Learning the ropes-A A +A
Friday, October 26, 2012
ANOTHER elected official who is still learning the ropes, but this time in Congress, is Second District Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano, sister of erstwhile Rep. Vincent Garcia and daughter of the congressman before them, Manuel Garcia.
For this neophyte congressman, her major obstacle is reaching out to barangay officials.
In an interview, Susan Simpol, project coordinator of Davao City District 2 congresswoman Mylene Garcia, said that he usual problem every time they conduct an outreach program in barangays are the barangay chairs who are not allies of the congresswoman. Unresponsive barangay officials because of political loyalties spell doom for any project, she said.
They are able to break this status quo by reaching out to responsive barangay councilors, especially with regards social services.
“Maski dili namo area, naa gihapun mi projects (Even if it’s not our turf, we still have projects there),” she said.
The Office of Congresswoman Garcia has supported education by way of empowering the skilled workers in the fields of welding, commercial cooking, bar tending, and housekeeping to selected scholars in partnership with Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) 11.
Simpol admits that these are not made available to as wide a pool of beneficiaries as they would have wanted, since again, they course these through the barangay councils not having the manpower to implement them all.
“Sometimes when we inform them about the availability of such opportunities, they will select those who are closest to them. When we say there are five slots, they will only pick those whom they only know,” she said.
Again, they try to find a way around this by holding community-based technology trainings wherein they go to the community to offer training programs on welding, electrical maintenance and installation, rock servicing or refrigeration and airconditioning services, beauty care, and food processing through the help of Tesda 11 and Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 11.
Tesda 11 is the one that gave the training to the scholars while Dole 11 provided them with the starter-kits to start their own business out of the skills they honed from the training programs.
The community-based technology training, which started in Mandug early February, runs for a total of 10 hours. She said their cooperation with the two agencies really help them a lot in the implementation of their programs because doing so with only the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) will not suffice.
She said Garcia’s PDAF commonly known as pork barrel is only P70 million a year, which is divided into two tranches. This amount will not be enough to finance all their projects in infrastructures and social service welfare programs for the entire year.
She added Garcia also has more than 1,200 scholars in University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep) wherein the congresswoman allocates P6 million every semester for the scholars. She said the scholarship program contributes at least P5,000 in tuition fee of every scholar.
The scholars are evaluated every semester on whether they are still eligible, depending on their performance. Theirs is not to demand that the scholar maintain high grades as the most needy are usually less able to compete academically. For as long as scholars do not fail a subject, then they remain as scholars.
Garcia is also focusing projects in the construction of school buildings, flood control, and road networks. With these projects, the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) 11 is a partner agency in implementing these projects.
Last June this year, she said Garcia turned-over two classrooms for Paradise Embac National High School in Barangay Pandaitan. The project cost reached a total of P1.5 million, which was sourced from Garcia’s PDAF.
The congresswoman has also partnered with a Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (Agapp), an organization run by President Benigno Aquino III’s Pinky Aquino-Abellada who chairs the foundation.
Through the partnership, some areas in the city where schools are direly needed received additional brand-new buildings just like in Mahayag Elementary School in Buhangin.
For the road construction in far-flung areas, Simpol said it’s the DPWH 11 and the Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 will finance the necessary funding to provide better roads for the farmers to be able to reach the market easier.
There are on-going flood control projects in three areas in Lasang susceptible to soil erosion, in which a total of P70 million was allocated from the national budget while another project is currently in the making in Mandug where about P10 million was set aside from Garcia’s PDAF.
The congresswoman also has an electrification program, in which most of the fund is sourced from Department Of Energy (DOE) and little from her PDAF.
In her term as the Second District congresswoman of the city, a total of 65 post electrical posts last year, while 25 more set for implementation next year.
Sourcing funds from other government agencies as well as from private sectors are said to have helped the congresswoman with the implementation of the projects.
As Third District Rep. Isidro T. Ungab hinted, a congressman has to work a lot and link up with as many agencies as possible lest be tied down to just P70-million PDAF a year. Ungab knows what he’s talking about because the budget he was able to secure for his programs for this year alone has already reached P500-million and he expects this to grow to P800-million by next year.
Is the neophyte congressman Mylene up to the challenge? This we got to see.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 26, 2012.