COVID-19: EveryWoman’s Feminist Response and Recovery Plan
PROBING POPULISM IN THE PHILIPPINES: Proceedings of the 2018 National Consultation on Populism
POPULISM AND PHILIPPINE CIVIL SOCIETY: Views from Labor, Urban Poor and Development NGOs
WOMEN UNDER SIEGE: Manifestations of Populism and its impact on gender equality in the Philippines (September 2020)
Women and the Duterte Anti-Drug Carnage: Grieving, Healing, Breaking Through (October 2020)
IISANG PANGARAP: Ang kwento ng Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (October 2020)
Annual Report (July 2020)
KABARO JOURNEYS 1: Narratives from the women's movement (March 2020)
A closer look at the cost of the Marawi Siege (2019)
State of Democracy Report: PHILIPPINES (November 2018)
Gender Equality in the Philippines (March 2018)
CROSSOVER LEADERSHIP IN ASIA: STAYING WHOLE IN TWO HALVES (From Civil Society to Government - 2008)
TOWARDS STRENGTHENING THE FISCAL CAPABILITIES OF ARMM (A Policy Paper - 2007)
International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGOV) Inc.
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Much of the discourse on the proposed extension of the transition period covering the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) had focused on its justification. While some groups in Mindanao have expressed their reservations, both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) have backed the call, citing the need for more time to fulfill their responsibilities and mandate.
Other stakeholders also recommended the creation of a roadmap that would specify the tasks to be completed during the extended period, identify the people accountable for the work, and define the structures, mechanisms, and milestones to ensure that promised goals are delivered.
Any roadmap crafted for this purpose should be properly contextualized against the larger Bangsamoro peace process and should prioritize specific milestones that need to be completed to determine the end of the transition period.
Louie Montalbo is a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of INCITEGov, a policy research and advocacy center in the Philippines. He was also a former Undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
The Rapid Midterm Review on the Bangsamoro Transition Period released by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) in October 2020 created a flurry of heated discussions on social media on the report’s top recommendation to extend the period of transition for another three years.
Some fear that the issue has become divisive especially among Bangsamoro peace advocates. It is therefore important to carve a space where, instead of having a “zero-sum” debate between those who are for or against the extension, both sides reframe the discussion to focus on the purpose of the extension and for whom it is for.
Broadening the discourse can help address the different concerns of those who have a common interest and concern for the success of the Bangsamoro peace process and bring into the discourse other voices that need to be heard.
It is also equally important to establish a clear set of parameters to follow during the extension that will ensure that the targets will be met whilst protecting the interests of the Bangsamoro people.
Louie Montalbo is a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of INCITEGov, a policy research and advocacy center in the Philippines. He was also a former Undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. This think piece was produced with inputs from INCITEGov members Teresita Quintos Deles, Edilberto de Jesus, Yasmin Busman-Lao, Mario Aguja and Howard Cafugauan.
EveryWoman, a coalition of women’s organizations and formations (currently numberingeleven), combined with individual women affiliates and backed up by a FaceBook Page (with more than 100,000 followers), was formally organized in August, 2017, for the purpose of defending democracy and upholding women’s rights and dignity at a time when these are under severe attack not only in the Philippines but globally. We had come together, cutting across diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, professional, ideological, and generational backgrounds, to propel organized pushback against the further erosion of civic (also civil) space and of the status and rights that Filipino women have fought hard to attain and have won over the years. As such, our actions in the past years have tended towards the loud and dramatic – in the streets, in public fora, in stinging public statements, often joining our voice with those of our allied Hubs in Tindig Pilipinas. A book had no space in our crowded blueprint for 2020.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. As with everyone else, EveryWoman’s world was turned upside down. Needing to get back our bearings – personally, organizationally, politically – we started discussions to try to understand the situation better, including the nature of this global health crisis, how it was affecting different aspects of our national life, how it was especially reshaping women’s lives on the ground, how government was responding (or not), the role of the private sector and other institutions, the plight of ordinary citizens. We probed our own areas of work and engagement. We invited friends and colleagues where we needed help. We saw it to be our responsibility to continue to surface and strengthen women’s perspectives and agency in these difficult and extraordinary times. And, thus, this book was born, emerging from every woman talking to each other and claiming our space to speak up and be heard, intent to make a difference – especially since we saw no women at the frontlines of the national task force set up by the President to respond to the crisis.
