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  Breakthroughs  
 
  Tales of Local Governance in the Barangays and Municipality of Claveria
By Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc.
 

 
This paper is presented by Barangay Captains Jose Casino, Jr. and Rosalina Babate of Barangays Anei and Kalawitan respectively during the 1st Mindanao CAPP-SIAD Partners and Implementors’ Conference, 16-17 January 2002, Cagayan de Oro City. Both barangays are among the partner-barangays of BMFI in the Municipality of Claveria since 1997.

BMFI is part of the Consortium of the Advancement for People’s Participation in Sustainable Integrated Area Development ( CAPP-SIAD).

First Part

I. Background

Claveria is an agricultural municipality with high potentials for development. The municipality has 24 barangays. Out of the 150,000 hectares of agricultural land in Misamis Oriental, 17% is in Claveria. This is the same reason why the municipality is considered as one of the food baskets which support the whole province. The major crops are corn, banana, tomato and sub-tropical vegetables.

The area enjoys year-round rainfall, with short dry season lasting from one to three months. Claveria is likewise blessed with fertile alluvial soil.

Aside from the vast agricultural lands, Claveria has 82,000 hectares comprising nearly 99% of the entire municipality. If left unprotected, condition may affect the adjoining municipalities.

Although it has enough resources to produce food, sixty three percent of the households have an income below P2,500 a month. About 26% are earning above P2,500 but not more than P4,500.These shows that about 90% of the households are earning below the regional poverty threshold level of about P6,000.

The prevailing problems in the municipality today include the following:

  • Poor farm to market roads
  • Lack of marketing assistance
  • Deteriorating soil condition of farm lands
  • Inadequate production support
  • Inadequate management of natural resources
  • Inadequate organizational capacity

How to administer and manage the municipality is a big challenge to the existing local officials. Limited financial resources is a big problem of the administrator.

II. BMFI’s Interventions in the Municipality
     (Facilitating Factors)

In 1996, BMFI began its intervention in Barangay Patrocenio, considering agrarian reform implementation as its focus intervention. After a year, BMFI extended its work in the adjacent barangay – Kalawitan. At this time, the interventions were broadened, the Barangay Development Council was organized and strengthened along the process of Barangay Development Plan through Participatory Rural Appraisal (BDP – PRA).

Although, BMFI focused on the barangays, ground working was made to include the entire municipality for the SIAD work. BMFI established networks with various agencies and institution involved in the development work such as DAR, DILG, DSWD, MOA, MPDO, MOSCAT and ICRAF.

After the election in 1998, accredited NGOs and POs in the municipality were consulted during the Municipal Development Council (MDC) meeting. This marked the first step towards mainstreaming of SIAD at the municipal-level. Eventually, the MDC through the guidance of the local officials decided to use the BDP-PRA process for the other 22 barangays.

The MDC resolution requesting BMFI to facilitate the local development planning process led to the signing of MOA between LGU and BMFI. Cost sharing was also emphasized with the municipal and barangay LGUs.

At the moment, only 14 barangays had gone through the development planning processes. The BDPs will be eventually incorporated in the formulation of the Municipal Development Plan.

As member of the MDC, the Association of Barangay Captains currently lobbies for the continuation of the process for the other 10 barangays, especially that the municipality has a newly installed Local Chief Executive.

III. Gains, Learnings and Prospect

Municipal Development Planning Council became a venue for project consultation and even prioritization of projects for the allocation of the 20% Municipal development fund.

The local special bodies such as the municipal development council, local health board, pre-bidding and awards committee and other have been reorganized and convened. All registered organizations having development programs and projects in the municipality are encouraged to submit documents for accreditation. This signifies the openness and willingness of the local government unit to forge partnerships with NGOs and POs in the pursuit of genuine development.

Municipal Development Planning Council became a venue for project consultation and even prioritization of projects for the allocation of the 20% Municipal development fund. Thus the funds are not solely devoted to infrastructure-decorative projects but for the projects that addressed the needs of the community.

