Strengthening Community Participation in the Development, Implementation, and Monitoring of Local Development Programs and Projects

Feb 16, 2023 | Policy Analysis


The 1987 Philippine Constitution enshrined citizen participation and accorded protection for the rights of the people and civil society organizations for “effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making. The State shall, by law, facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms.” Citizen participation in local governance was also solidified in the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines and other legislative documents promoting the rights of the people and people’s organization to participation at all levels of decision- making in any social, political or economic areas. Citizen participation has been known to reap benefits for individuals, communities, organizations and provide better value to governments.

This policy paper explores the history and current situation of community-driven development (CDD) approach, one of the recent strategies on citizen participation, and its progress and gaps as a mechanism of poverty reduction and community participation in local governance. In addition, recommendations are put forward to address the observed gaps. The paper centered its review of a flagship Philippine government on CDD, the Kapit- bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).

CDD approach, as defined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), refers to a community development practice where processes, principles, strategies, and resources are applied to ensure community empowerment by giving the people authority and control over decisions and resources. At the core of the strategy are the principles of participation, transparency and accountability. The approach has gained popularity over the past few decades as a key mechanism of governments in improving the lives of the poor and marginalized, especially through development works funded by various international development institutions. In the Philippines, the CDD approach is implemented on a national scale through the KALAHI-CIDSS by the DSWD. Another participatory governance mechanism was previously implemented through the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) program.

Despite the improvements on community participation and the direct and indirect contributions of the CDD approach in the lives of the covered communities as well as the reforms in local governance as evidenced in various impact evaluation of KALAHI-CIDSS, the CDD approach has yet to establish its place as a mainstreamed strategy on poverty reduction and participatory governance. While progress has been made in the local governments towards community participation of people’s organization and/or representation in the budget and planning process, these remain to be fragmented in the absence of a national policy on participatory governance as well as insufficient monitoring platforms on citizen participation. This results in loss of socio-economic benefits associated with the implementation of community- based interventions, as well as wastage of resources on government projects that do not fully address the needs of the people in the communities.

Results of the multi-goal analysis and review of literature inferred the best policy recommendation to be the institutionalization of a national policy on CDD approach. Across all three policy goals of welfare, efficiency, and security, the third policy alternative has consistently shown to have the best probability of achieving the identified criteria for accomplishing the policy goals, thereby, addressing the policy issues presented. To this end, the following initiatives that can be implemented in line with the recommendation for the immediate passing of a CDD Approach Institutionalization Law: (1) Lobby for the passing of the Bills on CDD Institutionalization; (2) Conduct consultation meetings or other related activities with decision-makers and other stakeholders to ensure that the proposed law will be vetted by all interested parties thereby guaranteeing that the proposed legislation will be in the best interest of the communities; (3) Conduct further studies to determine the long-term impact of the implementation of the CDD approach on poverty reduction, one of the overall goals of CDD, as the related literature is divisive on the concrete effect of CDD on poverty reduction; and (4) Conduct information, education, and communication campaign activities on the CDD approach using traditional and social media.

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Strengthening Community Participation in the Development, Implementation, and Monitoring of Local Development Programs and Projects