MAKING DECENTRALIZATION WORK FOR THE POOR: SYNERGISCTIC COPRODUCTION OF HOUSING SERVICES FOR INFORMAL SETTLERS IN MANILA AND QUEZON CITY

Julius Porley | Sherman Louis Gabito |

June 03, 2020
Political Science

It is the assumption of this study that under certain conditions incomplete decentralization can eventuate even in modest but important improvements in governance performance and outcomes. To appreciate how and why such experiences have taken place, it is essential to look into the dynamics of state-society nexus that underpins them. By devolving public authority and responsibility, the local can potentially become an arena where development-oriented local authoritative and societal actors could forge mutually-reinforcing relations to pursue common goals. The autonomy granted to local governments allows local governing authorities, particularly the entrepreneurial among them, to recognize the limits of their own governance capacities and appreciate the need of harnessing the organizational advantages of their non-state counterparts in order to overcome the gap between the demand- and supply sides of public service. In the same vein, local empowerment increases the incentives for non-state actors to actively engage local governments and enlist their full support to promote their own development and welfare agendas. In this kind of collaborative interaction, elements of both local government and society can find myriad opportunities to capacitate themselves by building on each other’s competencies, complementing each other’s strengths and compensating for each other’s weaknesses to capture and optimize the advantages and eschew the adverse tendencies of decentralization. The focus of current discussions on the technical and institutional requirements of decentralization has left this important aspect of the reform experience underexplored. There exists therefore a need to shed light on how and under what condition the collaborative interaction between development-oriented local government and societal actors can make decentralization, despite its inadequacies, realize its governance and developmental promises. The experiences of Manila and Quezon City with decentralized housing provision for the urban poor is a good starting point for an investigation regarding this matter

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