Thursday, December 26, 2013

Of New Year, Praying and Planning

Creating a new year’s resolution is great especially if we are resolving a certain problem whether personal or related to the community where we belong. Needless to say, if we don’t have any plan, it may be doomed before it ever gets started. Well, majority of individuals who make a new year’s resolution end up breaking it. We must not expect the same for our community planning.

I was first involved in the Buttom-Up Budgeting or BuB though the local poverty reduction action planning workshop in Sablayan way back in January 31, 2013. I found out too that the whole essence of BuB planning and budgeting process can be captured in a short prayer of St. Thomas of Aquinas which was originally recited in Latin that could guide us through the coming year.

The BuB, now called Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) became a buzzword among civil society organizations (CSOs) all over the country and of course, the officers at all levels of the Department of the Interior and Local Government or DILG. I even suspect that it even followed them in their sleep. Here in Occidental Mindoro, again, I had the opportunity to mingle with the CSOs of Paluan and Mamburao for the conduct of the Municipal CSO Assembly as an initial step in the BuB for Fiscal Year 2015. As you could recall, I have posted the account of my first experience with the CSOs in the province through this ENTRY.

The CSO Assembly is an inclusive meeting of all CSOs in certain municipality to be facilitated by the DILG, usually the MLGOO, together with the respective Municipal Planning and Development Offices or MPDOs with the assistance of an accredited CSO by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and that’s how I came into the picture. I am a PO-NGO by heart.

The GPBP/BuB approach is guided by 3 principles: convergence, participation and empowerment. It aims to achieve community empowerment by encouraging citizens to take active roles in the community by articulating their needs to the government and determining what projects are responsive to their needs. The CSO Assembly in Paluan was held at the Senior Citizen’s Building last December 17 while in Mamburao it was held at the Municipal Gymnasium on December 18, 2013.

Aside from rare instance of meeting CSO leaders, I also met the two lady MLGOOs in said two municipalities and instantly became my friends. They are Mesdames Yoly Rose T. Jordan and Maristela H. Guillermo of Paluan and Mamburao, respectively. They, along with their respective MPDCs initiated said activity. I handled/facilitated their selection of members and co-chair to the Local Poverty Reduction Action Tear or LPRAT and the other signatories to the Local Poverty Reduction Plan (LPRAP). The GPBP is an enabling strategy of the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III in realizing governance reforms. Aside from the election of LPRAT representatives and selection of LPRAT co-chairperson and the CSO signatories to the LPRAP, there was a series of orientation and updates rendered by Ma’am Apple Jordan and Ma’am Maris Guillermo in their respective AOR that very day.

The process stimulates partnership between local government and civil society until participatory governance is put into praxis. Mayor Ed B. Gadiano is one of the staunch believers of this imperative partnership between the LGU and the CSOs. He, as we all know, came from the ranks of the CSO before he entered politics. The result of all the local planning and budgeting is the convergence of plans and priorities as projects are harmonized at the national level by national government agencies in their programs and budget for implementation.

Of course there are still gaps in implementing the BuB/GPBP in the province and that need to be addressed by the participating national agencies especially the DILG and NAPC. Anyway, there’s no such thing as finished project in all dimensions of public service. Also, there’s always a room for improvement in local governance. Am I right? CSOs that have constantly involved and engaged in local governance definitely could enhance the delivery of services to our fellow Mindoreno, our people. This should be our collective prayer while allow me to greet you all a prosperous new year!

As I have said, for me, the BuB/GPBP spirit was put into capsule in this prayer that “survived” through many new years: “Ingressum intruas/Progressum custodias/Egressum intuas (Look after the preparations/Survey the results/Harvest the fruits)….

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