Gov’t agencies, military back CSO empowerment PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 July 2014 11:45

Government line agencies including the local government, provincial government of Basilan and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) showed support to Civil Society Organization’s Social Empowerment program.

During the Second Evaluation and Consultation with the Institutional partners on Wednesday, Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance Inc. (ZABIDA) invited almost 20 government line agencies of local and regional offices.

ZABIDA executive director Esperancita Hupida introduced the project “Integrated Social Empowerment Program for the Marginalized Communities of Zamboanga City and Basilan,” as inspired by the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) planning program of the government which is completing its first year cycle this month.

Hupida told the participants that ZABIDA has made a series of trainings for the capacity-building for marginalized sectors of the community.

She even conveyed that the organization tapped majority of these sectors. Among these are children, youth, farmers, fisher folks, vendors, barangay officials and many others.

Using the three themes Poverty reduction, Peace and Security and Good Governance, the marginalized sectors have been processing the planning for their community development using their own plans with the organization’s assistance.

“We have been preparing them to sustain people’s participation in the barangay development planning and that would eventually link to the government agencies concern for implementation,” Hupida said.

With a lot of sectors tapped by the organization, Dr. Arcadio Cavan of Office of the City Veterinarian recommended that these sectors would be moving as one, and therefore create a committee body that would represent the sectors as a whole.

“They will try to identify how they can engage to the local and national levels, and how will they access funding not only in barangays but to national government as well,” Cavan said.

Uldarico Fabian of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) conveyed that with the gigantic mission of the organization that the government agencies are willing to embrace, and that the key persons of the agencies should really be involved.

“Let us not look at the things as separate entities,” Fabian told the group.

“We should have more capacity-buildings that would involve key persons to participate,” Fabian reiterated.

Cavan agreed that it’s not only the marginalized sectors that need empowerment but also the government line agencies implementing the projects to have harmonious relationships with each other.

Derived from previous experiences, Hupida cited how the non-government organizations (NGOs) usually plan for the community and how NGOs plan with the sectors without relating to the government where some of the projects usually fail.

“Our advocacy in this project now is to bring to the line agencies what the stakeholders want for their own development,” Hupida said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office representative Petronila Amona-Barredo acknowledged ZABIDA for its ideal advocacy for mobilizing the people of its social development as part of people’s participation.

“That is why we call them not as beneficiaries but stakeholders. They are considered as partners,” Barredo said.

Ma. Dinah Villena, of the Department of Trade and Industry-Zamboanga City Office, offered how the agency’s shared service facilities can help and see what technical assistance they can give to sectors that needs livelihood development, stating that in some parts of Zamboanga Peninsula, BUB has already been implemented, while in the city, there is no BUB project yet because there is no specific organization that is asking for such assistance.

Department of Budget and Management Regional Director Wilda Cemine expressed appreciation knowing that ZABIDA in collaboration with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is pushing for the people’s participation.

Ruben Mustafa, from Office of the City Planning in Lantawan, Basilan province having reversed occurrence, wherein the Barangay LGUs are those that come to the office ask what Barangay Development Plan they can give to the Barangay.

“ZABIDA came in an appropriate time, as of now, we are working with the stages for the social empowerment,” Mustafa quipped.

Lt. Col. Taharudin Ampatuan of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) expressed intention to let the soldiers assigned in Basilan to let them join in the planning.

“Peace and Security goes with the economic development of a certain area. Please let the soldiers join for the peace and security,” Ampatuan suggested.

ZABIDA is optimistic that either in BUB or BDP the marginalized sectors plans would come into reality. “If the government may lack resources, we can tap international CSOs who were willing to help, provided we give necessary documents needed,” Hupida said.

At the end of this month, a “Social Empowerment Forum” will be held in this city, having been duly invited the marginalized sectors, government line agencies local and regional, international NGOs and many others for the presentation of the Sectoral Participation in Peace and Community Development and would tackle issues and concerns and hereby bring together responses from concerned agencies.

ZABIDA is a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) that has been established since 1997.

It is a consortium of four NGOs committed to uplift the quality of life disadvantaged sectors in this city Zand in Basilan province. — TPG