In 2018, the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) and the De La Salle University – Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance (DLSU–JRIG), both members of the Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN), came up with two reports that examined the case of populism in the Philippines. INCITEGov focused on civil society’s responses to President Duterte’s populist leadership, while JRIG on the utilization of social media for populist agenda. The two papers are part of ADRN’s State of Democracy in Asia (SODA) Report.
The findings of the two reports were presented and validated during the National Consultation on Populism in the Philippines, a multi-sectoral forum organized by INCITEGov and JRIG on Sept. 13, 2018. This publication contains the proceedings of that forum and is divided into three sessions: 1) Understanding Populism in the Philippines; 2) Populism and Social Media; and 3) Populism and Civil Society. The first session explores the concept of populism using the economic and gender lenses, and from the perspective of the populist public. JRIG and INCITEGov’s reports were presented in the second and third sessions, respectively, each followed by further insights from a panel of reactors and an open forum.
The national consultation was attended by participants from all over the Philippines, including members of the academe, civil society, international non-government organizations, donor agencies, think tanks, government, legislators, and the media.
This study by INCITEGov on populism aims to look at Philippine society today and civil society’s engagement with government. It engaged the sectors to voice out their opinions and widen the discourse on leadership and governance. It asks the difficult questions and explores answers which can shed light on why unity seems like a daunting task for civil society today. It looks back, tracing the history of civil society engagement with the government and the private sector, identifying the divergent perspectives of CSOs and people’s organizations on democratic leadership and governance.
Sometimes, there are cases, when the old ways are the best.
Today, women all over the Philippines face new threats. It’s true that these threats are driven by the same old forces of patriarchy, misogyny, and authoritarianism—but it’s also true that these forces have never reared their heads with as much impunity, as much brazenness, and to as much public applause as they now do in our country.
Thus, Revisiting Marawi: A Closer Look at the Costs of the Marawi Siege aimed to collate the existing expressions of losses by the Marawi siege survivors, provide a space for Marawi residents to themselves document and deepen the discussion on these losses, and disseminate and widely circulate these expressions to a bigger audience by taking it beyond the Marawi residents to those who would traditionally and institutionally learn about them.
It is with these threats in mind that the International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) conceived Kwentong Kabaro. It envisioned a continuing series of monthly conversations focused on women’s issues and the stories of women’s milestone moments. Kwentong Kabaro gathers and offers behind-the-scenes views of these milestones not because it seeks to relive old victories in the face of new threats, but because it hopes to serve as a reminder of what gains women have made, how difficult the fight for these gains has been, and how the fight must now continue in order to defend these hard-earned gains. This publication tells the story of Kwentong Kabaro’s first ten conversations, held fromMarch to December 2019, which covered an array of issues as wide-ranging as they are timely and relevant for Filipino women: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; gender and populism; the women’s vote; the feminism of our late—and sorely missed—kabaro Karina David; the West Philippine Sea; the women’s legislative agenda; life and leadership in the Bangsamoro; the continuing fight for women’s reproductive rights; and the effects of the government’s Oplan Tokhang on women. All these culminated in a conversation in December, which provided an opportunity to look back on the past at the conversations of the previous months, as well as to look ahead to the future and the next steps the community must take.
Kwentong Kabaro draws from a uniquely feminist way of conversing that is both intensely personal and unabashedly political. It emphasizes the importance of kwentuhan—the power of telling and hearing stories. It brings together women who see themselves as kabaro, as advocates cut from the same cloth of resistance and unwavering insistence on the dignity and rights of women, so they can tell how they fought the darkness of their own times, and hopefully, point the way forward as we seek to fight this new darkness we are in.
It offers timeless lessons for the changing times confronting the women’s movement, and uncovers the foundations of age-old resistance to help inform the new and innovative ways of fighting back that are now being discovered by both the young feminists entering an established movement, and by seasoned veterans facing a world markedly different from the one they fought in.
