People’s Council of Quezon City: What is it and what is it for?

May 31, 2022 - 7:15 PM
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Photo of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on May 30, 2022 (Facebook/Quezon City government)

Reelected Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte formally launched the city’s own People’s Council on Monday, May 30.

In a statement, Belmonte explained that this council will spur citizen participation in the decisions and policies to be made within the city.

“Aarangkada na ang People’s Council of Quezon City (PCQC) kung saan katuwang ang mga QCitizens sa mga desisyon ng lungsod Quezon para sa mas mabuti at tapat na pamamahala,” she said.

“Higit pa rito, ito rin ay isang paraan ng upang mahikayat ang bawat mamamayan na makilahok at mag-‘participate’ sa lokal na pamahalaan,” the city chief executive added.

Belmonte further stressed: “Bilang isang lider na naniniwala sa ‘participatory governance,’ importante sa ating alkalde ang boses ng bawat QCitizen.”

The local mayor posted the statement on social media.

Participatory governance is a style of leadership in the public sector that centers decision-making on active citizen collaboration and participation. In other words, it is a bottom-up approach, rather than a traditional top-down, in the crafting of policies that will affect many.

Reactions to the development on social media are mainly positive.

“Let Quezon City be the showcase of transparency & good governance,” one said.

“Sana through the People’s Council model, mas malawak pa ang maabot ng serbisyo ng QC LGU lalu na sa mga nasa sulok-sulok at sa borders ng lungsod,” said another.

Aksyon QC, a Facebook group of city residents, posted: “Aprub na aprub sa mga QCitizens ang pagbuo ng Quezon City.”

Aika Robredo, eldest daughter of Vice President Leni Robredo, later saw it on Twitter. She quote tweeted the announcement: “Yay, Mayor Joy!”

Others expressed hope that local governments will follow suit.

“To more People’s Council around the Philippines!” one user said.

“Looking forward to how participatory governance can be the norm in LGUs,” another user tweeted.

Last May 26, Belmonte signed the implementing rules and regulations of the City Ordinance SP-1942,S-2009 or the Participation, Accountability, and Transparency (PAT) Ordinance after 13 years of ratification.

What People’s Councils do

The People’s Council of Quezon City (PCQC) shall serve as the “umbrella arm” of 2,232 city-accredited Civil Society Organizations (CSO).

Members include representatives from sectors of Health and Sanitation, Women, Homeowners Associations, Persons-with-Disabilities, Urban Poor, Solo Parents, Transportation, Senior Citizens and the LGBTQIA community.

Under the IRR, the council shall participate in the deliberations and meetings of the city’s local special bodies.

Council members will also conduct their own research, have their own data bank for sectoral concerns and record-keep documents for community initiatives in development.

Moreover, the PCQC will serve as Quezon City’s “lobby group” on behalf of its members and networks.

In a previous statement last May 26, Belmonte also explained the important role of a people’s council in the pursuit of good governance at the local level.

“Ang tunay na malinis at tapat na pamahalaan ay kapag kasangga ang mga mamamayan sa pamamahala. Ngayong mayroon nang PCQC na makakatuwang ng pamahalaang lungsod, makaaasa ang mga QCitizen na ang bawat piso at sentimong nanggagaling sa kanilang buwis ay mapupunta sa mga programang makabuluhan at makatutulong para maitaas ang antas ng pamumuhay ng bawat residente,” the mayor said.

The late Naga City Mayor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Jesse Robredo, the vice president’s husband and Aika’s father, was the first city chief executive who pushed for participatory governance in the province.

In 1989, the Naga City People’s Council was born. It was institutionalized in December 1995.

The structure for a people’s council was later adopted through a volunteer-driven campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo which saw unprecedented house-to-house efforts and sortie attendance.

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Interaksyon. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.