and evaluation of government activities and functions will not be given compensation.
It would be the joint responsibility of the municipal government and the people’s council to organize the Bakunians into “cooperatives, labor unions, interest groups, non-government organizations, sectoral organizations and/or people’s organizations, or to encourage and support their efforts towards self-organization to address their common concerns, to promote their common welfare, and/or to serve the municipality or their communities.”
A fund of P300,000 will be provided in the annual general fund budget for the next three years. 
The Benguet provincial board gave a favorable review of the ordinance. – Ofelia C. Empian