US funding agency visits Negros Oriental-A A +A
Friday, October 11, 2013
MANJUYOD, Negros Oriental -- The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the United States congress-made funding agency for the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) project, recently visited the Philippines, particularly the province of Negros Oriental, to see the project implementation activities for themselves.
The group was led by the MCC Country Manager Matt Bohn and Deputy Country Manager John Polk who are both staying in the country until the contract is completed in 2015.
Delegates from Washington DC also joined the visit, including MCC Assistant General Counsel for Administration John Mantini and Associate Director for Environment and Social Performance Aaron Becker, together with MCC consultants Albab Akanda and Rick Messick.
Polk talked with Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo during their courtesy call at the Provincial Capitol in Dumaguete City.
"We are very proud of how the Kalahi-CIDSS has grown from a project of DSWD as now a national program of the Philippines. That is also why the MCC has poured in money to this community-driven project because we believe that in addressing the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the aspect of reducing poverty, it should start at the communities themselves, empowering them and providing them with the right skills in addressing development which Kalahi-CIDSS has been doing," he said.
The deputy country manager also explained to the provincial governor the objectives of their visit.
"One of the reasons why we are here is to come together, work out issues and concerns and plan forward for a more efficient project implementation. We also need to review the goals of the compact and do reporting for the American citizens since the MCC funding comes from them [taxpayers'] in the United States," he added.
Under the Philippine compact, which was signed in 2010, MCC has extended a $434-million grant to the Philippines to fund the implementation of three projects, including the Kalahi-CIDSS over a five-year period. The long-term goal is to reduce poverty in the country through economic growth.
Together with representatives from the national and regional of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the group visited the towns of Manjuyod, Pamplona, Mabinay, Dauin and Bindoy for the whole four-day visit.
As of May 2013, MCC has funded a total of P253,050,000 to implement 330 small-scale infrastructure projects of the 25 towns in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
The second cycle of implementation in Negros Oriental has started, which means that another P103,050,000 MCC grant will be allocated for the towns in Negros Oriental.
Communities will have to identify and conceptualize needed projects of their communities and present them during the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum, wherein all villages will gather and vote for the best and most urgent community projects of their respective municipalities for possible funding.
Kalahi-CIDSS is the flagship poverty reduction program of the DSWD. As its Community-Driven Development strategy has been proven to be effective in empowering communities to own the whole development process and address their needs, it has been scaled up into a national program now coined as the National Community-Driven Development Program, which will be officially launched nationwide sometime soon. (PR)