Government Watch or G-Watch, a social accountability action-research program of ASoG, was launched in 2000 as a reaction to numerous reports of corruption and inefficiencies in the administration of then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. To complement perception surveys, G-Watch deployed fresh college graduates as G-Watch monitors to visit government project sites and collect documents to be used to assess actual government performance in service delivery.
G-Watch provides tools and methods for ordinary citizens’ participation in the monitoring of government service delivery programs. The tools and methods answer the question that any ordinary citizen wants to ask: Is government delivering what it has promised? Basically, these tools and methods compare input against output, plan against accomplishment, and expectation against actual result.
The comparison takes into account variables such as time (was the project finished on schedule?), cost (did the project exceed the budget?), quantity (did the beneficiaries receive what was allocated for them?), quality (were the goods produced in accordance with the agreed specifications?) and procedures (were documentation requirements properly accomplished?).
Since 2000, G-Watch has specialized in the application of the social accountability approach in expenditure tracking and in monitoring government agencies’ program implementation. It has developed and tested monitoring tools in four agencies, namely the DepEd, DPWH, DOH, and DSWD. It is also developing a G-Watch monitoring tool for the monitoring of the budget process of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
G-Watch Office is located at Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University.
ANTONIO G.M. LA VIÑA
Dean, Ateneo School of Government
JOY G. ACERON
Project and Finance Officer
PHILLIP DON RECENTES
RAFAELA MAE DAVID
MA. TERESA BRIONES
MARIANNE DELA CUEVA
While the usual anti-corruption initiatives would consist of expose, shame campaign against erring officials, and corruption perception survey, G-Watch chose a proactive preventive approach. It considers the correct delivery of services to the intended beneficiaries as the most important indicator that corruption has been contained. For developing countries like the Philippines, such link between anti-corruption work and development is crucial.
Now, the G-Watch approach is unique because it could bring about concrete results respected by both the government agencies being monitored and the citizen monitors themselves. It is anchored on the trust and confidence of both sectors that things could be accomplished. By being collaborative and inclusive, it puts anti-corruption work in the productive and optimistic mode. On the part of the government, it removes the notion that civil society is simply out to highlight social problems and make demands or go into fault-finding and head-hunting over controversies; and replaces it with the notion that citizens can share the responsibility of making program implementation more effective. On the part of the citizens, it opens up another avenue for civic engagement where the government’s vulnerability serves as opportunity for citizens to become part of the solution that will bring the institutions back to their normal functioning.
With respect to government agencies, G-Watch always enters into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to conduct the monitoring. The MOA ensures the government’s cooperation, especially in terms of the citizens’ access to all vital documents and information. It likewise ensures that the government officials will receive and act on the monitoring recommendations.
With respect to citizen groups and communities, G-Watch provides guide for monitoring and relevant information, briefing-orientations and planning-workshops to organize the monitoring initiative, and evaluation sessions after the conduct of the monitoring to generate learnings from the exercise.
Key Operational Partnerships
G-Watch has established partnership with the following government agencies: Department of Education (DepED), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Government Procurement Policy Board, and the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).
Among its major civil society partners in the monitoring include the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, National Citizens’ Movement for Free Election, Parents-Teachers-Community Associations, Transparency and Accountability Network, and Coalition Against Corruption.