Author Archives: ICON Network

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Umbrella network of non-government organizations (NGOs) and people's organizations (POs) in Iloilo

2013 in review: A year of NGO networking on web

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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ICON celebrates 14th NGO PO Week in Iloilo

The 14th NGO PO Week celebration in Iloilo went well on December 1-7 despite the set back brought about by Typhoon Yolanda. The Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) spearheaded the celebration with the theme “Reclaim our noble heritage: Sustain the power of networking.”

The network temporarily shelved its plans at the onset of Yolanda’s battering of badly hit communities as respective NGO members started their initial response in the form of relief operation. ICON also voluntarily forfeited the regular financial assistance from the provincial government of Iloilo so that funds would be channeled to relief operation. It was just a week and couple of days before the celebration, when the board of directors decided to continue with the theme and simplified activities, tapping the resources of member organizations. 

Hon. Joshua Alim (extreme left) administers the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Assisting him are (L-R) ICON Pres. Edwin Lariza; Ted Aldwin Ong, VP for NGOs; and Engr. Jonathan Ravena, Photo Artist League of Iloilo.

Hon. Joshua Alim (extreme left) administers the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Assisting him are (L-R) ICON Pres. Edwin Lariza; Ted Aldwin Ong, VP for NGOs; and Engr. Jonathan Ravena, Photo Artist League of Iloilo.

The celebration started with the Opening of Photo Exhibit at Robinsons Place on December 2 with Hon. Joshua Alim, Iloilo City councilor as guest. Alim was the author of the City Resolution institutionalizing the annual celebration. A forum on NGOs and Volunteerism was held the following day at 4th floor Henry Luce III Libraries, Central Philippine University. Sponsored by the Department of Social Work, the forum was graced by Bishop Leocito Gabo, professor of the College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Dr. Leocito "Tex" Gabo emphasizing the need to reclaim he noble heritage of Filipinos, particularly in service and volunteerism

Dr. Leocito “Tex” Gabo emphasizing the need to reclaim the noble heritage of Filipinos, particularly in service and volunteerism

On December 6, an NGO-PO Fellowship and Capability Building Seminar was held at 4th floor Henry Luce III Libraries, CPU under the sponsorship of the University Outreach Center. Dr. Juliana S. Seneriches, a forensic psychiatrist spoke on Psychological First Aid to assist the traumatized survivors. Seneriches is vice president of Anti- Trafficking In Persons Advocates Network (ATIPAN), Inc. A Volunteerism Sharing Session was facilitated by VOICE- Western Visayas and I SERVE after the seminar to celebrate the International Volunteers Day. To cap the celebration an advocacy-dialogue with University students was held at Central Philippine University on December 7. Attended by over 2,000 students, ICON officers and NGO leaders presented the noble heritage of NGOs and respective programs and services.

The annual celebration is done in partnership with the provincial and city government to give due recognition to the role of Non-government organizations (NGOs) and People’s Organizations (POs), and other civil society organizations in nation building. It has been institutionalized by Provincial Ordinance No. 2000-042 and City Regulation Ordinance 2001-190.



This year’s theme was supposedly intended to respond to the multi-billion pork barrel scam that has besmirched the noble aim and name of NGOs. In fact, the planned highlight of the celebration is the big gathering of NGOs and POs in the city and province of Iloilo to tackle the current national crisis brought about by the pork barrel scam. As well, as the subsequent backlash even to genuine organizations that have been consistently serving the marginalized sectors of the society. The NGOs felt the need to strengthen ranks through linkages and networking to safeguard the organizations from fly-by-night ones.

However, as it turned out, ICON President Edwin I. Lariza said that the highlight of the celebration was spent, instead, to discuss how NGOs can maximize participation in the on-going relief operation and sustain linkages and networking in helping in the rehabilitation or rebuilding process. “In this way, our theme will still be relevant in responding to the crises in our country in various fronts or aspects. In the midst of crises, let us continue to celebrate this milestone of networking in Iloilo, “Lariza added.

14th NGO PO Week

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NGOs to reclaim noble heritage

Non government organizations (NGOs) and People’s Organizations (POs) in Iloilo will highlight their noble heritage as they celebrate this year’s NGO PO Week on the first week of December. Under the theme, Reclaim our noble heritage: Sustain the power of networking, the week long celebration aims to bring to the public consciousness the role of NGOs in nation building.

