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Mayor Montilla shares Tacurong’s CBMS experience in a national forum

“We count to make our people feel that they really count”. This statement summed up Mayor Lina Montilla’s presentation during the 12th Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) National Conference held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Quezon City from February 29 to March 2, 2016.

Mayor Montilla shared the city’s experience CBMS implementation especially on how it served as an essential guide in two aspects of local governance: policymaking and program implementation. The mayor’s presentation also highlighted the use of CBMS in the formulation of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP) as well as the allocation of the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) funds.

Tacurong’s successful implementation of CBMS paved way for it to be invited as resource person in the conference attended by more than 600 participants including local chief executives (LCEs), partners and other stakeholders in the national and local government units across the country.

Notably, Tacurong was also the first in Region XII to implement the CBMS Accelerated Poverty Profiling using android tablets in collecting survey data. Aside from the help of technology, the city’s success in CBMS implementation is largely credited to the integrity of the survey process. Competent enumerators and supervisors, under the close supervision of the City DILG and City Planning Office, closely coordinated with barangay leaders and health workers to reach even the farthest households and ensure the participation of the residents in the survey.

CBMS is a survey tool that collects information at the household level in the barangays for use of Local Government Units (LGUs) and other agencies for planning, program implementation, and monitoring. A major objective of CBMS is to assist in poverty reduction.

Held annually, the CBMS conference aims to provide a venue for participants to discuss current developments, findings and best practices on the implementation of CBMS. This year’s conference was organized by De La Salle University – Angelo King Institute, Partnership for Economic Policy and CBMS Network International, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic Development Authority, and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

Carrying the theme “Pursuing Meaningful Devolution through CBMS”, the conference fittingly coincided with the 25th year of the implementation of the Local Government Code, which devolved to LGUs the responsibility of delivering the services to the public that were previously under the domain of the national government.

DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, who represented Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento as one of the keynote speakers in the conference, lauded the LGUs who invested in the CBMS project in their areas. He said that as more responsibilities are given to the LGUs, the local officials need evidence-based policymaking and program implementation, which the CBMS had appropriately provided.

He specifically acknowledged Mayor Montilla as one of the LCEs who effectively implemented the CBMS project, which in turn benefited her city in responding to the felt needs of the constituents.

Mayor Montilla’s presentation during the conference also elicited praises from the organizers and the participants. CBMS Network Team Leader Dr. Celia Reyes congratulated the mayor for the well-delivered sharing and even asked for a copy of the CBMS video that was used in the latter’s presentation.

Two of the mayors who also served as speakers in the conference, Atty. Gladys Razonable-Gascon of Padada in Davao del Sur and Mayor Mariano Martinez of San Remigio in Cebu , also commended Mayor Montilla for her well-prepared presentation.

One of the highlights of the conference included the recognition of six cities that successfully implemented the CBMS project in the last two years. The cities that were recognized included Tacurong, Escalante, General Trias, Tabuk, Tanauan, and Tandag.

Mayor Montilla is happy that she was able to impart Tacurong’s CBMS experience to other LGUs through the conference adding that the city’s CBMS team is very much willing to assist the LGUs that intend to embark on the said project. Recently, several municipal LGUs from the provinces of Sarangani and Cotabato had already made benchmarking activities in Tacurong. (A. Freno, LGU Tacurong City Information)

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Sarangani LGUs Learn CBMS from Tacurong

Representatives from eight other LGUs in the region visited Tacurong-LGU on February 9, 2016 for a Cross-Learning Visit on Community-Based Monitoring System – Accelerated Poverty Profiling or CBMS APP. A tablet-based household survey of different barangays, CBMS enumerators gather data to be used on disaster risk reduction and management. Tacurong City was the first LGU in the region to implement CBMS-APP.

The visiting LGUs were from the provincial office of Sarangani and municipalities of Glan, Malapatan, Kiamba, Maasim, Alabel, Maitum, and Malungon. The municipal delegates represent their respective Municipal Local Government Office and Municipal Planning and Development Office, which are the main proponents of the CBMS technical working groups.

During the visit, the delegates made a courtesy call to City Mayor Lina O. Montilla where they were welcomed and briefed on Tacurong’s experience in conducting their own CMBS survey last November 2014 to March 2015. The cross-learning was conducted at the CDRRMC building where overviews of the Tacurong City CBMS Implementation was given by Mr. Alberto Sero, CLGOO and CBMS Over-all Coordinator; and Tacurong City CMBS Experience, which was given by Elmer B. Felongco, CBMS Project Coordinator.

