Kalahi projects have no record of fund misuse – Lucentales

Kalahi-CIDSS:KKB stands for Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services:  Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay, a poverty alleviation program managed by the DSWD.

"The program is so transparent that chances of funds being misused or  any corrupt act to prosper are nil," he said.

Lucentales, who is on a two-day swing here to inaugurate projects, said several local government units have actually tried but failed to control the utilization of the Kalahi funds.

He said several local officials had demanded to directly handle the identification and implementation of the projects but were prevented by the terms of reference adopted by the DSWD for the program.

Under the program, which is being implemented in 182 municipalities and 3,000 barangays in the country, the beneficiary-barangays receive a grant of P300,000 each for three cycles. Each cycle lasts for one year.

"We directly deliver the funds to the communities through own bank accounts and we give them the free hand to identify their own problems, propose solutions and later implement these solutions in the  form of small but high-impact projects," said Lucentales, also national deputy project director of Kalahi.

Under the scheme, Lucentales said the beneficiary-community themselves implement and eventually manage and maintain the projects, which are mostly on infrastructure and services.

He said such strategy was designed to address Kalahi's goal to "empower the communities by providing the basic support services that would enhance their socio-economic development."

"The system also ensures transparency. The community themselves make sure that every centavo granted for the project are indeed spent and properly accounted for," Lucentales said.

As a result, the program was able to complete a 1,000-square meter  solar drier with a 1,000-bag capacity warehouse in Barangay Lower Maculan here that cost only P873,483.       

The project is now being used by the Barangay Lower Maculan Multi-Sectoral Association, composed of local farmers,  to dry and store their agricultural products.

In Barangay Lamlahak, residents built a double barrel box culvert and stabilized a portion of the road leading to their village with gravel for a total budget of P1.251 million.

The box culvert now connects the village to the town proper here and provides access to the famed Traankeni Falls, an emerging tourist attraction in the area.

On Tuesday, Lucentales personally led the inauguration of the two small "but high impact" Kalahi sub-projects here.        

Another project, a three-classroom building in barangay Lamcade here is scheduled for turnover and formal opening today.

Engr. Rolly Teofilo, Kalahi engineer, said the government already saved a lot of money with the three Kalahi projects here.

He said the program only granted P626,688 for the Maculan solar drier and warehouse, P764,668 for the Lamlahak box culvert and P1.158 million for the three-classroom building in Lamcade.

"These projects would have cost millions if they were sub-contracted to private companies," he said.

Teofilo said their huge savings were from the manpower provided by the community volunteers and the use of equipment provided  by local government units in the area.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)