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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has agreed to tap the support of civil society organizations in crafting the city’s programs for local residents.

She cited the important role the CSOs have played in the development and progress of Quezon City.

“Mas maganda kung kasama natin ang taumbayan at mga grupong kumakatawan sa kanilang mga interes sa pagpaplano at pagbalangkas (It is much better if the public and the groups that represent them are involved in the planning and analysis),’’ said Belmonte.

Belmonte spent three days meeting with around 4,000 CSOs from different districts in Quezon City.

“Ang aking style ng pamahahala ay palaging katuwang ang taumbayan. Gusto ko na kasama sila sa pagbuo ng mga programa at proyekto na magpapaganda sa kanilang mga buhay (My style of governance is geared towards public involvement. I want them to be to part in the crafting of programs and projects that will uplift their living conditions),” she added.

Belmonte was elated with the continuous growth of CSOs in the city in terms of number recalling there were just around 1,000 registered organizations in Quezon City several years ago when she was still vice mayor.

Belmonte also reiterated the importance of people’s participation in governance, calling on local residents to join an organization that could advance their welfare and fight for their rights.

“Being part of an organization is one of the roles of an active citizen,” said Belmonte.

Belmonte also presented her plans to CSOs, including the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) ordinance to boost her good governance initiative.

“We plan to make Quezon City as the first local government in Metro Manila to enact an FOI ordinance that will boost transparency and combat corruption,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte also plans to establish Hotline 122 where residents can call for any concern or complaint. The agency will then be required to report on how they acted upon the complaint.

For their part, CSOs officials and members have expressed their full support for Belmonte’s leadership and vowed to back her initiatives for the city’s development.

“Nakakataba ng puso na napakaraming taong handa akong tulungan at suportahan upang matupad ko ang mga plano kong mapaunlad pa ang Lungsod Quezon (It is heartwarming that a lot of people are ready to assist me in my plan to grow Quezon City),” Belmonte said.

Belmonte takes to heart the role of CSOs because even as a fresh graduate, she joined the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP) to help advance the need of far-flung and marginalized communities.

“Naging inspirasyon sa aking pamumuno ngayon ang karanasan ko noon bilang JVP volunteer.   Pinadala ako noon sa isang liblib na lugar sa Mindanao kung saan walang kuryente at walang tubig … mga importanteng resources para sa tao, pero wala.  Basic services ito na kailangan ng mga tao na dapat ibigay ng gobyerno (My stint as a JVP volunteer served as an inspiration in public service. I was sent to a secluded place in Mindanao where there are no electricity and water connections – important resources that the people do not have. These basic services should be provided by the government to the people),’’ said Belmonte.

Belmonte’s experience as a Jesuit volunteer instilled in her the importance of hearing the people’s voice when it comes to governance.

During her nine-year term as vice mayor and presiding officer of the city council, Belmonte worked hand in hand with different organizations in crafting policies for the benefit of local residents.

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