Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
The Republic of the Philippines has one of the longest running internal conflicts in Asia. This has caused numerous deaths, violence and worsened the social and economic conditions of affected communities, especially those in far-flung areas. For more than 50 years, attaining just and lasting peace remains an elusive dream as internal conflict remains to be a challenge in the country. Past administrations treated the internal conflict primarily as a security concern requiring military solutions. This approach did not work out and instead, exacerbated the problem, hence social injustices such as displacement and loss of lives continued.
Recognizing that the internal conflict is part of a broader social, economic, and political problem, the current administration thought of adopting an approach that is both peace and developmental in nature and where all national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs) and even the private sector work to change the landscape in ending internal conflict. The issuance of Executive Order (EO) 70 thus introduced a more holistic and proactive solution and institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
In support of this directive of the President, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) initiated the implementation of the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) which is an inclusive program that aims to address the collective issues identified by the community themselves through the provision of government programs and services while ensuring sustainable development and promoting peace in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) that were influenced by groups with agenda counter-productive to peace. Through it, LGUs are at the forefront of bringing the government closer to the people by developing their capability to organize themselves, catalyzing their own development, and carrying out value-chain interventions to uplift the current condition in their communities.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
Aligned with Category 2, RCSP fosters innovation to deliver inclusive and equitable services by reaching out to far-flung barangays or villages that have been left out of development initiatives due to internal conflict. Its whole-of-nation approach enables barangay beneficiaries to engage in meaningful dialogues with all sectors in their communities to determine their priority needs and provide much needed development interventions. LGUs, NGAs, private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs), media and other stakeholders are also actively participating in the process. Such convergence thus allows the people to realize that the government is an ally towards attaining peace and sustainable development.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
Through RCSP, people gain an equitable opportunity to tell the government what they need. In turn, the government along with other stakeholders, heed and provide funds for need-based programs and services geared towards addressing inequality and empowering communities.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Since this is a peace and development endeavour, RCSP provides an avenue for national and local governments to work together with the communities. Thus, development interventions and services provided by the government are more responsive as these address the needed support that the people themselves have collectively identified, especially in accessing free socio economic services as well as, on addressing cases of violence and other forms of criminality and injustices.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
With RCSP, all government institutions at the national and local levels, including all development bodies are strengthened and mobilized in promoting and sustaining peace and development efforts. CSOs and even ordinary citizens are also empowered to become active partners in identifying, prioritizing and harmonizing delivery of socio-economic services. Through RCSP’s empowerment framework, the citizens are more aware of their roles in bringing about positive change in their communities.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
Part of RCSP’s agenda is to develop their enhanced Barangay Development Plans (eBDPs) which serve as the “blueprint” of the barangays in addressing the needs of all sectors of society, thus will sustain the peacebuilding and development agenda down to the grassroots level. In the RCSP process, citizens are co-creators in crafting plans and identifying need-based projects and are co-owners in ensuring the sustainability of identified interventions. Further, the substantial increase in the shares of LGUs from the national taxes per Executive Order 138 empowers LGUs in providing basic services and facilities to their constituents.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
For more than 5 decades, communities that are penetrated by groups who oppose peace have suffered from poverty, violence and widespread suffering. Even the national and local governments are heavily challenged to deliver the much needed services to these barangays because of the threat to peace and order.
With RCSP focusing on these affected barangays, the communities are now experiencing the peace, security and development that they have long sought. Through the whole-of-nation approach and collaborative efforts of the government, themselves and other stakeholders, the problems of these communities are now provided with responsive solutions.