The week-long celebration will kickoff with an ecumenical thanksgiving service on December 1. This will be followed by a motorcade around the Iloilo City at 7:00 am, the following day, to culminate with an Opening Program at the New Provincial Capitol. In the afternoon, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at Robinson’s Place to commence the week-long photo exhibit showcasing the works of NGOs. On December 3, leaders of NGOs and POs will dialogue with the academic community at Central Philippine University related to the multi-billion pork barrel scam that dragged the NGOs into controversy.

14th NGO PO Week

On December 5, NGOs will join the national celebration of Volunteerism Day bu holgin a forum on Volunteerism at the City campus of University of the Philippines- Visayas. The following day a  gathering of NGOs and POs in the city and province of Iloilo will be held at Central Philippine University to tackle the current national crisis brought about by the pork barrel scam and subsequent backlash even to genuine organizations that have been consistently serving the marginalized sectors of the society. The need to strengthen their ranks through linkages and networking will also be tackled to safeguard the organizations from fly-by-night ones. Other highlights of the celebration are ICON General Assembly and Advocacy in academic institutions on December 6.
Spearheaded by the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON), the annual celebration of the NGO PO week is observed by the virtue of Provincial Ordinance 2000-042 and City Regulation Ordinance 2001-190 in recognition of the role of the civil society organizations in nation building.

In a statement published on web, ICON has deplored the use of fake NGOs in a conspiracy to steal taxpayer’s money which besmirched the noble aim and name of non-government organizations . The Coalition has observed two angles in the current controversy- the systemic graft and corruption practices and the role of the NGOs.


“We considered the act a double injury. The large -scale misuse of the people’s money is outrageous. Siphoning money out of government coffers thru fake NGOs adds insult to injury. For it besmirch the good image established by the genuine NGOs for decades. Worse, it provides justification to some government officials and local chief executives who do not feel comfortable with the watchful eyes of NGOs and their seeming intervention as provided for by the local government code in the Philippines,” ICON president Edwin I. Lariza, in a statement, said.

It is in this second angle that the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) decided to focus, While some members continue to actively take part in the local anti pork barrel movement representing their respective organizations, ICON has committed to inform the public about the existence and corresponding programs or services of genuine NGOs

While NGOs suffered backlash due to the current controversy, we consider the crisis an opportunity to bring to the public consciousness the role of NGOs in nation building. For indeed, one way of averting the systemic robbery in our government is to involve genuine NGOs in monitoring projects,” Lariza added.

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Roles and strategies of NGOs

The typology of NGOs is related to the differences in their strategies and activities. As such, each type of organization uses different types of strategies such as relief and welfare strategies, community development, sustainable systems development, or people’s movement. These approaches are used by organizations at certain stages. Korten (1990) uses the “three generation strategy” to describe the stages of development of NGOs. The following discussion will describe each stage and then classify the type of organization according to the strategies used.

The first generation strategy uses the welfare and relief approach in the delivery of their services where dole-out of goods and services are the main activities. Often this strategy is used when there are natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, or war.

In such a situation, the NGO is the “doer” and is the chief actor while the beneficiary remains passive. It responds to an immediate and visible need. The management orientation in this stage is in logistics management. Moreover, the NGOs in this stage tend to live on donations by appealing through the mass media. The shift, however, to the second-generation strategy stems from the realization that they are solving only the symptom but not the underlying cause.

The second-generation strategy basically employs community development strategies. Its focus is on local inertia; thus, the NGOs develop the capacities of the people so that the people could meet their own needs. The main theme of this stage is the empowerment of the people through self-reliance and self-determination in the village or group level.

Unlike the first generation strategy, the role of the NGOs here is “mobilizer” rather than doer. In this stage, there is a substantial focus on education with the assumption that the problem lies exclusively on individual’s lack of skill and physical strength. Under this strategy, there is still evidence of dependence that did not make for a lasting impact. Because of the ineffectiveness of some projects, NGOs began to realize that there is a need to change their strategies. Thus, the gradual shift from the second generation to the third generation strategy began to occur.

The third generation strategy looks at the role of the NGO in developing sustainable systems. Elliott (as cited in Brodhead, 1987) explains that this strategy calls for a more political involvement in the form of support conscientization activities, and beyond that, for empowerment.

This strategy looks beyond the community and further delves into the local, national and international levels in its efforts towards development. As Korten (1990) has observe: “Third generation strategies focus on creating a policy and institutional setting that facilitates, rather than constrains just, sustainable, and inclusive local development action. “

The strategies employed by the generational framework indicate that NGOs evolve and change according to their commitment for development. Most often POs (people’s organizations) and VOs (voluntary organizations) reach the third generation strategy because of their, as Korten (1990) puts it, “focus on trying to make a sustainable difference in the lives of the people it is assisting.”

