#BrgyAssembly: When theory does not equal practice

Information drive

However, anecdotal reports gathered by Rappler's Move.PH suggest that the reality does not even come close to the theoretical image Presidential Proclamation Number 260 tries to paint.

When we published a story on the barangay assembly by Mover Lou Gepuela and the call-out to our Movers to attend their respective barangay assemblies, we received two kinds of feedback: those expressing skepticism and those who didn't even know about the barangay assembly.

Movers Robert Vicencio and Marco Paulo Bernabe said that they never heard about the event prior to reading it on Rappler.

Several netizens also criticized the lack of any prior notice on the assemblies in their communities.

How can people participate in local governance if they aren't even given any opportunities to air their sentiments and learn about what their local officials are doing?

Best practices 

Not all barangays failed, thankfully.

Some demonstrated that, with the right amount of willpower and genuine intention to make the barangay assembly successful, information dissemination is easy.

A few barangays went beyond the minimum requirements and to proactively disseminate information to gather large number of attendees.

In Brgy Sta. Ana, Rizal, Tobit Cruz said barangay officials used social media as part of an innovative information drive. 

On the other hand, barangays like Brgy UP Campus resorted to house-to-house visits in disseminating the schedule and venue of the barangay assembly.

What should be done

With the disappointing results from 2014's first barangay assembly coupled with reports of corruption at all levels of government, it comes as no surprise that people have become jaded about the potential of the barangay assembly to institutionalize accountability and transparency. 

However, remaining passive is accepting status quo. The best way to counter corruption is to proactively fight it. 

Here are concrete and simple things citizens can do if their barangay chairman did not fulfill their role to conduct a barangay assembly: 

Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.