Thursday, February 12, 2015

DSWD starts identification of new Kalahi projects in Bicol towns
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 10 (PNA) – Funds that are part of the over Php2-billion 2014-2015 allocation for a government anti-poverty program in Bicol are awaiting the final identification by prospective recipients of community-driven development (CDD) projects where it would be poured into this year.

These funds are the remaining of about Php4.5-billion allocation for the five-year implementation in the region of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) projects.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a CDD project of the national government which strongly advocates the involvement of local communities in the design and implementation of development projects to address the issue of poverty in the country.

Placed under the supervision of the DSWD, the project aims to improve local governance by employing the participation of the people in the communities in the development process.

Under its CDD approach, community members consensually decide on what types of poverty-reduction projects they need for funding.

Common projects include public goods or access projects such as pathways, farm-to-market roads, health centers, water systems, day-care centers and school buildings; community enterprise projects such as solar dryers, fishery, rice mills and community markets.

The selection of Kalahi-CIDSS project areas is based on the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or Listahanan which in 2009 assessed 59.5 percent or 461,242 of the total of 775, 014 households in the region as poor.

The assessment identified in Masbate 103,478 or 64.6 percent of its 160,257 households as poor while of Albay’s 141,617 households, 88,242 or 62.3 percent were poor and Camarines Sur with 226,714 households had 136,208, equivalent to 60 percent listed under the same classification.

The same statistics show Camarines Norte having 40,802 poor or 56.5 percent of its 72,227 households; Sorsogon 75,769 poor or 53.6 percent of 141,388 households; and Catanduanes, 16,743 or 51 percent poor out of its 32,811 households.

The DSWD regional office is deriving its final list of prioritized poor communities to be granted the projects funded this year under the Kalahi-CIDSS from the results of recently completed municipal forums in 88 municipalities of the region.

DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia on Tuesday said one of the Kalahi-CIDSS’ thrusts this year is to support the post-disaster response and development in typhoon Yolanda-affected municipalities covered by the program and selected based on poverty incidence.

The municipal forums convened all the communities represented by the barangay captains, residents elected as community volunteers, civil society organizations, people’s organizations and representatives of national government agencies together with local government officials to identify proposed priority projects.

These proposed projects would be confirmed through a resolution of local legislative councils of Sangguniang Bayan that recommends the grant of allocation which will respond to the needs of the barangays, especially those who are affected by and vulnerable to disasters.

The criteria on how poor communities were prioritized for funding were based on the community’s population, number of Listahanan-identified poor households and the number of typhoon-affected households.

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are by making the database of poor families available and becomes the basis in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs and services.

Initial set of community activities cum municipal foras were conducted between October and November last year wherein representatives from 2,490 of Bicol’s 3,471 barangays participated in the consultation meetings facilitated by DSWD field workers, according to Garcia.

The residents agreed on and approved the list of priority needs and projects which were generated from the damage assessment and needs analysis results provided by the local government units which were validated by the residents and the DSWD.

“The participation of ordinary residents in the program is very crucial in the development priorities of the government since they know what they need to solve poverty,” Garcia said Each barangay assembly was used as a major avenue for direct participation of the people in local governance agenda for Kalahi-CIDSS, where issues are discussed and decisions are documented and supported.

Kalahi-CIDSS has an “open menu” wherein communities can propose any project, provided the amount involved is within the municipal allocation and does not belong to its negative list, the regional DSWD chief explained.

The prioritized communities are now preparing their respective project proposals to utilize the approved fund allocated to them for projects and the DSWD regional office is awaiting for their submission for final approval and fund release, he added. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/cbd/