Among the barangay beneficiaries of RCSP is Babalag East, Rizal, Kalinga. Prior to RCSP implementation in said barangay, the mobility of farmers and residents in the area was limited due to the presence of groups who are counter-productive to peace. Now that these barangays have been declared cleared, the residents can freely move without fear of violence or harassment from these groups. Farmers can now deliver their products to the market resulting in an increase in their income and livelihood. With RCSP, the government, along with other partners are now also able to provide the needed services to these barangays.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
RCSP recognizes that women and girls are considered as among the most vulnerable sectors that have become victims of atrocities. As such, the RCSP promotes the active participation of women in identifying gender-sensitive projects and other government programs and interventions they need. As equal partners of men, women are also encouraged to contribute in resolving the decades-old primary and secondary issues in their areas. The program likewise ensures that through the LGUs, all members of the communities regardless of gender, civil status, disability, ethnicity and religion will receive equal opportunities and interventions from the different national government agencies.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The RCSP refocused government strategy to the rural folks, youth, and indigenous cultural communities living in conflict-affected barangays located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS). They have long-suffered from the threat and presence of internal conflict which has resulted in underdevelopment and stagnated economic growth. Communities were deprived of having access to basic services and social packages.
Through RCSP, these services were brought to these communities with the help of NGAs, LGUs, CSOs and even the private sector.
Known as Serbisyo Caravan, this RCSP activity is where social packages and basic services are delivered to communities where they are able to immediately gain access to various government services. The caravans also serve as platforms for residents to raise their concerns, aspirations, and needed government interventions which include acquisition of civil registry records, land titles, agricultural supplies, road and school building construction, water supply and sanitation system, among others.
Through the RCSP, citizen participation increased in these areas, government agencies no longer work in silos, and government services not only serve as landmark projects for the residents, but also help in improving their living conditions and assure them that the government has their best interests and welfare in mind.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
RCSP has one precursory and five major phases:
Phase-0 The Pre-planning stage is primarily divided into national and local level pre-planning. The national level pre-planning is focused on the development of profiles and identification of target barangays based on a rigid prioritization criterion through the combined efforts of the Regional Development Councils, Regional Peace and Order Councils, national government agencies, and National Task Force to address the internal conflict.
Phase 1 (Shape) is the formal organization of the LGU-wide RCSP Team and conduct of orientation on the process and roles of each unit and/or member. RCSP Teams shall be created at the provincial, city, and municipal level to spearhead the operationalization of the RCSP.
Phase 2 (Access) is geared towards empowering the community to explore available platforms of citizen participation and open solution-seeking tables designed to identify governance and development gaps and needed government interventions to address them.
Phase 3 (Transform) focuses on the integration of identified issues into the Barangay Development Plans and securing of funding commitment from possible sources of funds at the barangay, municipal, city, provincial, and national levels depending on the amount of resources needed.
Phase 4 (Sustain) focuses on deepening peace and development efforts at the community level. Efforts include engagement with community members and groups through extensive information drives, community mobilization, creation of security structures within the barangay, conduct of regular dialogues on various development concerns, and monitoring of security concerns.
Phase 5 (Monitor) focuses on the sustainability of efforts including monitoring of long-term projects like infrastructure. Once deemed completed and sustainable, formal turnover and conclusion rites shall be conducted in the target barangay to pave the way for community ownership.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
Considering that RCSP barangays were former strongholds or threatened by groups who are against peace, security has always been their concern. Reaching these areas has also been difficult due to lack of accessible roads and internal conflict where there are incidences of killings and other forms of violence and conflicts.