On the other hand, PSCs (public service contractors) and GONGOs (hybrid governmental/non- governmental organizations) are less likely to reach the third generation strategy. PSCs depend on their donor while the government responds to changes in its policies. Korten (1990) further states that generally, donors and governments are more interested in supporting NGOs in relief and welfare interventions to relieve immediate suffering than in efforts aimed at fundamental structural change. Hence, seldom can we find PSCs and GONGOs that go beyond the second-generation strategy.

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Classification of non-government organizations (NGOs)

In the previous posts we have started our discussion on  non-government organizations (NGOs), their history and the conditions that compelled them to establish networks. We even traced the history of networking of NGOs in the Philippines by looking on the  trend of the world history of NGOs – from relief and welfare endeavors to social reformation which eventually led to the transformation approach.

NGOs are simply agencies or groups which are different from government bodies. Quizon, as cited in Racellis (1998), defines NGOs: as private, voluntary organizations; social development agencies; or professional support; or cause oriented groups that are non-profit –oriented and legal, which are committed to the task of development and established primarily for socio-economic services, civic, religious, charitable and/or social welfare purposes.

They  emerged to respond to needs, which were not readily met by the government due to systemic limitations. With elite and/or traditional politicians at the helm of leadership, the government, most often, cannot initiate major reforms. This is a situation where NGOs take active role as catalysts for change. Providing stimuli for the various sectors of society to organize them, NGOs equip the poor with the important skills, knowledge and resource necessary in their struggle towards a better life and a more humane society, according to Aldaba (1993).

NGOs may be classified into various types according to different criteria, namely:  (1) Activities they perform, (2) Areas of operation, (3) Size or number of staff, (4) Sector they serve, (5) Ideological bias, and (6) Their initiators. Subsequently, there are NGOs that engage themselves in community organizing among peasants, workers, fisherfolks and urban poor. Their areas of operation range from local to international. Abad (1990) observed that NGOs reflect certain ideological leaning or persuasion depending on the sector that organized them, e.g., business, political, religious.

Korten (1990) classifies NGOs into four types, namely: 1) voluntary organizations (VOs); 2) public service contractors (PSC); 3) hybrid governmental/non- governmental organizations (GONGOS), and 4) people’s organization (POs). The first three NGOs are referred to as Third Party Organizations since they exist to serve the needs of the third party or those persons who are not members of the organization. The fourth sector is referred to as the First Party Organization, since they are basically governed and managed by the people themselves.

According to Korten, of the Third Party Organizations, VOs are distinctively value-driven, pursuing a social mission that make them relatively immune to the political agenda of either the government or the economic forces of the market place. Although small in size, their capacity for social and institutional innovation has been well developed. This feat is seldom found in government and business sectors. However, while VOs serve as channels for innovation, they are often placed in a controversial position as they pursue their commitment towards social change.

In this classification, PSCs are dependent on economic power in sustaining their program. They acquire their resources through the exchange and market of goods and services. They also tend to be responsive to economic needs rather than to genuine public service. In this type of NGO, the customer is the donor.

Korten observed that VOs and PSCs are, oftentimes, mistaken to be synonymous because of their characteristics as non- – profit organizations. Moreover, they have the same type of legal registration with similarities in mission statements. The difference, however, lies on their commitment. While the VOS are committed to social mission, PSCs are business – oriented. Unlike VOs, PSCs often evade advocacy and controversy.

As far as GONGOs are concerned, essentially they are instruments of the government in carrying its policies. Created and managed by the government, GONGOs are accountable to the state and not to their members or independent board. On the other hand, POs are organizations that represent their members’ interest. Characterized by self-reliance, they are considered organizations that are truly “ by the people, of the people and for the people.”


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ICON joins World Social Work Day celebration, inducts officers

The Iloilo Coalition of Non-government Organizations and People’s Organizations (ICON) joined the celebration of World Social Work Day on March 19. Held at Central Philippine University, the celebration started with a forum which was sponsored by the University’s Department of Social Work. ICON co sponsored the forum as part of the network’s regular monthly forum. It was participated in by over 100 social work students, social workers from various provinces in Western Visayas, and NGO partners. 

world social work day2013

The theme for the celebration is “ Promoting Social and Economic Equalities.” Two ICON officers served as panelists to the forum after the presentation of Miss Evangeline Felecio who served as speaker. Felecio is the Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Field Office 6. The ICON officers in the panel were Ms. Febie Ibojos and Bro. Edwin Arana. Atty. Ma. Dolores Nalumen, national officer of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) gave words of inspiration. Also an Ilongga, she is a retired Regional Director of the Probation and Parole Administration- Western Visayas.

