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    bub The Provincial Stakeholders’ Forum for the Province of Sorsogon spearheaded by the DILG Provincial Office was conducted last October 16, 2015 at Fernando’s Hotel, Sorsogon City. It was dubbed as the 1st Provincial Stakeholders’ Forum conducted both in the Region and the Country. The activity aimed at strengthening the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) provincial mechanisms as it served its purpose to be an avenue where the Civil Society Organizations and the selected Local Government Officials and functionaries identified issues and recommended strategies necessary in improving the implementation of the program. The activity paved the way for the representatives of the member agencies of the Regional Poverty Reduction Action (RPRAT) V to update LGUs of the status of their projects and remind them once more of their compliance to the submission of the required documentary requirements which would certainly fast track the implementation of the BUB projects in their respective localities.

 

     A total of eighty-two (82) participants from fifteen (15) Cities and Municipalities were present. Such number of participants composed of the LPRAT Chair and Vice-Chairpersons, CSO representatives and the City/Municipal Local Government Operations Officers. Only four (4) out of the fifteen (15) invited LCEs were present and they were the LCEs of the Municipalities of Sta. Magdalena, Prieto Diaz and Matnog and Sorsogon City. The LCEs who failed to attend were represented either by the Municipal Administrators or the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators.

 

     The activity started at 10:00 in the morning with the usual opening program. All participants were welcomed by Atty. Arnaldo Escober, Jr., DILG Provincial Director of the Province of Sorsogon. Thereafter it was followed by a message from the BUB Regional Coordinator, Fr. Leo Casas. OIC-DILG Regional Director Elouisa T. Pastor was also present to personally oversee the conduct of the activity and deliver the message for the participants. During her talk, she emphasized the critical role of the CSOs in the BUB Process. She stressed in her message that the group is gathered to discuss solutions and not problems on the BUB implementation. Accordingly she urged them to be cautious in the performance of their individual tasks. She likewise conveyed her appreciation of the presence of the CSOs, LGU officials and functionaries and the representatives of the Regional Poverty Reduction Action Team (RPRAT) –member agencies. She also took the opportunity to introduce to the participants to leader of the Regional Project Management Team RPMT), Mr. Pedro Bernaldez, Ph.D.

     The rationale of the forum was discussed in details by Ms. Evelyn Ubaldo, a Community Mobilizer (CM) assigned in the said province. She stressed that the BUB Program of the government intends to alleviate poverty by empowering the grassroots thru active partnership. On the other hand, Mr. Alex Jazareno, another CM of Sorsogon articulated some inputs on the roles of the basic sectors in the program.

     A workshop was held after lunch and it was facilitated by CM Noel Lozada. The group was divided into five (5) and each group was assigned a topic for them to identify the issues/ concerns, recommendations (Please see refer to below table re grouping of LGUs and their assigned topics during the activity.                     

 

                                      

                                                                                                                                                                    

Group LGUs Topic
1 Pilar, Donsol and Castilla BUB CSO Assembly
2 Sorsogon City, Casiguran, Juban BUB LPRAP Workshop
3 Magallanes, Bulan & Irosin BUB Project Implementation
4 Matnog, Bulusan & Sta. Magdalena LGC-LSBs Accreditation Process
5 Barcelona, Gubat,& Prieto Diaz LGC-Local Special Bodies’ Functionality

 

 

     The outputs were presented at the plenary to further develop and strengthen CSOs by way of feedback mechanism. Representatives of the RPRAT were requested to clarify concerns for their particular agencies. Agreements were reached by and between the participants and the RPRAT member agencies on the lingering issues on BUB implementation like the delayed downloading of funds, capacity of the LGUs to prepare technical documents, CSOs of unaware of their roles and functions, irregular conduct of LPRAT meetings and non-coordination of activities between LGU and NGAs.

 

     After the plenary, an interface with concerned LGUs and NGAs transpired. Agencies’ were given the turf to discuss their concerns on BUB implementation with the representatives of the 15 LGUs. They made an ardent plea for the participants to liaise in behalf of the RPRAT in order for the concerned LGUs to submit the pertinent documents soonest possible. In turn, the LGUs will be assured of the immediate downloading of funds and ultimately the completion of the projects.

 

     Thereafter, the program ended with a closing message from PD Escober. A post-forum meeting was conducted by Fr. Leo Casas with the participants. He urged them to federate by forming the Provincial Federation of CSOs. Through this, the CSOs in Sorsogon will all the more be strengthened and empowered.

 

 

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