The Tacurong City Local Poverty Reduction Action Team or LPRAT identified priority poverty reduction projects through a planning workshop on January 24 at Edjin Pension House, Tacurong City.

Among the projects identified to reduce poverty in 2015 were: Sustainable Livelihood Program (DSWD); irrigation facilities such as shallow tube wells; agriculture infrastructure support for harvest and post-harvest; agri-fishery trainings and farmers field schools; DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program for persons with disabilities and graduates of LGU-TESDA skills trainings; equipment for Rural Health Unit and City Birthing Home; and trainings for additional community health teams. The Special Program for the Employment of Students or SPES will also have increased budget to give more opportunities for poor but deserving students. Projects for education and environment were also proposed.

The projects identified during the LPRAT planning workshop were based on the results of the civil society organizations assembly in Tacurong City on December 16, 2013. Representatives of thirty-three civil society organizations analyzed the poverty situation in the city and identified strategies to address the problems. Among the priority issues identified were: unemployment, low income of families, farmers’ high debts, child labor, and informal settlers.

Projects proposed during the LPRAT workshop will still be subject to final evaluation of the City Planning and Coordinator’s Office. After final consolidation, the list of priority projects will be submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government XII. Then, LGU project proposals will be reviewed and validated come February 2014 during the Regional PRAT meeting. Once approved, local poverty reduction plans will be submitted to RPRAT thru DILG XII.  

To implement the anti-poverty projects in 2015, a budget cap amounting to fifteen million pesos (PhP 15,000,000.00) will be given to Tacurong City through the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (formerly known as the Bottom-Up Budgeting Program), Fiscal Year 2015.  

Grassroots Participatory Budgeting is an approach to preparing the budget proposal of agencies, taking into consideration the development needs of cities/municipalities as identified in their respective local poverty reduction action plans. These plans must have been formulated with strong participation of basic sector organizations and civil society organizations.

LPRAT, which is created by Executive Order No. 03-2014, is composed of LGU officials, heads of national government agencies, and leaders of civil society groups in the city. As mandated by DBM-DILG-DSWD-NAPC Joint Memorandum Circular No. 4, government officials must compose 50% of the LPRAT members while civil society organizations will make up the remaining 50%.

Jezereel Louise Billano