From the beautiful, warm
and loving people of Paranas, I welcome you to the cleanest and
greenest municipality of the province of Samar.
When I received the
information that representatives of the Millennium Challenge
Corporation will be visiting our municipality, I was in Cagayan de
Oro City at that time accompanying my wife, Elvie, who was attending
a social work convention in the City of Golden Friendship.
I immediately felt the
urgency of the message since there was this instruction that I
should be in Paranas before Saturday and I have to confirm my
Just lately, I remember
there were banner stories during the visit of the President to the
United States, happily announcing that he is bringing home
substantial sum for the pro-poor projects which the island provinces
of Samar would be a major beneficiary.
For me, this is a welcome
news and I know the seriousness of the effort, for it was just a
week ago when President Aquino met his counterparts in the U.S. and
here comes the Country Director and the specialists of the MCC
linking with us here in the field.
Today, I am assigned to
give brief presentation on my KALAHI-CIDSS experience and since I am
left with no material time, I jot down what comes to my mind during
intervals of my travel. This is my story:
When I assumed as
Municipal Mayor in 2007, KALAHI-CIDSS was about to implement its
second cycle and fresh from my election, I remember, I promised to
the people that I would look at the water system in the poblacion as
my priority project. At that time, about 7,000 poblacion residents
were sacrificing daily from severe water shortage getting water for
one to two hours a day only. In the morning, they’ll fill up their
containers for use until the next day. That was how pitiful the
water services some three years ago. Now, we have 24-hour
uninterrupted water supply, and because we own the system, we have
the cheapest rate at 60 cents per cubic meter in American money. But
that is going ahead of the story.
I talked to KALAHI-CIDSS
people and presented this water works proposal but this was turned
down because the mayor cannot just submit his proposal on his own.
KC has a process to follow and even assuming that this is a
priority, there is no assurance that this would be accommodated.
I argued that this is a
top notch priority and there could be no pressing need I have in
mind than this water works project. My effort went into deft ears.
My problem was, I have promised during the campaign that they will
have water within a year and I was worried I was breaking this
promise to my people.
The next thing, I was
already writing to the Regional Project Management staff, my letter
of disengagement, a very bold move risking the life of KC in Paranas
but I was confident, I have the backing up of my constituents.
During the stint of my
predecessor, 23 sub projects had been implemented in Cycle No. 1 and
these barangay folks have already experienced the goodness of KC and
they have fallen in love with KALAHI. Since my disengagement would
mean our withdrawal of the local cash counterpart, there was no way
that KALAHI would resurrect again.
I learned later that some
Barangay Officials and community volunteers very close to the
congresswoman went out of their way and lobbied that the much needed
counterpart be taken out of the Priority Development Assistant Fund
in the Congress. This, the good Congresswoman granted and she gave
3,960,000.00 from her fund.
What happened next, we
were already gathered infront of the multitude of the stakeholders
during the MOA signing between the DSWD, the Congresswoman and
myself. I remember hearing from the RPMO that “love is lovelier the
second time around” But, what impressed me most was the initiative
of the barangay folks in approaching the Congresswoman for her to
shelve this largesse. For my part, I committed to work double time
to make KALAHI successful in my municipality. Looking back at it
now, our relationship with KC in the beginning was never a love at
Our average allocation
coming from the DSWD-World Bank grant was to the tune of about 12
million pesos per year and for the three cycles, we got more or less
36 million. Almost half of that amount is raised by the combined
contributions coming from the municipality and in one instance, the
Congress, the barangay and the municipality amounting to over 16
million pesos. From the four counterpart contributors, it is the
community that does not have its own funding and for their part, we
quantify the money value of their labor and materials contributed to
the project and astonishingly, the community contributions amounted
to 1.8 million pesos for three cycles.
Here lies the difference,
for before, people will never get involved in the project except to
receive it, but in KALAHI “the sweat of their brow “becomes their
contributions never become a problem in KC implementation in Paranas
for people would know that from the small amount they share, the
bigger bulk is shouldered by the World Bank and stakeholders will
say where we can still find a better deal than in KALAHI.
Another good thing in
KALAHI is that from the inception of the program, ordinary people
are being capacitated and trained in the simplest way one can
understand thereby enhancing their knowledge as they go further and
further in the learning process. At the end, one can see the real
transformation of these ordinary citizens becoming resource persons
and have mustered confidence in themselves.
People in remote barangays
are aware and understand the right to participate in and decide
matters affecting their welfare. They attend meeting, planning
workshops, community assemblies and pay regular visits to the KC
Office and this led to their understanding how plans and projects
are made and how it is implemented.
Because likewise instill
value formation among Barangay folks, they become open to render
volunteer work whenever necessary and when funds are not sufficient.
Capacities of ordinary citizens to plan for their own development
are enhanced and safeguards are put in place so that resources are
not wasted or lost. In short, the principle of transparency,
participation and accountability are the pillars of fiscal
management within the KC.
As Municipal Mayor, my
only participation in handling the funds of KC is when I sign the
check downloading the money to the Barangay Treasurer. After that,
it is the barangay that becomes responsible to all fund releases.
Payment for labor and contractors, as well as the purchase of
materials are all done in the barangay levels.
Another best practice I
learned from KC is the implementation of sustainability plan.
Immediately after a sub-project is completed, an association is
organized to receive the project and plan for its maintenance in
order to prolong the usefulness of the project. Whenever feasible,
the association collects reasonable fees for the maintenance cost.
In the more than 60
sub-projects we were able to finish, more than half are water system
project s and these water users organize themselves into
associations and all have open up bank accounts to deposit their
More than ever, KALAHI has
been successful in inculcating a stronger sense of ownership and
trust in the government. “Good governance is good politics” is a
truism that has been shown in the attitude of the people.
It is already one year now
since I last submitted my completion report. Even if KC is no longer
around, our projects and programs are implemented using its
For example, we have
institutionalized the mandatory Day Care Program for all the 44
Barangays in my municipality. Each Day Care Worker, receives three
thousand pesos per month, half of this amount is shouldered by the
municipality and the other half are coming from the barangays .I
leave the decision to the Barangay Captain on whom he wants a Day
Care worker to be appointed to avoid conflict. However, in the
implementation of the infrastructure projects, usually I only
require 10% counterpart because of the meager resources of the
barangay, the remaining amount being shouldered by the municipality.
Of course, KALAHI-CIDSS
implementation in Paranas is not all bed of roses. In the remaining
two cycles where I led, I terminated one Barangay Treasure and
Community Facilitator. I scolded a Barangay Captain, for delivering
a sealed canvass to the Office of the Governor for unknown reason.
But, all in all, KALAHI was a shining moment for me as a Local chief
Our success in KC may in
some way be measured by having a Regional Award and nominated to the
KC National Competition in Manila.
But, I feel the living
witness to our success in the KALAHI-CIDSS is the fact that we have
elected a simple and assuming person, who a year ago no one would
ever believe that she will be catapulted from a lowly position of
the Local Poverty Reduction Alleviation Officer to the second
highest position in the municipality and I am referring to our new
Vice Mayor, Hon. Yolanda Tizon Tan, whom I appointed as Area
coordinator of KALAHI CIDSS.
Her talent dedication and
industry are characters born out of a true KC. She is the epitome of
our success in Paranas.
Thank you so much.
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