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PIA Press Release
2010/12/04

Feature: Initiating changes in LGU setup for KALAHI-CIDSS success

by Leslie Lao-Francisco

Davao City (4 December) -- In any government projects, particularly those implemented in coordination with local government units, the wholehearted support of the local officials is necessary for their success.

In the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan ? Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KALAHI-CIDSS:KKB) implementation system, this becomes a little bolder because it is not only the cooperation which is necessary, but empowerment is what makes it a better proposition.

So it is not surprising former mayor Givel Montejo-Mamaril has the knowledge of what it takes to make a project succeed considering that her municipality, Malalag in Davao del Sur, was among the first beneficiaries of the then CIDSS, the forerunner of KALAHI-CIDSS.

Mamaril was among the speakers of the weeklong orientation training for Municipal Coordinating Teams (MCTs) and Municipal Inter-Agency Committee (MIAC) members on the Makamasang Tugon Community Driven Development ? Local Planning Process (CDD-LPP) Harmonization Pilot Initiative. Her session focused on the role of the local government units in development and poverty reduction through KALAHI-CIDSS.

One of the principles of KALAHI-CIDSS is to empower communities, and this empowerment "must also be inculcated in the mindset of those who are leading its implementations, particularly local chief executives."

Mamaril, who spent two terms as chief executive, was emphatic in pointing out that the local government needs to overhaul its mindset considering that "public sector organizations are often perceived as resisting change."

LGUs, she added, must think of changing their ways in delivering services. In the past, project implementation was solely intended as a compliance mechanism rather than seeing to it that it would work to make the community better.

Changes in the LGU

To become more effective in implementing programs like the KALAHI-CIDSS, Mamaril pointed out that there must be a "top-down change management based on the assumption that if managers plan things properly, change can be executed properly. The only obstacle comes from the resistance of the employees."

To address the refusal of employees to adopt a new system, leaders must be able to transform themselves into effective managers, like those running business corporations, by adopting an "out-of-the box" thinking and must be able to innovate. But they must also be able to provide "a safe environment" in implementing the innovations, she added.

These officials, she added, must come up with steps that will lead to the introduction of new systems necessary to improving the delivery of services and programs. Those below their rungs must also be able to adjust to these systems to make the whole LGU run like a well-oiled machine.

One focus is that LGU should always adhere to result-oriented systems to "produce appropriate outputs," Mamaril said.

"All models highlight the importance of leadership, communications and involving people in the change process," she added.

Capacity development and empowerment

Local government units must not only be capacitated but, like the ordinary people, must also be empowered for them to succeed in their undertakings. A local government unit is capacitated if it is able to improve its skills and that of its people, while it is empowered if it is able to utilize these skills in its functions.

This is necessary because, as the Chinese proverb says: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." This provides a venue to the local government units to eventually morph into independent entities.

In the present setup, LGUs, except for a few, are mainly dependent on the national government. For example, most local governments cannot function unless the national government releases their internal revenue allotments.

Mamaril, in her presentation, pointed out that LGUs "must produce outputs resulting from increased capacity and these must contribute to development."

When these branches of governments are already capacitated, the immediate result is that they are able to efficiently deliver outputs based on their program specifications. "Tracking and assessing specific changes help LGUs learn how to improve capacity and provide clearer basis for accountability," she added. (DSWD-XI) [top]

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