SouthCot wants BDCs activated

Bella Lechonsito, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer, said they will reconvene the BDC's in at least 28 pilot barangays covered by its flagship socio-economic initiative, Development Alternative Framework, or Project DAF.

Project DAF is an 11-month-old program of the provincial government that aims to develop the marginalized areas of the province through the convergence of various local and national government-funded programs.  

Lechonsito, Project DAF consultant, said there is a need to reorganize and activate the BDCs in the province to allow local stakeholders themselves to craft their own development plans.

"Many barangays in the province have yet to activate their BDCs despite the fact that it is required by the law. So we are now facilitating the activation of BDCs within our pilot areas so they would serve as models of functional BDCs," she said.

Lechonsito said the activation of the BDCs is very important as they would practically dictate the program's implementation.

Initially, Lechonsito said Project DAF facilitated the conduct of an orientation on BDC for the project's convergence workers and stakeholders by experts from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Nelson Baluran, DILG-South Cotabato Capability Building Section's chief of operations, explained that local development councils are very important since they serve as the main planning and advisory bodies of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.

He said the councils practically set the direction of a local government unit's (LGU) economic and social development undertakings.

Baluran pointed out that Section 106 Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 mandates LGUs to come up with a comprehensive development plan initiated by its development council and approved by its Sanggunian or legislative council.

He said the functions of the BDC include the mobilization of peoples' participation in local development efforts, preparation of the Barangay Development Plan based on local requirements as well as monitor and evaluation of the implementation of national or locally-initiated programs and projects.

Baluran said that based on their recent field supervision and monitoring on several BDCs in South Cotabato, most of them are not functioning due to the inactivity of some barangay officials and the lack of awareness among village officials about their functions and obligations to the community.

Ramon Ponce de Leon, Project DAF manager, said they are currently working with the DILG for the issuance of a directive to the Municipal Local Government Officers in the province's 10 towns and lone city to help facilitate the reorganization of the BDCs.