THE Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s proposal for an interactive, crowd-sourcing and database-aggregation site that would look into the situation of the five poorest provinces in the Philippines is a finalist in this year’s edition of Panibagong Paraan.

The Philippine Development Innovation Marketplace competition held every two years since 2004 opened its two-day exhibit today at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, featuring the project proposals of the PCIJ and 97 other finalists. Funding grants of up to P1 million will be awarded to 30 winning new and innovative ideas anchored on the theme “Building Partnerships for Effective Local Governance.” Winners will be announced tomorrow at 6 p.m.


Dubbed “Suriin Ang Kahirapan: A Community Audit of Poverty in the Philippines,” the PCIJ project aims to monitor the implementation of programs in the five poorest provinces in the Philippines, from the points of view of various civil society, public sector and community stakeholders in economic development.

As of 2003, the five poorest provinces are Zamboanga del Norte (which posted the highest poverty incidence at 64.6 percent), Maguindanao (60.4 percent), Masbate (55.9 percent), Surigao del Norte (54.5 percent), and Agusan del Sur (52.8 percent). (The latest poverty statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board however now name the five poorest provinces as Tawi-tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, and Surigao del Norte.)

Through crowd-sourcing, an offshoot of the “citizen journalism” movement, the PCIJ, with the help of its partners and affiliates in the five provinces, will aspire to track the issues, programs and factors that facilitate or impede the delivery of basic services and implementation of programs by local government units.

Crowd-sourcing is a non-traditional and largely unexplored (at least in the Philippines) method of gathering information. With this data gathering tool, PCIJ’s partners need not learn reporting skills.

At the same time, the project will also make communities better involved in holding their elected officials accountable as it will also be able to track local governance in the five poorest areas in the community using a content management system that will offer a database of indicator values, where users can browse and retrieve data in different media formats — text, audio, video, audio/video, images, graphics, etc.

The performance of the provinces will be monitored through annual data inputs from official government reports, specifically indicators set in three Millennium Development Goals: poverty, education, and health.

Official government reports will be validated against the monthly reports from PCIJ’s partners. The partners will monitor program implementation, key beneficiaries, budget allocation, best practices and/or problems encountered during the implementation of a particular project.

These partners will be chosen according to their track record in monitoring the delivery of services in the areas. To do this, PCIJ will be partnering with its fellows or journalists in the area who had participated in PCIJ trainings; Social Watch Philippines, an NGO watchdog network monitoring poverty eradication, gender equality, and other social indicators; and members of the academe.

The partnership with the LGUs will focus on identifying their priority projects in addressing the three key areas: poverty, education, and health; seeking official progress reports and statistics; and monitoring of project implementation. They will also be asked to participate in the quarterly online chats with the different sectors.

Through the automated agent of a website, reports can be read by the site editor and uploaded in real time. There will be quarterly progress reports from the designated affiliates and a quarterly online forum focused on one area. The quarterly online chat will have the following participants: PCIJ’s partners; development workers; barangay captain and council members; mayor, governor, and congressmen; regional development coordinator; and members of the community.

The PCIJ’s portal on Philippine politics and government, i-site, was among 59 projects awarded grants of up to P1 million each at the first Panibagong Paraan held in 2004.

This year’s Panibagong Paraan is a joint undertaking of the World Bank, Department of the Interior and Local Government – Local Government Academy, Australian Agency for International Development/Philippines – Australia Community Assistance Program, British Embassy, Canadian International Development Agency, City of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, International Finance Corporation, Peace and Equity Foundation, Philippine Center for Population and Development, Team Energy Foundation, The Asia Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Asian Development Bank, Caucus of Development NGO Networks, League of Corporate Foundations, and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement.

Comment Form