It’s a go for NCDDP-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I WAS delighted to learn that last Friday the NEDA Board chaired by no less than President Aquino approved the National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP). The news was a welcome development for me who has started his career with its predecessor.
The NCDDP is the scale up of the existing Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a special project implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as one of its three core programs (alongside the Conditional Cash Transfer and the Sustainable Livelihood Program).
Just like Kalahi-CIDSS, communities to be covered by the NCDDP will go through the community-driven development (CDD) approach. Through the process, people are empowered to directly participate in local governance by identifying their own community needs, planning for interventions, implementing these identified solutions, and monitoring these projects to collectively address poverty at the barangay level.
With the green light on for NCDDP, the CDD approach employed in the Kalahi-CIDSS Project will now be made a national strategy for poverty reduction and for local development. Moreover, more government agencies will be involved in its implementation as the DSWD will remain on the lead.
Since 2003, I have seen how the CDD approach implemented through Kalahi-CIDSS has empowered local communities in the Cordillera Administrative Region. While allowing me to traverse the provinces of the region, the program also showed me how the collective action of the poor can bring about changes for the greater good.
I have seen how senior citizens, women, and children who are often branded as marginalized sectors became actively involved in development work. Many of them have voluntarily worked to build small bridges, roads, day care centers, school buildings, health stations, and many other community projects.
With these, the people have developed a high sense of ownership in these small projects made by their hands. Conversely, local governments have been made accountable as they were required to provide mandatory counterparts for these projects.
Project funds are well accounted for in the project because of regular fiduciary reviews. After each project is completed, an accountability reporting is conducted so that all expenditures are presented to the barangay down to the last centavo.
For traditional power holders, the CDD was not a vehicle for profit gain but for those leaders who believe in democracy at work, the project was welcome and was regarded as a highly successful intervention for poverty reduction.
In fact, 165 mayors including those from Cordillera who have experienced the CDD under the Kalahi-CIDSS project helped endorse the NCDDP scale up through a Manifesto of Support to the President.
According to the DSWD, the program has a projected total cost of over 87 billion pesos. It is also expected that the NCDDP, which will continue to sustain CDD principles and practices under the bottom up planning, will be launched in the second half of 2013 and will be implemented for a period of five years in 851 municipalities nationwide.
This number would translate to at least 44 municipalities (from only 17 municipalities) in the Cordillera that are set to implement the development program in the next semester.
I am quite excited that the NCDDP will expand to more areas in the entire country including those areas that have been not covered before in the Cordillera. This time, I am also keen to observe how local government units will respond to what has been dubbed as a “radical approach” to development as it gives citizens direct control over decisions and resources.
For someone who has experienced implementing the program, I have high hopes that more communities especially their local government units will appreciate what CDD offers – participation, transparency, and accountability – the same values a real democracy should promote.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 23, 2013.