On June 27, the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting held its first transparency and anti-corruption reporting training in Catbalogan City. A total of 20 people, representing the media, government agencies and civil society organizations, took part in the trainings, which focused on using reporting to demand fiscal transparency in local governments.
The workshop covered anti-corruption laws and strategies and presented tools and techniques to investigate and report corruption. Christine Casurao, a public information officer with the Samar provincial government and a member of the Alliance of Concerned Employees of Samar, said that the training has provided relevant information. “I will apply [the knowledge] in watching for government transactions and [in] checking if they are violating these anti-corruption laws,” she said.
During her presentation, Rowena Paraan, director of the Education and Training Commission of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, said journalists, civil society representatives and ordinary citizens have a role in promoting and demanding good governance and transparency in government. She discussed tools and techniques—including life-style checks—that help citizens keep a close eye on government officials. She said, “Corruption is so pervasive now; everybody is always expecting to be paid for everything we do. Setting correct values is key, that is why the role of the youth is also important.”
Gina Ragudo, a Samarnews.com and Samar Media Productions reporter, said the training was very interesting, stating that she specifically enjoyed learning about “investigating corruption cases and [about] the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
At the end of the training, participants completed short quizzes and submitted story proposals for community advocacy and investigative journalism. In the coming months, the project will support the joint initiatives of local media, civil society and citizens to monitor and report transparency issues surrounding budgeting, procurement, project development and assessment, and government transactions.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative and the U.S. Agency for International Development support the PPTRP, which aims to enhance public sector transparency by increasing related public awareness and empowering journalists, civil society and ordinary citizens to monitor and report public corruption.
To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.