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San Antonio LGU prove effective leadership through community-driven development

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Antonio in Quezon Province shared that the people’s participation in the local development process has created a positive impact to the municipality’s growth. This was reported by town’s chief executive, Mayor Erick Wagan, to the delegates of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Civil Service Commission (CSC) during the Leadership Development Strategy Workshop recently held in the municipality.

The said workshop is a research initiative of ADB and CSC to develop capability building trainings for local leaders specifically on strengthening their leadership strategies on community-driven development (CDD).

The LGU of San Antonio was chosen for the baseline research as they have been using the CDD strategy in their governance since 2012 with their engagement to the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

For years, Mayor Wagan shared that through Kalahi-CIDSS, they are conducting community consultation activities such as the Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA) wherein local residents identify the pressing needs in their community and suggest projects to address these. They have also expanded their Municipal Development Council wherein more than half of the members are representatives of civil society organizations so different sectors can lobby their concerns.

Through this, the LGU was able to strategize which projects to prioritize and will be proposed to other agencies and organizations for funding and implementation assistance.

Last 2016, they were able to implement at least 20 community-driven projects that were mostly farm-to-market roads. The roads are highly prioritized by the people since most of them rely on farming to gain income. With the new roads, it is now convenient for the farmers to transport their products to the market and they earn more since their products are sold fresh on a higher price.

Mayor Wagan added that such results have empowered the people to speak and act more for the welfare of their communities. The residents are continuously engaging in community consultation dialogues and are even offering to work for free to help in the construction of projects.

“Naramdaman nila na may boses sila at pinapakinggan sila ng gobyerno. Nagkaroon din sila ng sense of ownership sa mga proyekto kaya handa silang tumulong para dito,” Mayor Wagan said.

For instance, the residents are forming groups in their barangay to manage the operations and maintenance of the projects. One of which is the Brgy. Pulo Water System Association (BAPWASA) that regulates the residents’ water use and conducts regular cleaning of the water tank to ensure the sustainability of the project. They also manage the maintenance fund for future repairs and improvements.

“Dati ay hirap na hirap kami sa tubig at umaasa lamang sa bukal. Ngayon na nagkaroon na kami ng regular at malinis na suplay ng tubig, pangangalagaan namin ito para mas marami pa ang makinabang,” said Gloria Rearte, the president of BAPWASA.

According to Minette Soriano, the Leadership Development Specialist of ADB, the LGU’s effective leadership reflects on having responsible and participative citizens. She added that this shows how the CDD strategy can create a good relationship between the LGUs and the people.

“They have a clear and united vision for their town. This guides them in achieving the development they want for their communities that indeed led them to success,” said Soriano.

On the other hand, CSC Director Maricar Aquino said that the success of CDD in San Antonio is a proof that the strategy can also work in other towns. She added that the experiences shared by the people will help them improve and develop new leadership trainings for local leaders towards an effective implementation of CDD.

The ADB and CSC said that they will roll-out the new leadership trainings before the year ends. They will also have separate capability building trainings for community volunteers to continuously shape them to become active on community development. xxx

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