Anti-poverty program investments reach P3.9-B

Camilo Gudmalin, national project manager of Kalahi-CIDSS, said the World Bank-assisted program has so far completed at least 2,500 sub-projects spread across 4,229 "poorest of the poor" barangays in 184 municipalities of 42 provinces in the country.

"These are basically small infrastructure projects and services but they've brought tremendous impact to these poor communities, mainly because they were identified and implemented by the beneficiaries themselves," said Gudmalin, who recently several Kalahi projects here and in nearby T'boli town.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a six-year anti-poverty initiative implemented since 2003 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.    

In Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao, the program is currently being implemented in the towns of President Roxas, Libungan, Magpet in North Cotabato; Columbio and Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat; Lake Sebu and T'boli in South Cotabato; and Malapatan and Malungon in Sarangani.

As of December 2007, Gudmalin said the program already used up at least P2 billion of the P5 billion earlier allotted by the national government through a soft loan from the World Bank.

He said the counterpart fund coming from the provincial, municipal and barangay governments have so far reached P1.9 billion.

"The required local government counterpart is only 30 percent but the present figures so far have reached 34 percent," he said.

For this year, Gudmalin said the national government has allotted P1.6 billion to start the implementation of 1,400 sub-projects that are in the pipeline until the program's completion by June 30, 2009.

"We are actually working on fast mode so we will be able to meet our target by the end of the program next year," he said.

Based on the program's utilization of the government's P5-billion loan from the World Bank, Gudmalin said their accomplishment has so far only reached about 60 percent.

But he said they are very confident of meeting their target within the next 16 months since most of the remaining projects are now ready for implementation. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)