Improved Governance Leads to Better Lives

Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) has been one of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s leading poverty alleviation programs. It has been successful in aiding poor municipalities through its distinctive Community Driven Development (CDD) approach that invests in people through their direct participation in project implementation.  It is the objective of the project to empower communities by giving them the authority to take control of developmental projects in their community.

One of the aims of the project is to improve local governance. How this can actually be measured, however, is a thorny topic. After all, how can improved local governance actually be evaluated?

       In Kalahi-CIDSS, barangays in the same municipality are given the opportunity to present project proposals. The people will then vote for which of these projects will receive funding, using a set of criteria that they themselves have chosen. While this system is great news for the barangays that have prioritized projects, it also means that there are communities that may not be chosen. Recognizing this, Atty. Benjie Y. Baguio, the municipal mayor of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, sought to do something about it.

       Mayor Baguio realized that the reason why not all barangays in a municipality cannot have their projects sub-funded is because of budget limitations. As such, he and the Sangguniang Bayan members sought to find other ways to generate funds in order to support as many sub-projects as they can.   All barangays through their captains chipped in a certain amount to help fund the projects. Eventually, they managed to raise enough money not only to provide for the local counterpart contributions for the prioritized barangays, but also to fund non-prioritized sub-projects of two barangays. As a result, 12 barangays got to implement their sub-projects even if only 10 were prioritized.

       Barangay Taguitic and Barangay Cathedral Falls were the chosen beneficiaries of this LGU-led initiative. Barangay Taguitic implemented a potable water system, while Barangay Cathedral Falls implemented a drainage canal.

       While these sub-projects were funded by the local government unit, the preparation and implementation process still followed the Kalahi-CIDSS approach. This was because they saw for themselves just how beneficial the project is. Mayor Baguio said that Kalahi-CIDSS encouraged the LGU of Kapatagan to stay true to their mandate as the genuine promoter of the welfare of their constituents.  The partnership between the local government unit (LGU) and the people was brought about by Kalahi-CIDSS, and this allowed the LGU to address the needs of the community effectively.

When asked how the municipality of Kapatagan in Lanao de Norte is one of the best Kalahi-CIDSS implementers in the region, Mayor Baguio responded, “Compared to the other municipalities in the region, Kapatagan is a mere average municipality.  The LGU could never carry out projects needed by all of our constituents. But with the entry of the Kalahi-CIDSS in our municipality, we now have hope in the possibility of improving the lives of our constituents. Our municipality really benefited hugely after the first cycle, not only because of the sub-projects but also because of the trainings conducted to empower our communities.  As our response, the LGU, including our barangay captains, are planning programs to ensure that what we received from the project will never be put to waste.  Raising money for non-priority barangays is just one thing.  Our barangay captains see the Kalahi-CIDSS as a blessing, and paying it forward by raising money for the other barangays to implement their sub-projects is just our way of thanking Kalahi-CIDSS for their trust in our municipality.”