Because Kwentong Kabaro is more than a retrospective. It is more than a compilation of the Philippine women’s movement’s greatest hits. Its methodology is, in more ways than one, a return to the fundamentals of feminism, to the basics of sisterhood—of shaping identity, forging connections, and seeing where the world is and where else it could be in the simple yet supremely empowering act of telling and listening to stories.
After all, sharing stories that illuminate the different angles of gender, stories that help women understand the various constructs that they deal with in their daily lives, have played such a large part in the birth and growth of the women’s movement in the Philippines. And in the new darkness of our times, perhaps it is these old ways that would serve us best again as we look for new ways of resistance. As new threats loom, perhaps the tried-and tested ways of the movement—more ethos than method, more spirit than system—are precisely what we need to make sense of our milieu and change it for the betterment of women. Because in the telling and the listening, we might yet ignite the fight again. In the telling and the listening, we might yet find the light once more.
26 June 2018
Discovery Suites, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
It has been a year since a band of armed individuals inspired by and aligned with the international terror group Daesh attempted to take over the Islamic City of Marawi. The ensuing clash with government forces led to multiple deaths and injuries, massive infrastructure destruction, loss of properties and livelihood, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of its residents, among others. It likewise triggered the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus not only in Marawi, but in the entire Mindanao. The full extent of losses, both physical and intangible, especially those experienced by the displaced residents, escapes comprehensive ascertainment a year after the siege—and even seven months after the “liberation” of the city.
Rodrigo Duterte capitalized on issues that resounded with the ordinary Filipino in order to win public support during the 2016 presidential election. In the face of his continued popularity with the general public, civil society groups assessed and found his performance in the context of their sectoral concerns lacking. President Duterte was also found culpable for misogyny, violation of human rights, disregard for the due process of law, and creeping authoritarianism. Civil society is now challenged to unify and reinvent itself as a response to the populist leadership of Duterte and the current critical challenges and threats to democracy today.
This paper establishes the criticality of Filipino women's political participation in shaping the enabling environment for gender equality in the country and more generally in strengthening democracy.
Women's political participation, as explored in this paper, will look at the participation of women in the body politic as decision and policy makers, and as citizens.
Key legislation and policies, systems and mechanisms, as well as plans and programs on women and gender equality will be presented as milestones of women's advocacy. Challenges in sustaining these milestones amidst the current political and social backdrop will be raised to serve as guideposts for future interventions.
Visit Asia Democracy Research Network’s (ADRN) website to read the papers from the other countries.
Women are aghast, especially those who have been in the forefront of fighting for women’s empowerment. Through the years, even within the Martial Law period, women’s groups have fought hard, internationally and locally, to provide incremental wins for gender equality and women’s empowerment. For sure, the track of the women’s movement is to advance in effective implementation of progressive laws and policies, addressing sectoral concerns and issues. There was no scenario for a reversal or, worse, decimation of what has been won through decades of collective hard work. Yet, here we are. Again, we ask: how did this dire situation come to be?
The writings in this monograph present: a) the scenario faced by women leaders in the hands of a populist president who targets strong women, his most critical oppositionists, who stand up to him and his authoritarianism; and b) an analysis of his brand of populism and his misogyny. These writings aim to contribute to the discourse, not only to understand but, more importantly, to start shaping the different tracks that we need to take to heal the country and to regain the victories for equality that women have long worked for.
September 2020 (Policy Brief)
In this brief, policies are proposed that will hopefully enhance the strategies and programs for food & nutrition security and agriculture recovery vis-avis the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The recommendations focus on the family farmers, fishers, and agro-foresters, who are the backbone of the country’s food supply. These producers are the most marginalized
sector of the economy and are at the lowest survival income level, with high financial debts, and with very little or no social protection.
While primarily addressed to national government, through the Department of Agriculture and related financing institutions, and local governments, the policy proposals and program strategies may also be adopted by private business and civil society organizations, for their advocacies and partnerships with national and local governments. .
We used to say from experience that it is easier to topple a dictatorship than rebuild democracy. But recently the mood has changed. We find ourselves staring into dark, dark days that show no promise of ending soon. We find ourselves grappling with an authoritarian brand of populism that has eroded our democratic institutions in ways we have not seen before, in ways even more insidious than those of the Marcoses in their more than twenty years in power. We find ourselves enraged by a misogynist brand of populism that has run even deeper than the reversal of hard-won gains in gender policy work, straight into our language, relationships, and day-to-day existence.
