Transparency; honest, consultative and participative government; equal and strict implementation of anticorruption laws in all levels of government; social auditing; covenants signed with various groups; equitable distribution of goods and services; federalism; creation of an accountability commission; and regular publication of government programs and performance output of all government agencies.

These were just some of the suggestions, comments and issues raised by various groups and individuals who participated in the first-ever People’s Consultation conducted to help the incoming Aquino administration’s planning team come up with concrete programs and action plans for implementation during its first 100 days.

More than 100 participants from various Church-based groups, civil- society organizations and nongovernment organizations, including students, actively shared their ideas, suggestions and concerns during the People’s Consultation, organized by the People Power Volunteer Center, now headed by former Social Welfare secretary Dinky Soliman with the help of the Xavier University Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana, the social-involvement program of the Jesuit-run university.

The consultation, held at the XU Center for Industrial Technology (XU-CIT) on Wednesday last week, included those who actively campaigned for Aquino and those who aspire for change.

“This consultation is participated in by all those who want to be the next government’s watchdog and, at the same time, those who want to be its helper in making reforms,” Geo-Ann Hernandez, a staff of the People Power Volunteer Center, said in Filipino.

Hernandez said the Aquino government is putting a premium on the people’s inputs because President-apparent Sen. Simeon Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III would like to fulfill his social contract with the Filipinos.

She said the team planning the programs for implementation by the Aquino administration only has one goal in mind: to make sure that Aquino’s social contract with the people will be implemented and fulfilled with the help of the people.

At the same time, the peoplealso has an obligation and responsibility to the incoming administration to be its conscience, watchdog, helper and support.

“From this consultation, we will know what the administration should do in answer to our problems,” she said.

The result of all the People’s Consultation will be integrated into all the programs now being crafted by a team of the incoming administration specifically designed to achieve the people’s aspirations and dreams of change.

“These will be used as inputs into the possible programs that can help achieve the desired changes,” Hernandez said.

The consultation will also serve to convey the message to the incoming President: “You have been elected; now we are here to watch and help.”

“The battle did not end with his election; it has only started,” she said. “The battle is not yet over, and we will be with him every step of the way toward the change we want this new government will pursue,” she added.

Several participants said that holding the People’s Consultation is a very good start for the Aquino administration, because it conveys the message that Aquino is really giving importance to the inputs of the common people in drafting his program of government during his six-year term as president.

“This is a very good start for his administration,” said one participant from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, who requested not to be named.

Another participant said  the People’s Consultation only show that Aquino “is grounded, meaning that he knows his success or failure as president all depends on the active participation of the people or the lack of it.”

In Photo: Geo-Ann Hernandez, a staff of the People Power Volunteer Center, explains the purpose and objectives of the People’s Consultation held on May 26 at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. (Bong D. Fabe)

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