Remarks by Roger Carlson, USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director, LGU Communications Planning Workshop

Friday, August 28, 2015

[As Prepared]

A pleasant day to all of you. (Acknowledgement of participants.)

Today’s event is a re-affirmation of the U.S. Government’s commitment to lasting peace and inclusive development in Mindanao.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to support this communications planning workshop for our LGU partners in the Province of Sulu.This workshop will help participating LGUs formulate their own communications plans to guide their advocacy and outreach efforts in engaging constituents, and establish a feedback mechanism between the local government and residents.

Through our ENGAGE project, USAID aims to promote community empowerment as a foundation for inclusive local governance in targeted conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

In particular, the project’s main objectives are to strengthen the capacity, legitimacy, transparency, and accountability of local governments; and to increase the involvement of the youth and adults in governance processes through civic education, civil society strengthening and the promotion of mechanisms for greater community participation.

USAID is now assisting 30 Mindanao LGUs. These LGUs have committed to enhance their respective governance mechanisms and practices, boost local revenues, and improve the lives of the people in their communities.

USAID activities are designed to create greater synergy between local governments and civil society. One cannot succeed without the support of the other. LGUs must strive to provide better public services, while civil society must ensure that local government officials adhere to the principles of transparency and accountability. Both must commit to expanded public participation in governance.

Your work in creating Communications Plans for your communities is key to this process; it will bring together government and citizens, and better leverage talent that you have in your communities. It will make your communities, and development, more inclusive and sustainable.

There is no simple solution that will address all the challenges confronting LGUs and civil society organizations in Mindanao. The issues and concerns you are facing now are many and multi-faceted; they require patience, determination, cooperation, and a strong desire to streamline procedures and put in place new, responsive, and dynamic systems.

Most importantly, we need a sustained and concerted effort among public servants and members of civil society to improve all aspects of local governance.

Mindanao has been called “The Land of Promise”; USAID stands committed to help the people of Mindanao achieve this vision.

Congratulations to all of you and have a great day ahead!

Issuing Country