October 20, Quezon City - INCITEGov used to convene “membership conversations” during its formative years as a way to have insightful deliberation and exchanges about the challenges affecting democracy, social justice, and development. At that time, the members and founders of INCITEGov felt that the nation was at a crossroad because of the closures that it has not been able to have – and which it needed -- in order to move forward. It was during these membership conversations that the P-G-D framework was evolved, with much inspiration and articulation from the late Mario Taguiwalo whose presence at this time is sorely missed.
The country is again beleaguered by the same old problems and obstacles manifesting in new, perplexing, more malignant ways. In the search for solutions and answers, it is also necessary to know: have we been asking the right questions?
Butch Abad, former Secretary of DBM and a founding member of INCITEGov, led the discussions in today's "Reflections on Governance and Participatory Reforms and Challenges for 2019 and 2022." This forum, convened by INCITEGov in partnership with PASCRES, was attended by close to fifty representatives and leaders from the basic sectors, academe, think tanks, and NGOs.
The group collectively realized that, In the midst political exclusion that is about to reach even greater heights in the coming elections, and in the midst of growing hunger and terror in many communities, civil society will have to bravely and deliberately reach out to people and get them to be actively involved in the crafting of their lives and their future.
The very fundamental task is how to broaden an active constituency and establish a society able to embrace shared values based on trust. This is the way to transform the current state of democracy that is based on form instead of substance.
It has also been noted that the institutions that professionally attend to the requirements of democracy are not there. And the reality that the country enters a political season every three years gives advocates a very short window of time to strengthen movements that will change politics. Governance needs to be deliberately made into a political project, and politics had to be understood by the public in a different light. On this note, the following quote by Vaclav was read:
When a man has his heart in the right place and good taste, he can not only do well in politics but is even predetermined for it. If someone is modest and does not yearn for power, he is certainly not ill-equipped to engage in politics; on the contrary, he belongs there. - Vaclav Havel, 1991
Unless this is realized, the country’s democracy will have to suffer through reversals. Still, as has been seen time and again, the Filipinos in time manage to rise above their situation and do the right thing in a way the world never imagined they could. #