House OKs creation of People's Council in every LGU

House OKs creation of People's Council in every LGU

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved on final reading the bill creating a People’s Council in every local government unit (LGU) as a way to provide a mechanism by which citizens’ views and opinions in different areas of governance may be heard and considered.

With 217 affirmative votes and six abstentions, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 7950 or the People Empowerment Act.

Under the bill, the People’s Council shall be composed of civil society organizations (CSOs) that will be accredited by the local sanggunian upon proof of submission of several requirements which include proof of existence for at least one year, proof of activities, list of membership, and officers, among others.

The People’s Council may elect among themselves their representatives to all local government bodies, boards, councils, committees, task forces, special government bodies and other similar workgroups which the local government or national laws may create.

People’s Council may likewise participate in the conceptualization and evaluation of government activities, activities, and programs of the LGU, propose legislation and participate at the committee level of the local sanggunian.

Moreover, the measure also creates a Provincial People’s Council (PPC) in every province which shall be composed of representatives from the municipality and city People’s Council within the province’s jurisdiction.

The People’s Council, however, is not allowed to engage in partisan politics and shall adopt measures to ensure that it is adequately shielded from any political partisanship or influence.

Under the Constitution, all CSOs are recognized as independent and autonomous self-help organizations and are encouraged to organize into formal cooperatives, interest groups, non-governmental organizations, among others to pursue their legitimate purposes and objectives.

San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes, who chairs the House committee on people participation, said that the bill “will make civil society organizations more involved in local governance and create a stronger partnership between the government and private sector and create an environment where people can participate in policy and decision-making processes countrywide.”