Balangiga is included in localized procurement reform program
TACLOBAN CITY – The municipality of Balangiga, Eastern Samar was included in the 12 “disadvantaged” towns in the nationwide implementation of the Japan-funded localized procurement reform project.
The Government Procurement Policy Board (GPBB) is pushing for civil society organizations (CSOs) participation in the budgeting process of these identified poor municipalities.
Melissa Santiago-Yan, head of the capacity building division of the GPBB Technical Service Office, said they are rolling out a new local government procurement manual in these pilot areas, which seeks to address the issue of lack of support in advancing the implementation of the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) of 2003.
The system will employ the community participation approach adopted by the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“We welcome the inclusion of our town in this project. We have been encouraging the participation of civil society group because we want them to take part of all programs of the local government,” said Balangiga Mayor Viscuso De Lira in a brief interview.
The mayor believed that the effective implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS in their locality could be one of the factors why they were tagged as pilot area. About half of the villages in Balangiga are covered by the anti-poverty program.
Department of Budget and Management Regional Director Imelda Laceras said they are committed to facilitate the project by training LGU officials and assist GPBB.
The project aims to harmonize the community based procurement practices and experiences of the KALAHI-CIDSS project with the community-participation provision in the GPRA to ensure participatory procurement reforms.
“We will see if we can use the system without going against the provisions of GPRA. One alternative method in procurement law is community participation. We let the community participate by identifying projects of the government,” Yan told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
The initiative is under the Japan Social Development Fund Supported Project (JSDF) Funded “Improving the Quality and Responsiveness of Public Spending in Poor Communities through Localized Procurement Reform” project (JSDF Project).
“This is very timely because the corruption now is in the local government. I hope this project will address the problem,” said Agustin Docena, president of the non-government Eastern Samar Social Development Organization.
These 12 municipalities are Asipulo, Ifugao; Bani, Pangasinan; Amulung Cagayan; Mulanay, Quezon; San Remigio, Antique; Manjuyod, Negros Oriental; Balangiga, Eastern Samar; Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay; Malitbog, Bukidnon; Santa Maria, Davao Del Sur; and Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.
GPRA aims for modernization, standardization and regulation of procurement activities of the government. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)
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