The Municipal Development Planning Office (MPDO) played a major role in the conduct of the Barangay Development Planning (BDP) through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Out of 24 barangays, 14 of them have completed the planning process while the other 10 barangays have also committed to do the same. The barangays realized the importance of having a BDP which was formulated through community participation and not made by a few people or by the leaders without consultation.

The Barangay Development Plans serve as guide for the communities as well as the government line agencies and non-government organizations that want work in partnership with the community in the implementation of projects.

A stakeholders’ forum was conducted after the barangay development planning. It was a venue for the barangays to present their programs and projects to local, provincial, regional and even international partners. Several projects gained support from the partners and most of these projects have been successfully implemented like the potable water systems, livelihood projects, construction of farm to market roads and many others.

The Barangay Development Plans serve as guide for the communities as well as the government line agencies and non-government organizations that want work in partnership with the community in the implementation of projects.

Prospects

  1. Incorporate all 22 barangay development plans in the comprehensive municipal development plan.
  2. The experience of Barangay LGUs in Claveria has influenced neighboring municipalities.

IV. Hindering Factors

  1. People’s participation remains difficult when community activities conflict with regular farming activities.
  2. Traditional concepts such as the belief that the management of the barangay is an absolute power of the Punong Barangay or the Local Chief Executive.

V. Sustaining Mechanisms

To sustain the development interventions for the municipality, the systems were installed:

  1. Facilitation of the processes in BDP-PRAs is not done by BMFI alone. Local Community Organizers and MPDO staff were trained for effective technology transfer of the local planning process.
  2. With the aspiration to empower the partner communities, BMFI continues to train local farmer technicians and paralegals in addition to the local community organizers.
  3. Building partners’ capacities to negotiate funding from stakeholders like funding agencies and line agencies.

Second Part: Governance at Barangay Level

I. Background

Barangay Kalawitan is the second focus area of BMFI in Claveria. Having an area of 531 hectares with 432 population and 83 households, the barangay is classified rural and agricultural.

The barangay was named Kalawitan by Datu Panday, a Higaonon chieftain in the mid 50s. It was derived from the word Kalawit, a wooden rod used to catch snakes. Since the place was forested, snaked were believed to be everywhere. However, some says that the barangay was named Kalawitan because of the "Kalaw" birds singing ("awit"). Hence, the name KALAWITAN.

In 1963, Kalawitan was created as a Barangay from being a mere sitio of Barangay Hinaplanan. The first settlers were Higaonons until in 1970s when the dumagats migrated to the area. It was also the time when a logging company named PEDAN logging corporation operated in the barangay.

The barangay was once declared “No Man’s Land” in the early 80’s due to heavy military operations against the New People’s Army. It was only after the installation of President Aquino in 1986 that people returned to start farming again.

Major crops are corn and coconut. The biggest portion of the land in the barangay is practically tenanted wherein most of the tenants are giving 70% share to the land owner for coconut while 25% for the corn. Even if the place is an agricultural area, the residents often experience food shortage. Based on the farm & household survey in 1998, the annual gross income of each household is P34,287.62.

Prior to entry of BMFI into the community, democratic process in governance is far from reality. The community was not consulted in the formulation of plans and the BDC were formed yet non-functional. There are people's organization organized but have no concrete programs and projects. The residents had the notion that the barangay captain is the all-knowing and most powerful person who runs the barangay government.

II. BMFI’s Interventions

After the May 1997 election, BMFI recognized the prospect of extending the SIAD program to Kalawitan, especially that the newly formed Barangay Council (BC) were all new and receptive to the program.

Together with a Barangay official from Patrocinio, BMFI conducted informal visits and attended BC regular sessions to express the intention of the program.

After a series of talks and despite the background checks by the military, the BC and BMFI decided to forge a partnership to jointly conduct the PRA-BDP. For the BDC representative from the youth, women, farmers and other POs, it was their first time to experience to be involved in local development process.

Resource Tenure Improvement (RTI)

The Barangay Council, KMK and BMFI initiated the organizing of the RTI committee. This committee focuses on the RTI concerns and issues particularly on land ownership and protection of the tenants. Basic Orientation seminar on Agrarian Reform was conducted and this was attended by several barangay residents. This was followed by the conduct of the RTI survey to assess the status of the farmers in relation to the land they were tilling.