The so-called "War on Drugs" and its impact on women underline how the fragility of our democracy involves more than our flawed and imperfect institutions and political processes. The values that animated our democracy have not settled firmly in our society and we have abandoned them so quickly in favor of the alluring but haphazard promises of an authoritarian populist.
This book leans on the force of the women’s stories to help us find our sense of compassion, sympathy, and solidarity; to bring us to a re-examination of our sense of right and wrong; to force us into a conversation about the meaning of fair play and justice, and our moral duty to protect each other’s fundamental rights; to help us see the impact of misogyny as deadly, demoralizing, dehumanizing; to help us to realize the impact of our own individual choices, whether we choose to act as advocates, enablers, or bystanders; to awaken in us a desire for democracy; and to remind us that for our collective actions or the lack of them, the poor and marginalized have paid dearly with their lives, their dignity, and their children’s future.
Published by PILIPINA, INC. (ANG KILUSAN NG KABABAIHANG PILIPINO), with support from INCITEGov
This is a story of grassroots women who engaged government institutions — the Executive and Legislative branches — to pursue their dream of lifting themselves out of poverty. They have experienced the positive changes in their lives, the improving health of their families and the continued schooling of their children under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, and they wanted to make sure it would last. They came together and spoke with one voice and moved as one. Every action they took affirmed the power of a united and organized movement.
This is a story of a bureaucracy that systematically listened to its partner beneficiaries and designed a program guided by data, with faces and systems that are owned by the partner beneficiaries. This was a global program indigenized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development led by then Secretary Esperanza Cabral and the late Undersecretary Lualhati Pablo, and carried over by subsequent leaders of the DSWD. The social development workers — social workers and community development practitioners — developed the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) based on the articulated needs of the poor families; they were guided by the principles of empowerment of the partner beneficiaries that would bring them to self-sufficiency levels of well-being.
From Civil Society to Government
Development NGO workers and social activists have very rich experiences that can help many young people consider joining the movement for positive change and transformation. Most of the pioneers and leaders have blazed trails that have led to innovative and far-reaching programs on poverty reduction and people empowerment. In the last ten years, a significant number of civil society leaders have also taken the challenge of joining government to pursue the reforms that they have been advocating or prototyping for a long time. The civil society members crossing over to civil service have largely been continuing the oral tradition of development NGOs; rarely do they write or document their experiences.
This book is an attempt to document the experiences of eight men and women who took the plunge to crossover to government work. A brainchild of the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov), a non-stock, non-profit organization committed to bring systemic change in Philippine governance as well in the region, this publication documents the crossover experiences of eight civil society personalities. It seeks to draw out lessons learned from these crossover experiences, which will hopefully guide other civil society leaders who will enter, whether deliberately or by chance, into the government bureaucracy.
Further down the road, this publication also hopes to provide the basis for developing an executive course that will equip future civil society leaders crossing over into government with the necessary skills, information, and attitude that will enhance their effectiveness as public servants. Moreover, the learnings culled from these documented experiences may provide a starting point for a capability-building program designed to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to engage constructively with government bureaucracies headed by former civil society leaders.
Publication supported by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug). To access a copy of the book, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Policy Paper
The INCITEGov study entitled "Towards Strengthening the Fiscal Capabilities of ARMM" is the first of its kind in the country. It is a groundbreaking work that will hopefully establish the foundations of fiscal autonomy for ARMM and will serve as a primary reference on the actual flow of government funds for ARMM. This study would not have been possible without the continuous support of the Local Governance Support Program in ARMM (LGSPA) funded by CIDA, which has been in the region since 1991. In keeping with LGSPA's continuing efforts of improving governance in ARMM, the study explores ARMM's fiscal or budgetary situation, an often identified waterloo in good governance. Without a clear picture of the fiscal situation of ARMM, we cannot even begin to design a program to promote good governance. A common economic truism is that incentives matter just as much as, if not more than, sanctions or penalties. By tracing fund flows, hopefully incentives can be put in place for good governance in ARMM.
To access a copy of this policy brief, please send an email to email@example.com.