After the forum, the officers and board of directors of ICON were inducted into office while social workers continued their celebration at the Department of Social Work .

DSWD FO6 ARD Evangeline Felecio inducts the ICON Officers. (L-R) Rev. Edwin I. Lariza, president; Bro. Edwin Arana, 1st vice president; Ted Aldwin Ong, VP for NGOs; Eleazar R. Blando, general secretary; Febie S. Ibojos, treasurer; Sandy Mecuando III, auditor; Prof. Ruben Gamala, PRO; Sunshine Arquintillo, Engr. Levi De los Santos, Freddie Salvania and Stazy Vencer, board of directors. Not in the picture are Georie Pitong, VP for POs; Prof. Kareen Jay D. Lozada, secretary; Pastor Renato Fetalsana and Dr. Johnny Villanueva, board of directors.

World Social Work Day is the annual opportunity to advocate a social work perspective in political systems that effect the wellbeing of peoples and to celebrate the social work contribution to societies. Social work has a critical role in the promotion of social and economic equalities and in striving for a people-focused and regulated economy. 

The theme is one of the areas of a global movement launched by social workers in 2010 to address the major challenges of our societies. It was in Hongkong when over three thousand Social Work practitioners, educators, and development workers launched the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

Reprotedly, based on the decisions reached at the Hong Kong conference, the leadership of the three international organizations (International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW)) representing the entire spectre of Social Work Practice, Social Work Education and Social Development Work globally, have agreed on a set of objectives to meet joint aspirations for social justice and social development.

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ICON celebrates EDSA Revolution anniversary

The Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) celebrated the 27th EDSA People Power Revolution by sponsoring a forum on February 26, 2013 at the Conference Room, Henry Luce III Libraries, Central Philippine University (CPU). The event was co sponsored by the University Department of Social Work.

Dubbed EDSA Revolution: Recollections, Lessons and Relevance to the New Generation, the forum was participated in by almost 200 students, faculty and ICON member organizations. Signpost Country Director Febbie S. Ibojos opened the forum with a prayer. In his opening remarks, Prof. Edwin Lariza, chairman of the Department of Social Work, stressed the department’s commitment to provide avenues to recollect the significant events in the life of the Filipinos with corresponding lessons for the benefit of the majority of the population who were born after 1986.

A video presentation of EDSA event preceded the speeches of invited panelists composed mainly of the University alumni. They were either participants to the struggles of the Filipino people leading to EDSA Revolution or involved in development work at present. First to share their respective experiences and reflections were alumni of the Department of Social Work. Hope Hervila, current Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna related the critical situation during Martial Law in her hometown in Mindanao and student activism there and her experience when she transferred at CPU including her pre EDSA organizing work with church based organization.

ICON forum

Amado Hollero shared the brunt of Martial Law experience to his family and the circumstances that led him to join the people’s struggle against the dictatorial rule which culminated in EDSA. He also related his experience in continuing the commitment to serve the people after rejoining the mainstream of the society. These included serving as president of the CPU Republic when he resumed studies and barangay captain afterwards.

The relevance of the historic event to the New Generation were expounded by the young panelists who either were not born yet or still children during the EDSA Revolution . These were Ted Aldwin Ong, Chairman, Freedom for Debt Coalition-Iloilo; Eleazar R. Blando, General Secretary, YMCA of Iloilo, Inc.; and Charmane Chin, Coordinator, Kabataan Partylist.

All panelists recognized the gains of struggle against the dictatorial regime, which was highlighted by EDSA, in varying degree. However, they shared the common understanding that much has to be done yet, as the systemic problems persist. As one of the recognized heroes of the EDSA revolt explicitly said: “Today, 27 years later… the greed, the apathy, the cronyism and the corruption we brought down at EDSA during those four days are still with us in our land.

He made the comment after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani to kick off this year’s commemoration. As reported in the Philippine Star, former President Fidel Ramos challenged Filipinos to confront and remove “new tyrannies” such as self-serving leaders, greedy autocrats and “cliques of corrupt officials.” “In our homeland, there are still oligarchies, opportunists and warlords we have yet to banish from our political and economic life,” Ramos said.

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