GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Oct) – The city government is pushing for the institutionalization of a locally initiated mechanism that allows barangays here to plan and implement their own development projects.
Engr. Emerald Signar, head of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO), said Tuesday they have been continuously capacitating barangay officials and personnel to help them properly manage the implementation of infrastructure-related projects in their communities.
He said the mechanism, which is backed by a City Development Council (CDC) resolution, stemmed from discussions and consultations that started in 2018 and 2019 regarding the need to expedite the rollout of local government projects.
The CEO had faced problems in coping with the implementation then of locally funded and national government-supported projects, eventually overwhelming its absorption capacity, he said.
The official said the initiative started through research conducted by their office in 2016 and studies on similar mechanisms implemented by the Koronadal City government.
He said Koronadal allowed its barangays to implement their own projects, specifically in terms of planning and procurement.
The projects only reach its engineering office for the actual construction, especially the testing and monitoring, and the preparation of billing documents.
Signar said they moved for the replication of the initiative through a policy proposal submitted to the CDC’s infrastructure development committee and was eventually adopted by the council through a resolution.
The move was supported by the Commission on Audit and the city government’s internal audit services unit, he said.
“Since our personnel is already tied up with the city-funded and nationally assisted projects, we can now focus more on them,” he said in a radio interview.
Under the mechanism, the barangay development-funded projects should be managed by the barangays, especially the crafting of the plan and the program of work, and preparation of documents for bidding by their own bids and awards committees.
The barangays may hire professionals, such as civil engineers and architects, in coming up with the requirements.
Small barangays or those with lesser Internal Revenue Allotment, the source of the 20-percent barangay development fund, may form a cluster in implementing some of the projects.
“There are already at least three barangays – Bula, Calumpang, and Olympog – that started implementing it although not yet 100 percent as they still referred some of their projects to us,” Signar said.
He said they continually empower the barangays to fully adopt the system by providing them with the necessary assistance.
The CEO provides them with price indexes, how to estimate the project costs and related data, and information on the required standards for government projects.
“We’re hoping that more barangays will implement this and no longer just rely completely on us for their projects,” he added. (MindaNews)