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PCF builds roads, beach facilities of MisOcc townsJanuary 8, 2012

More often than not, low-income municipalities and cities have very bright project ideas for their constituents but have no adequate funds to implement them.  They are just relying on their small revenues and share from  national revenue collections, as well as dole-outs from their provincial governments and congressmen to finance some of their projects.

Such is the case with many local governments, especially those belonging to the fourth to sixth income classes. 

However, for those that, in spite of their meager resources and low economic condition, exhibit good performance and strictly adhere to good governance principles, their efforts do not go unnoticed and were aptly recognized through the Performance Challenge Fund of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Under the PCF program of the Department, local governments that have passed the assessment for good housekeeping by showing high performance  in the key governance areas of planning, fiscal management, transparency and accountability and valuing performance management shall be provided with an incentive fund to help jumpstart their local development projects.

Qualified LGUs should have also fully complied with the Department’s full disclosure policy and have no adverse reports from the Commission on Audit (COA).

 

Not a Dole-Out

The PCF program provides a subsidy of P1-million for municipalities, and P3-million for cities that should be utilized for development initiatives that are aligned with the national government’s programs for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, tourism and local economic development, disaster risk reduction and management and solid waste management.

The PCF is a subsidy and an incentive, not a dole-out.  

The program does not intend to just hand over funds to qualified LGUs or let them solely rely on it for their projects.  Rather, they should show willingness and capability to provide a counterpart fund.  In this way, they will feel a sense of ownership of the project.

After all, PCF does not come on a silver platter.  LGUs have to meet several requirements and go through numerous processes to be able to avail of the fund.

First, upon conferment of the SGH, eligible LGUs shall submit within 30 days a letter of intent along with other documentary requirements such as project proposal, sanggunian resolution allocating counterpart PCF funds, and certification from the budget officer on funds allocation to their respective DILG regional offices. 

And as soon as the project proposal is approved, the eligible LGU shall enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the DILG through the regional director and issued with a certificate of availability of funds. 

Projects that may be financed by the PCF include school buildings, rural health units, water and sanitation system, local roads and bridges, slaughterhouses, flood control, reforestation, postharvest facilities, cold storage facilities, among others.

This year, 319 local government units around the country, composed of 302 fourth to sixth class municipalities and 17 cities, have been conferred with the Seal of Good Housekeeping and availed of the PCF to finance their local development efforts.  

PCF Success Stories

Many success stories have unfolded because of the implementation of PCF. 

These have been noted by the monitoring teams that were deployed in the different LGUs-beneficiaries to assess the progress of the PCF-funded projects.

Among the projects assessed were two roads and a municipal beach resort in Northern Mindanao, particularly in Calamba and Clarin in Misamis Occidental.

The total cost of these PCF infrastructure projects is roughly P4-million, which comes from a 50-50 equal sharing between the recipient LGU and the PCF.  

 

Rough, Stony and Muddy Roads No More

Residents of Brgy. Calamba in the town with the same name in the heart of Misamis Occidental have long suffered the inconvenience of rough, stony and muddy roads in their communities.

As the town became eligible and was granted PCF subsidy, the municipal road, which has a length of 195 meters, was improved and completed in November 15 with a total cost of P1.2-million.

“Dati po nahihirapan kami dito sa aming kalsada dahil mabato at lubak-lubak po, tapos kapag umuulan ay maputik kaya delikado”, says Norma Mulet, a fish vendor and resident of Calamba Municipality for 20 years now.

“Mabuti na lang po at inayos na ang kalsada namin kaya malaki ang aming pasalamat sa aming mga lokal na opisyal sa kanilang tulong”, adds Joel Lomocso, who works as an assistant meter calibrator in the area.

The infrastructure project, which benefits 19,597 people, did not only improve accessibility and reduce travel time as well as increase the number of trips of public utility vehicles, but also enhanced the delivery of social and economic services.

However, some concerns raised by the residents interviewed by the monitoring team were the need for canals  where water could flow especially during the rainy season to avoid flooding, and humps since there is a school nearby and children pass through the road most of the time. 

Covered under the same PCF project is another road in Brgy. Solinog located in the same municipality.

Brgy. Captain Celestina Aguhob said that the road project, which costs P800,000.00,  serves an estimated 400 residents  or 550 households in the barangay composed mostly of quarry laborers.

“Simula nung naayos ang aming kalsada ay madali na naming nailalabas ang aming mga produkto papunta sa mga pamilihan,” Solinog said. 

In order to help maintain the road, she said the barangay collects 50 pesos as “pass through” fee from vehicles carrying goods and other commodities to be sold that traverse the road.

LGU-Owned Beach Resort

The Municipality of Clarin owns and manages a beach resort with a total land area of 4,895 sq m.  However, the town’s beach resort is not without competition as many others with much better facilities and services nearby have made it difficult for the LGU to gain maximum client stronghold.

Hence, in order to restore its competitive edge, the municipal government, after being awarded with the good housekeeping seal, availed of the PCF to upgrade the beach resort’s existing facilities.

The PCF grant was used to construct the second floor of an existing function hall in the resort in order to accommodate more visitors who want to stay longer in the place.  The dormitory will also be used as a transient place for participants of future seminars and conferences. 

With the renovation of the function hall, the municipal beach resort expects to provide more services and attract more customers.

Eventually, this will translate to more revenues and  create more jobs and business opportunities for the inhabitants of Clarin.

Target beneficiaries of the project include the residents of Clarin; Suman Makers Association of Clarin; Women’s Association of Clarin; the Sangguniang Kabataan; and out-of-school youths.

The total expenditure for the whole project amounted to P2 million pesos.  

Challenges

The successful projects of the two Misamis Occidental towns are unique and inspiring stories brought about by the PCF.

As these projects have already been completed, the concerned LGUs should ensure the sustainability of the projects and set up a fund for maintenance, such as in roads, bridges and the like.  It would be a big waste if after a few years, the benefits of such PCF-implemented projects would not be felt anymore because they were not properly maintained by the LGUs.

For  program implementers, the challenge is to institute more stringent criteria for availment to ensure that  only those that are really qualified and capable would be able to avail of the PCF.

There should also be a systematic monitoring and assessment system that will give way to a pre-, during and post-evaluation and validation of the PCF project as well as the projected impact of the project to the residents and the communities. 

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