The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today assured the public of transparency in the implementation of the P16.44-billion Barangay Development Program which will bring infrastructure and development projects to some 822 remote and neglected barangays nationwide that have been cleared of communist influence by government forces since 2019.
“The government’s efforts in clearing these barangays of communist terrorists will be put to waste if we suddenly leave them hanging now that they have been freed from the clutches of communist terrorist groups. We therefore appeal to our Senators not to deprive these barangays of government support and assistance now that they need us most,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
Año said the P16.44-billion fund for various infrastructure projects through the Support to the Barangay Development Program (SBDP) will bring development and improve the conditions of the people living in the remote 822 barangays mostly in mountainous areas that have long been neglected by the government.
“The very reason that these barangays were misled and influenced by the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) is because the people never felt the presence of government. For the first time, they will get the government attention and assistance that they deserve,” he said.
Several senators and House representatives have sought to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and realign its budget, including the funds for the Barangay Development Program. The DILG is one of the key member-agencies of the NTF-ELCAC.
The DILG Chief said that under the SBDP, each cleared barangay will be given up to P20-million for various projects like farm-to-market roads; school buildings; water and sanitation system; health stations; rural electrification; agricultural, livelihood, and technical vocational training or projects; assistance to indigent individuals or families; housing; COVID-19 Vaccination and other health-related projects; and projects in connection with natural or human-induced calamities.
“After more than 50 years of insurgency problem, we are finally gaining traction in the whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict through the efforts of our government forces and with the Barangay Development Program. Ituloy-tuloy na po natin ito para hindi na muli makapanggoyo pa ang mga communist terrorists at magkarooon na ng tunay na kapayapaan at kaunlaran lalo na sa 822 barangays na ito na matagal nang naiwan sa laylayan ng lipunan,” he said.
According to Año, a total of 2,386 SBDP projects have been identified by the local government units (LGUs) themselves across 40 provinces, 198 cities and municipalities, and 822 barangays nationwide. So far, 1,460 out of 2,386 proposed projects have been endorsed to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) worth P8.282-billion. These will benefit 31 provinces, 127 cities and municipalities, and 487 barangays nationwide.
Of the P16.44-billion SBDP fund, Region XI will receive P4.3-billion; Region XIII will get P3.82-billion; Region X will have P2.38-billion; Region VI will have P1.48-billion, and Region XII will receive P1.24-billion. Meanwhile, Region V will get P980-million; Region IX will have P680-million; Region IV-A will have P600-million; Region IV-B will get P500-million; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will have P160-million; Region VIII and Region II will receive P120-million each; Region I will get P40-million, and Region III will have P20-million.
Pursuant Executive Order (EO) No. 70, SBDP is a national priority program of the government which provides the much-needed support, both infrastructure and social services, to the 822 barangays that were cleared from insurgency from 2016 to 2019.
Five-step barangay clearing process
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said that the 822 target barangays first underwent the five-step clearing process through the DILG’s Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) before infrastructure projects through the SBDP will be implemented.
“These barangays underwent a long and rigid process before they were declared cleared of communist influence. Nagkaroon ng maraming konsultasyon, dayalogo at training sa mga namumuno at reorientation para sa publiko,” he said.
RCSP is a convergence mechanism for local governments to come together and identify issues and government interventions, particularly at the barangay level. It is based on an empowerment framework that aims to improve people's ability to organize themselves and develop their development by implementing value-chain interventions to improve their current situation.
According to Malaya, Regions VI, X, XI, and XIII have already reached Phase 5 of the RCSP implementation process and have now moved to the SBDP phase. Other regions are expected to continue with their RCSP implementation this 2021.
The phases of barangay clearing are as follows: The RCSP program begins with EO 70 and RCSP orientation for local chief executives (LCE) and Sangguniang Bayan members, followed by Phase 1 on organizing and orienting the provincial, city, and municipal RCSP Core Team.
In the second phase, various activities are carried out, including regular Serbisyo Caravans, immersion proper to match development gaps with existing local programs, and convergence meetings with provincial and national government agencies.
Phase 3 entails assisting LGUs in developing or improving their Barangay Development Plans, Comprehensive Development Plans, or Annual Investment Programs and training and equipping Barangay-Based Institutions (BBIs) to address immediate resolvable gaps (secondary issues) in target barangays.
The fourth phase includes organizing a citizen movement for peace and development, strengthening community security mechanisms and structures, implementing programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) that address primary issues in the barangay, and conducting an information drive on peace, security, and development. The final phase aims to assess the RCSP's implementation results to ensure the program's long-term viability.
“As one of the lead implementing agencies in localizing E0 70, the DILG remains steadfast in working closely with the LGUs so that the people in hard to reach areas will know that the government is working for them and cares for them,” Malaya said.