After the survey was conducted, several issues surfaced such as the unjust sharing of the tenants and land owner, no issuance of CLOA to CARP beneficiaries and defective CLOAs. These problems encouraged the people to hasten the identification and training of barangay paralegals, though it is hoped that the paralegals will not only focus on RTI issues. Monthly meetings and tactic sessions are held in the barangay together with the representative of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Organizational Development

BMFI facilitated in the organizing of the Kahugpungan sa Mga Mag-uuma sa Kalawitan (KMK).

Some of the trainings conducted are the Local Governance Seminar, Empowering Leadership Training, Strategic Development Planning, Cooperative Development, Basic Paralegal Training, Community Advocates Basic Seminar and Local Facilitators Training.

At present, there are 5 farmer technicians, 5 paralegals and 1 local community organizer. They are called as the community advocates in general. They serve as the “arms” of the barangay development council to support the implementation of the barangay development plan.

Agricultural Development

Diversified integrated farming system is the agricultural program being implemented in the barangay. Farmer technicians have been identified and endorsed by the BDC. These technicians were trained on the concepts and principles of sustainable agriculture. By 2001, they were able to establish 3 trial farms on OPV corn.

Livelihood Development

The BDC prioritized livelihood projects based on their barangay development plan. BMFI organized and conducted a proposal writeshop to help develop their capability in proposal writing. Since their BDF is not enough to finance all their livelihood projects, BMFI initiated activities to help them in external fund accessing while emphasizing internal resource mobilization as the foundation of resource generation. The CAPP-SIAD barangay development support fund is also very helpful as it continue to be used by the barangay to start their projects with local counterparts as well.

Infrastructure Development

There are available congressional, provincial and municipal funds that need counterpart from the Barangay. Since these funds cannot be accessed by the barangay without also having counterpart, BMFI through CAPP-SIAD has made available small infrastructure funds that can be used as counterparts.

III. Concrete Gains

  1. The strengthening of KMK is continuing. Organizational development interventions such as leadership training, formulation of VMG and strategic planning workshop have been made. The organization is now registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It continues to be a major development player in the barangay.
     
  2. BMFI helped facilitate the accessing of resources from the British Embassy for the purchase of one (1) unit Corn Sheller. The equipment now serves the KMK members and other residents of Kalawitan as well. Another major project that the organization is managing is the Goat Dispersal Project. The Food Security Fund of the municipal government facilitated the realization of this project aside from the CAPP-SIAD Livelihood Development Fund.
     
  3. The Women’s Association of Kalawitan was also able to access funds for the purchase of sewing machine from the municipal government. Currently, the group is into garment production and caters to the garment needs of the families in the barangay.
     
  4. Several projects are being implemented in the barangay through the cooperation of various sectors. Resource tenure improvement, agricultural and organizational development and local governance related projects are also going on. Currently, Barangay Kalawitan implements projects that were prioritized by the BDC such as solar dryer, potable water system and livelihood projects.
     
  5. Together with the PO representatives, the BDC also plays active role in the preparation and passing of the Annual Operation Plan and Annual Investment Plan both were used as basis for the expenditures.

IV. Facilitating Factors

  1. The election of new barangay officials marked the opening of the barangay for opportunities towards development and empowerment.
     
  2. Increased participation of people’s organization like the WAOKA and KMK. These POs are now willing to learn the planning process and handle community projects, which has direct effect on the improvement of the quality of life.
     
  3. Openness of the LGU to engage in partnership with the non-government organization such as BMFI and other institutions to realize genuine development through participatory approach.

III. Sustaining Mechanism

  1. Continuous education through training and clinics for BDC and local officials guarantees internalization of the process.
     
  2. The Barangay must explore creative means to mobilize resources and depend less from the IRA.
     
  3. Continue the work of helping empower the people's organizations and develop their capability in planning, resource mobilization, project implementation and participatory monitoring and evaluation.
     
  4. Strengthen the Barangay Development Council through continuing education and information regarding the Local Government Code and other mandated laws that promotes local autonomy and democracy.
 

Helping Build Empowered and Sustainable Communities in Mindanao. Helping Build Peace.