The presentations highlighted Tacurong’s own CBMS cross-learning experience in Tanaoan City in Luzon, the processes involved to get the project up and running, and the results attained during the duration of the project.

Tacurong-LGU made sure to advice the visitors on the possible pitfalls of the project, important improvements they can implement in their own CBMS monitoring, and other important tips that can help address idiosyncrasies in LGUs as regards the CBMS project.

The same cross-learning visit has been conducted by Arakan-LGU and Kidapawan-LGU in November 2015. (Yen Robles, Tacurong-LGU)

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2 LGUs solicit insights on Tacurong tablet-based survey

Representatives of the local government units of Arakan and Kidapawan City visited Tacurong City to learn strategies on the conduct of the tablet-based Community-based Monitoring System-Accelerated Poverty Profiling or CBMS-APP, 5 November 2015.

LGU-Tacurong is the first implementer of tablet-based CBMS-APP in Region XII. Household survey in Tacurong was conducted on November 2014 to March 2015 with 24 enumerators equipped with Android tablets that allow them to encode and store data directly to an online database.

Innovations & best practices

During the benchmarking activity, Tacurong CBMS Technical Working Group and Mayor Lina O. Montilla stressed the role of the barangay in the success of the project.

Since Tacurong’s CBMS-APP project is implemented mainly to supply accurate data for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), the LGU earmarked P1 Million pesos for the project from its DRRM Fund. Each of the 20 barangays also allocated a portion of its barangay DRRM Fund for the meals and snacks of the survey team.

Barangay officials and health workers also served as guides and key informants during the household survey. “Malaki ang role ng barangay dahil mas kilala nila ang mga residente nila; alam nila ang lahat ng sulok kung saan may households,” said Elmer Felongco, Tacurong CBMS Project Coordinator.

LGU vehicles were also used to reach the communities. The City Health Office was also tapped to give enumerators free vitamins.

These interventions are important in promoting the welfare of the enumerators. Each enumerator was paid P25 for every household that he/she had surveyed. “Maliit ang sahod pero we make them feel important because what they are doing is really important for the development of the communities,” said Alberto P. Sero Jr., Tacurong DILG Officer.

Enumerators had undergone a rigid screening process. Those who were hired and trained are all computer literate, with experience in conducting surveys, and are not more than 40 years of age. “Using gadgets such as tablets can cause eye stress so preferred to hire those who have clear vision,” said Alberto P. Sero Jr., Tacurong DILG Officer.

Another crucial factor cited by the Tacurong TWG is monitoring. To closely monitor the progress of the survey, Tacurong CBMS-APP Team conducted the survey one barangay at a time. “Hindi namin pinagsabay-sabay ang lahat ng barangay dahil gusto namin na closely monitored ang survey sa bawat barangay,” Felongco stated.

Editors and supervisors, including project coordinators, were deployed in the field with the enumerators. “Sama-sama kami kaya nakikita namin kaagad, first-hand ang progress at kahit ang loopholes. Nakikita naming kung valid ang concerns and if properly filled up ba ang e-questionnaire,” added Felongco.

The LGU, on the other hand, assigned regular and contractual employees to serve as editors. This is to ensure that data collected from households will still be properly processed and organized even after the conduct of the actual survey.

LGU-Tacurong had set a pilot area before the formal implementation of CBMS-APP. Pilot-testing, according to the TWG, helped them identify uncertainties that may arise during full implementation.

Goodwill

“We are willing to share our experience, to our LGU counterparts..everything from the glitches and to the feats. Buliganay guid kita. Kung may nakita sila nga hindi maayo, it will serve as their guide to make better strategies,” said Mayor Montilla.

Focal persons of CBMS-APP of LGU-Arakan and LGU-Kidapawan showed enthusiasm on the strategies that they have learned. They even invited the Tacurong CBMS-APP Team to the training of their enumerators and even in the actual conduct of survey to give inputs.

“Nakita ko sa sharing na crucial ang role ng enumerators, editors, and supervisors. Kailangan valid ang data para walang ma-left behind kapag may projects in the future,” said Julia Geveso, Municipal Government Operations Officer of Arakan, North Cotabato.

JLBillano-Fabreag

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