With the whole-of-nation approach, all government agencies and partners work together to go to these hard to reach areas to provide the much-needed services identified by the people, with the military and police providing security. LGUs were also capacitated to champion and take the lead in the convergence efforts.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
RCSP is viewed as a vehicle for peace and development and is anchored on the eight pillars of positive change, namely: (1) well-functioning government; (2) sound business environment; (3) equitable distribution of resources; (4) acceptance of the rights of others; (5) free-flowing and sharing information; (6) high level of human capital; (7) low level of corruption; and (8) good and harmonious relationship with neighbors. It employs the bottom-up approach with communities identifying and deciding on their needed government services. It also adopts a convergence of government efforts which is different from the usual military approach in addressing internal conflict.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
As DILG’s contribution to localizing EO 70, RCSP is inspired by the Colombian experience of winding down the 50-year internal conflict by addressing the root causes of conflict through transnational justice. It banks on the best practices and convergence principle of bottom-up approach to development planning as RCSP teams are organized from national to barangay levels to ensure horizontal and vertical alignment of development interventions and packages for target barangays. Thus, government sectors, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders that used to work in silos are now working in a whole-of-nation approach to attain sustainable peace and development.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
To have a wider reach and actively engage various stakeholders in RCSP implementation, activities were livestreamed and shared on the official DILG Facebook page. Radio and television platforms, as well as, other social media pages were also used to keep the target audience in affected barangays abreast and well informed of the various programs, projects and activities of the government and spread the message of peace to the people. Knowledge products were likewise uploaded in the website of DILG central and regional offices as sources of information on the program.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
The RCSP has been replicated in other barangays not included in the initial list of conflict-affected areas through the initiation of other concerned stakeholders such as the LGU and the AFP.
For instance, in Region VIII, six barangays have replicated the concept of Serbisyo Caravan as one of the precursory components under the RCSP. During the said activity, the LGU along with the NGAs and other stakeholders converge to provide the much-needed services of the community.
To ensure the replicability and adaptation of this program to other communities, the national government has also launched the Barangay Development Program (BDP) that aids the construction and implementation of the identified priority programs and projects.
Lastly, the RCSP has paved the way for the other Local Government Units to give importance to the participatory planning process from the ground. By listening to the voice of the people, the government is assured that all programs and projects are implemented based on the actual needs of the constituents.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
With the quest for sustainable and lasting peace gaining an upper hand, the best practices and lessons in the initial 822 barangays covered by the RCSP in 2021 have great potential for replicability to the 1,406 more internal conflict-cleared barangays for RCSP implementation in 2022.
Through the proposed RCSP expansion, more and more internal conflict-cleared barangays that were given the green light by the AFP and PNP will also have their chance to converge, be empowered, develop their capability to organize themselves, and own development by bringing about value-chain interventions to uplift their current condition.
RCSP will serve as the catalyst of positive change that will fill in the gaps in development and address the limitations set forth in a military recourse. It will serve as an avenue for community-centered and civilian-based leadership at the forefront of realizing the objective of the whole-of-nation approach of EO70 so that more and more GIDA barangays will also be able to experience their long-desired progress and development.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
For the first time, a whole-of-nation approach was adopted to implement this peacebuilding initiative. From the national to the local level, all government agencies including the private sectors, CSOs, academe and media were utilized. The RCSP is being primarily financed by the LGUs with support from the NGAs that are providing various interventions. Since 2019, the DILG central and regional offices are also funding the mobilization and other operational expenses of the program. A dedicated Program Management Office (PMO) was also created in the DILG central office to oversee the overall implementation of the program.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
As a convergence mechanism, LGUs and all other stakeholders work together to ensure that barangays are well-capacitated and supported for the identification of their primary issues and concerns as well as the needed government interventions. Using the combined bottom-up, whole-of-government, and whole-of-nation approaches, citizen participation and collaboration at all levels of government are established, and institutional mechanisms are strengthened so that the initiative is sustained regardless of any changes in the political structure or administration.
Eventually, the barangays are expected to continue any initiated programs and projects and ensure that lasting peace and development is established in the barangay.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
The Program’s PMO in the DILG central office and its regional offices handle the internal evaluation of RCSP using an online monitoring tool which indicates the number of barangays per region and status of accomplishment per phase of RCSP implementation.
At the DILG Regional Offices, local chief executives, RCSP focal persons, DILG field officers, and punong barangays (village chiefs) answer assessment forms to determine the impact of the program in the communities.
