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DILG XII, partners soar new heights as the country’s 1st CSO Academy is given life

“The realization of a dream.”
That is how DILG XII Regional Director Josephine Cabrido-Leysa, CESO III described the formal launching and signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the institutionalization of the CSO Academy of Soccsksargen, considered to be the first learning institution in the country created purposely to “capacitate civil society organization (CSO) leaders” who play important and major roles in local governance.

The MOA signing and launching ceremony was held at Greenleaf Hotel, Gen. Santos City on April 11 with the presence of all the partners involved in the collaborative effort, namely; DILG XII, DBM XII, Mahintana Foundation, Inc. (MFI) and the Association of Foundations (AF).

RD Leysa of DILG XII and DBM XII RD Akmad Usman, was joined at the venue by no less than the Undersecretary for Operations Usec. Epimaco V. Densing, III, the event’s guest of honor and speaker, Ms. Liza D. Hora, Executive Director of Mahintana Foundation, Inc. (MFI) and the whole management team of DBM XII and DILG XII Local Governance Regional Resource Center (LGRRC XII), Atty. Renette B. Bergado, provincial administrator of South Cotabato PLGU (representing Gov. Reynaldo S. Tamayo, Jr.).

Mr. Martiniano Magdolot, MFI president and AF Executive Director Norman Joseph Jiao witnessed the ceremonies through the virtual facility, including the partner institutions and other regional directors of national government agencies comprising the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Council (MSAC) XII.

In her message, RD Leysa shared that the MOA signing has “added another milestone for DILG XII and our partner institutions” with the establishment of the CSO Academy. She expressed hope that this equipping and capacity-development effort will produce graduates from among the “local CSO leaders who will be instrumental in improving internal governance and be able to participate meaningfully in local governance.”

RD Leysa revealed that the partnership with MFI and DILG XII spans for more than a decade. With the signing of the MOA, “we see the realization of a common phrase: “To make a dream work, add Teamwork.” And we are witnesses to the veracity of this phrase,” the director added.

To jumpstart the Academy’s full operation, South Cotabato, provided full-support by sending out the first batch of 50 trainees to undergo the 40-hour sessions by August.

As part of its readiness and preparation for the soon-operational CSO Academy, DILG Rehiyon Dose sets the motion for the regional roll out on the guidelines for the accreditation of civil society organizations on April 12. The mixed mode meeting was attended by the provincial directors of the four PLGUs of Region XII along with the Program and Outcome Managers, MLGOOs and select regional office division chiefs and personnel.

In his inspirational message following the MOA signing, Usec. Densing congratulated the whole team of DILG XII, DBM XII, MFI and Association of Foundations for putting life and flesh to the Academy as he expressed hope that the move will also be replicated in the other regions.

“This is part of the change that we want to happen. By building up the CSO partners, we ensure that our LGUs will hear what the people say. No longer will we see CSO representatives doing the minor or routine roles during meetings for special bodies,” the undersecretary further explained.

Towards the latter part of the ceremony, each of the party which are signatories to the MOA pledged their support for the Academy, ensuring the sustainability of this innovation.