The Town That Made CDD Institutionalization a Reality– Sablayan

Nature enthusiasts and adventurers at heart may know this town in Southern Luzon as home to the prestigious Apo Reef, the second largest contiguous reef collection next to Australia’s the Great Barrier Reef. Lies between the Mountain Rages of Iglit and the West Philippine Sea, the wonder-filled town of Sablayan is not only known for its natural resources, but it is also known to be the first in MIMAROPA to adopt the process of Community-Driven Development (CDD) in their local governance strategy.

Sablayan is home to various ethnic and indigenous groups in the country which includes migrant Ilocanos, Cebuanos, and Visayans and the native Alangan Mangyans of Mindoro. Agriculture is the primary source of income of the people. The waters of Sablayan is home to massive schools of tuna fish and now it is competing with General Santos City as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

Despite being a first-class municipality, Sablayan has a high poverty incidence compared to its neighboring towns. This was the reason why it was selected to implement the first leg of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS under KKB: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KKB) in 2003. The communities in the town built a total of ten projects in the span of seven (7) years.

Later in 2011, the town also received funding from DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS under the Millennium Challenge Corporation Makamasang Tugon. It was a bonus one-year modality for municipalities that implemented the KKB.

The participation rate of the community volunteers from the two mentioned modalities of Kalahi CIDSS averaged 70-80% per cycle. Nevertheless, Dionisio Recente, one of the first community volunteers from Brgy Batong Buhay admitted that it was never easy to build the trust and encourage the people to attend the community assemblies. “Nagpapa raffle ang barangay noon para lang mahikayat ang mga tao na dumalo kasi kung walang mga ganoong pakulo ay nako, paniguradong kami kaming mga volunteer lang rin ang andun sa BA [The barangay would had raffle draws to encourage the attendance of the people because without those strategies, only the community volunteers will attend the BA.]”  enthused Dionisio.

These strategies, nevertheless, was effective as there has been a growth on people’s participation in the Kalahi CIDSS program. Soon, there are no more raffle draws to entice the people and yet they continually attended the Barangay Assemblies.  Salvador Quinio, a resident of Barangay San Agustin said “Nakita namin yung kagandahan ng pag punta sa mga patawag ng barangay na pulong kasi napapakinggan yung mga pangangailangan namin at pag sinuswerte ay nakakakuha ng project para sa aming barangay.”

The LGU found the acceptance of the community to participatory development process as noteworthy. Municipal Councilor of Sablayan Hon. Walter B. Marquez saw how the LGU realized the true meaning of participative governance when they witnessed how the community worked hand-in-hand with the LGU in implementing the Kalahi-CIDSS project.

Being a Community Volunteer himself before venturing politics, he saw how the CDD strategy unites the people to improve their community by addressing their basic needs.  “Ang LGU ay katuwang ng mga tao sa pag-unlad. Mas mapapaganda ang pag hahatid ng serbisyo sa mga tao kung aktibo silang nakikilahok para masabi kung ano ang pangangailangan talga ng kanilang barangay, at ganoon na nga ang nangyari sa Sablayan.” [LGU is partner of the people in development. The delivery of the service to the people will be better if they will actively participate and voice out the needs in their barangay, and that is what happened in Sablayan.] Said Hon. Marquez.

The LGU of Sablayan broadened their experiences and learning on participative governance from their implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS. In order to sustain these gains, Sablayan issued series of executive orders and legislations anchored in the principle of PTAS (participation, transparency, accountability, and sustainability) principle such as the following:

  • SPECIAL ORDINANCE 2014-006: “ An ordinance institutionalizing strategy for rural development, strengthening volunteerism and for other purposes in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.”

 

  • General Ordinance 2015 GO007: “Ordinance mandating all contractors that will undertake any government projects within the territorial jurisdiction of Sablayan, should hire 40% of their labor requirements from Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 2014-002

“Amending Municipal Development Council (MDC) composition” Community Volunteers represented in Local Special Bodies, BDC and MDC.

 

  • ANNUAL BUDGET ORDINANCE

“Institutionalizing the 50% of 20 % MDF to Municipal Community Driven-Development Project since 2011 up to present.”

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2015- 004

“Creating and organizing the Local Project Monitoring Committee (LPMC) in the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.” Includes membership of the Community Volunteers

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2011- 02

“An order mandating the establishment of a Citizens’ Charter for the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro and creating the steering committee and task force for the purpose.”

 

More so, the municipality enacted supportive policies to prioritize the empowerment of the marginalized groups to ensure the inclusion and protection of the marginalized groups. Sablayan also institutionalized IP representation in local legislative councils (Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Barangay, Local Special Bodies).

They also recognized transparency and accountability as salient points to development effectiveness. It has established accountability mechanisms within the systems of the MLGU such as the implementation of Full Disclosure Policy and establishment of a Citizens’ Charter for the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro and creating the steering committee and task force for the purpose (Executive Order No. 2011- 02 and Ordinance Approving the Citizens’ Charter of the Municipality of Sablayan).

To further show transparency and accountability in the local governance, they created the Publication Unit under the Office of the Municipal Mayor (Executive Order No. 2011- 008). The MLGU is now operating the Tinig ng Bayan Radio Program (DWME 103.3 Radyo Natin) and publishes a Quarterly Newsletter. Sablayan has also implemented Seal of Good Barangay Governance (SGBG) 2015 through Executive Order No. 2015- 003.

“Arbor Day” is also institutionalized wherein Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries planted 36,000 coconut seedlings /trees and 60,000 malunggay branches for 3 years. The beneficiaries planted the seedlings in order to have livelihood opportunities aside from the aid they acquire from the government. Renan Bergornia, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary and Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer said that the Arbor Day will not only help them at present but will also benefit the future generations to come.

Through all these initiatives, the Municipality of Sablayan has raised the standards in improved local governance high for the other municipalities in Occidental Mindoro. They were granted various recognition and awards: Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, Seal of Good Housekeeping, Seal of Disaster Preparedness, Excellent Anti-Red Tape Act – Report Card Survey, Most Supportive LGU (DSWD), Kahanga-Hangang Bayan, Top 7 Government Efficiency Award, and Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping.

 

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