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CSOs Push Peace & Democracy at SOCDEV 2017

QUEZON CITY – The Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) pushed democracy as the key to development and advanced its advocacies as it ended its General Assembly and Social Development Celebration (SOCDEV) last November 24-25 at the Great Eastern Hotel .

CODE-NGO is composed of 12 national and regional networks representing 1,600 non-government organizations, people’s organizations and cooperatives.  

More than 200 representatives of the 12 national and regional networks – leaders and youth – attended the sessions united by the theme “What is the Future of Philippine Democracy and the Prospects for the CSO Sector?”

The theme was borne out of a concern by the CSO leaders over the disregard of the Duterte administration of Constitutional provisions on Human Rights and Democratic institutions.  During the 18 months of President Duterte in office, there has been a spate of extra-judicial killings in the Drug War, Martial Law in Mindanao, the petition to give the Commission on Human Rights a budget of P1,000, and the impeachment of government officials perceived to be hostile to the Duterte administration, such as Chief Justice Maria Sereno.

Another issue was the aggressive promotion of Federalism.  Edwin Lacierda, Spokesperson of President Aquino, spoke on the possible implications of a Federal government as being pushed by the Duterte Administration: “The 1987 Constitution was created by wise people who wanted to make sure that Martial rule under Marcos is not repeated.  So there was a lot of mention on development there – like human rights, women, youth, cooperatives, and development in general.”

He added: “With Federalism, will the government be more transparent and accountable?  We don’t know.  But these are things we need to ensure.”

The celebration climaxed with the keynote speech of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who urged the CSO leaders to continue the fight for democracy: “You must make sure that democratic institutions are here to allow you to continue participating in the heroic task of nation-building.”

The House of Representatives is conducting hearings on implication complaints against Sereno.

NATCCO Network is a signatory to the CSO 2016-19 Development Reform Agenda which has four pillars:

1.    Empowerment and Democratization
2.    Reducing Poverty & Inequality
3.    Peace, and
4.    A Sustainable Economy

In short, the battlecry of the SOCDEV 2017 is: Development cannot be attained if there is no democracy.

CODE-NGO was formally established by May 1990 by the 10 largest NGO Networks in the Philippines, and registered in January 1991 with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock, non-profit organization.  NATCCO Network was one of the founding members.

Representing NATCCO Network were NATCCO staff, Pandan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Antique), Rustan Employees Credit Cooperative, St. Vincent Ferrer Parish MPC  (Romblon), and San Isidro Development Cooperative (Naga City). 

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