World Bank execs to visit KALAHI projects in Sarangani, South Cot

Gemma Rivera, project manager of KALAHI-CIDSS in Region 12, said the World Bank delegation, which will be led by Philippines country director Dr. Bert Hofman and its economist Andrew Parker, will visit KALAHI projects in Malapatan town in Sarangani and in T'boli and Lake Sebu towns in South Cotabato.

Rivera said Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Assistant Secretary Ruel Lucentales and other representatives of government line agencies from Manila will accompany Hofman and Parker.

"They will look into the implementation of anti-poverty projects and possibly consider the projects’ extension," she said in a press statement.

KALAHI-CIDSS stands for Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a World Bank-assisted anti-poverty initiative implemented since 2003 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Rivera said World Bank officials are currently evaluating the implementation of the program and may decide its extension before it ends in 2009.

Hofman, a Dutch national, used to head the economics unit at the World Bank office in Beijing.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said that Hofman, as the new country director of the World Bank in the Philippines, is travelling throughout the country to meet with their development partners and get a better understanding of the Philippines, its culture and development challenges.

Hofman has 15 years of experience in the World Bank, 12 of which in Asia. His most recent assignment was in China where he headed a team that provided economic policy advice to the government.

Previous to his China assignment, Hofman spent more than five years in Indonesia as it was recovering from the Asian crisis. Before Indonesia, he worked for the World Bank in China, Brazil, South Africa, Mongolia, Zambia, and Namibia.

Taha said World Bank officials will specifically look into the water system and school building sub-projects in T'boli and solar dyer with warehouse in Lake Sebu towns.

"We are optimistic to get a very satisfactory rating from them," Taha said.

A flagship program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched in 2003, KALAHI-CIDSS 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.
Under the scheme, villagers are trained to identify their most urgent deprivations, design the projects and write proposals to address these needs. The best proposals in the municipality win the funding for the projects. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)