Regular consultation meetings with the PMO and RCSP field officers are likewise being conducted to determine the issues and challenges being experienced in the program implementation.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
RCSP implementation is evaluated using both physical and financial metrics. Physical accomplishment is measured based on specific milestones per phase in covered regions. The status of capability development activities completed in barangay beneficiaries under each RCSP phase is also determined. The number of barangays that have completed the phases are also recorded to determine LGU compliance in the RCSP.
Meanwhile, financial accomplishment is based on fund utilization, in compliance with existing auditing rules and regulations. Monitoring and reporting from the ground to the PMO are regularly done and it reports to the DILG Secretary on a quarterly basis.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
Program evaluation shows that beneficiary LGUs have successfully completed Phase 0 to Phase 3 of the RCSP program implementation. However, due to the severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of LGUs who have completed the various activities in Phase 4 and 5 were also affected.
Since almost all RCSP activities require face-to-face interactions and gathering, implementers and beneficiaries had to find ways in order to continue the program to ensure the health and safety of the DILG field officers, program implementers, and beneficiaries. Even virtual consultations are sometimes difficult to pursue due to lack of stable internet connection and equipment in these far-flung areas.
As a response, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-095 entitled Remedial Measures on the Localization of EO70 and all DILG Peacebuilding Initiatives. The MC recognized that the unprecedented and drastic changes in the condition of local government units and communities call for the revisiting and realigning of all existing guidelines for the implementation of the different RCSP program, projects, and activities. LGUs and other stakeholders were encouraged to be innovative and strictly follow health protocols to ensure the continuity of the program.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
When the whole-of-government, whole-of-nation approach was adopted through EO 70, internal conflict became more than just a security concern but a social development issue. National government agencies and local government units now realize that the game-changer to address the internal conflict is to address its root causes: lack of access to basic services and social packages.
For RCSP implementation, the DILG partnered with different national government agencies such as the AFP, PNP, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and National Commission of Indigenous People, and other national line agencies for the delivery of basic services and opportunities to the chosen barangays.
With a PMO established at the DILG Central office for the program and through the engagement of DILG Regional Offices, regional counterparts of NGAs and LGUs, various government programs and initiatives are brought to the communities. By bringing the government closer to the people, the most vulnerable groups of the society can understand and appreciate that the government has not forsaken them.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
Part of RCSP’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is stakeholder partnership for the unified quest of achieving sustainable and lasting peace. It is designed as a means for active people participation where communities can organize themselves and own development by bringing about value-chain interventions to uplift their current condition.
Meanwhile, the local chief executives are designated as peace champions in their communities being the head of their RCSP Teams composed of different government agencies. This partnership approach reunifies all affected sectors in the barangays and the government, converges all stakeholders, and synergizes national and local peace efforts for peace towards inclusive growth and development.
To ensure that development and sustainability are achieved, the RCSP Teams facilitate the program implementation as well at the local level, conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of completed government interventions, and facilitate summing-up sessions at the end of every phase. This is to ensure that the expectations from the community are met and managed while safeguarding the horizontal and vertical alignment of RCSP efforts on the ground with the local and national peace and development agenda.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Since the approach of the RCSP is the adoption of a whole-of-nation approach, the program recognizes that internal conflict is more than a security issue. The radicalization of residents against the government continues to be a relevant threat. Upon clearing the barangays, the next step is not to further militarize these communities but to reintroduce the role of government through the delivery of services and ensuring peace and development through collaboration.
Through the RCSP’s initiative to ensure citizen participation, transparency and accountability among national and local stakeholders were likewise enhanced thus allowing governance to become more inclusive.
The RCSP has been successful in achieving these goals. The program became a manifestation that good local governance can be attained through collaboration, inclusivity, and responsiveness.
With this, the concept of RCSP along with the good practices of implementing barangays shall be replicated to other areas, including those that are not influenced by groups who are counter-productive to peace. To ensure that the gains of the program are sustained despite changes in the administration, it is the goal of the present administration to ascertain that identified interventions are integrated in the long-term development plans of the government at all levels.