“The sense of ownership which is integral to the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach of Kalahi-CIDSS encourages the community recipients to take responsibility to sustain their implemented sub-projects.” —this is Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny T. Pimentel’s statement when asked in an interview on what he can say about the CDD.
Kalahi-CIDSS or the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services program is one of the big-ticket anti-poverty programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Kalahi (Bisayan term for different), the name of the program itself, speaks of its uniqueness from the other projects of the Government,” says Gov. Pimentel.
“In the many years since 2003 that the project intervened in the development works in Surigao del Sur, it had proven to be not just one of the most effective poverty-reduction programs, but its accomplishments in transforming Surigaonon communities, are the ones that speak of it,” he adds.
Gov.Pimentel, whose dynamism as a leader, has challenged his fellow leaders or local chief executives (LCEs) in his province to take heed in their roles and responsibilities as civil servants. Oftentimes called as “governor in action”, he manifests a leader who is forward-looking and people-welfare oriented.
As the provincial LCE, he has clearly understood the role of the provincial local government unit (PLGU) in overseeing the implementation of sub-project implementation in his locality.
Despite his very hectic schedule, Gov. Pimentel has sought for his availability during the municipal inter-barangay forums (MIBFs) facilitated by DSWD. In Kalahi-CIDSS, this activity is an integral part of the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) process.
It is in this forum that the community volunteers in every barangay in a municipality will gather to present, through a most creative and informative manner, their proposed sub-projects to be prioritized for funding.
“Some will role play and others sing and dance to clearly present their great need to have their sub-projects prioritized,” shares Pimentel.
Engineer Juliet Perez, Planning Officer IV of the Surigao del Sur PLGU, relates that when Gov. Johnny will not be able to attend a certain forum, she and the other significant staff will be personally requested by him to attend on his behalf.
“He even requests for feedback in our participation to those activities,” Perez adds.
His active attendance on various barangay and municipal consultation activities is the reason why he is very well-versed on the process involved in Kalahi-CIDSS.
According to him, his presence during those kinds of activities has also helped him and his leadership in hearing firsthand information from the communities on the basic social services that they need.
“I got to hear their problems and some of the bottlenecks in their implementation. It is in their forums and consultations that I heard that some municipalities and barangays have problems in terms of delivering of supplies for construction,” shares Pimentel.
“We greatly appreciated the support of the PLGU of Surigao del Sur for providing heavy equipment to facilitate the fast implementation of sub-project in the hinterland barangays in the province,” discloses Kalahi-CIDSS Regional Program Manager Mita G. Lim.
“The PLGU even augmented technical staff, engineers to be specific, in assisting the municipalities in the implementation,” Lim quips.
The office of the vice governor has intervened for the expeditious delivery of lumber materials. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has supported the project implementation through the passage of a resolution requesting a province-wide coverage.
Prior to being the governor in the said province, Gov. Pimentel opens that he had encountered the Kalahi-CIDSS program when he was yet serving as a provincial administrator for almost ten (10) years.
In his leadership, he has encouraged more municipal LCEs to actively support the projects which are implemented by the national government, most especially those which uses the CDD approach.
In 2011, the province of Surigao del Sur has been lifted out of the poverty status it’s been battling for years. According to a press release (July 2011, Mindanao Gold Star Daily) from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the province has “increasingly uplifted itself as incidence of poverty has gone down after it was consistently included in the Club 20 of the poorest provinces in the country for the last years”. As NEDA stated, the present economic status of Surigao del Sur was attributed to the joint effort of the local government units here that was said to be ‘paying off’.
“The PLGU commits its full support to Kalahi-CIDSS as it scaled up into a national community-driven development program (NCDDP) because we recognize that one factor of the reduced poverty in our province is the contribution of the CDD projects of DSWD,” states Gov. Pimentel in his testimony given during the regional launching of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP in Caraga region held at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort in August 2014.
Gov. Pimentel is also well-convinced that the community-implemented projects through the Program are completed and well-sustained. He has even expressed his willingness to adopt the process in their local planning and budgeting and to extend a local counterpart contribution (LCC) whenever needed by the barangay and municipal LGUs.
An antidote to corruption
“Some LCEs aren’t sold out with the process of Kalahi-CIDSS because funds are directly downloaded to the communities and the LCEs are even required to provide a counterpart,” he opens.
Nonetheless, setting as a good example, Gov. Pimentel encouraged the LCEs, most especially those in his province, that the LCEs’ proactive involvement and support in Kalahi-CIDSS is an opportunity for them to win the trust and support of the communities.
“Kalahi-CIDSS is an avenue to win the trust and support of the Filipino citizenry to the Government,” he discloses.
He further says that when participation, transparency, and accountability principles work in governance, then it is a system that work best as an antidote to corruption.
“In the program, the LCEs pursue community development without committing graft, and the CDD ensures culpability/responsibility when failure is committed,” Gov. Pimentel comments.
He has also shared that during his monitoring of the projects implemented, he himself has witnessed how ordinary citizens in Surigao del Sur were properly trained to manage resources and even religiously perform financial transactions.
“Every centavo spent for the sub-project implementation in Kalahi-CIDSS is properly liquidated and reported to communities through the conducted barangay assemblies,” he further states.
The said PLGU also recognizes the contribution of the ‘Kalahi’ way in fighting against insurgency problem as it is the only program in conflict areas where no revolutionary tax is collected.
“Because they do their project, they implement it, hence maximum utilization of resources is ensured.” says Pimentel. He acknowledges the influence of the Project in reconciling political conflicts and fostering friendships from among the leaders.
Gov. Pimentel indeed walks his talk. He defies irresponsible leadership and thus with his courage he wins the support of his constituents. He promotes the welfare of his people and his province.
“I am for inclusive development, so I go for Kalahi-CIDSS,” he concludes. ###(Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)