KIBUNGAN, BENGUET – The venture to engage more than 50,000 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the clamor for self-governance was set in motion last May 14, 2015 at Poblacion, Kibungan by a team led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-CAR.

Poverty reduction has been one of the primary reasons for the renewed pursuit for regional autonomy, hence, in 2014, the Regional Development Council (RDC)-CAR partnered with DSWD-CAR to develop an autonomy module that will be integrated as part of DSWD’s conduct of its monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) beneficiaries.

The draft Cordillera Autonomy Module was the product of a writeshop of an inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of members from DSWD, NEDA, DOTC, CHED, CHR, NYC, NCIP, DPWH, NIA, DILG, DOH, DBM, PIA, NNC, World Hope and Development Ministries, and CSO Representatives.

The pilot testing was the first in a series of four sessions to be conducted to develop the module. Structured in such a way to ensure that beneficiaries fully understand regional autonomy, the module was divided into four sessions. Session 1, tackles autonomy vis-à-vis poverty reduction, session 2 involves discussions on the features of Cordillera Autonomy, session 3 highlights the purposiveness of the renewed pursuit for regional autonomy, and session 4 conveys how autonomy can be achieved by the region.

During the first session, Mr. John Eric Escalante from DSWD introduced regional autonomy to the beneficiaries as another means of combating poverty in the region. “The goals of autonomy is similar to that of Pantawid Pamilya, it aims to assist you in answering your needs and at the same time it aims to develop our region” he conveyed. He further highlighted the differences between an administrative region and an autonomous region.

Kibungan was selected for the pilot-testing primarily due to its proximity to Baguio City and is being an example of a barangay not reached by information drives because of accessibility issues and language barriers. The remaining three sessions will also be conducted in Kibungan to ensure that the module will be well crafted by engaging the same participants. The project hopes to use the module in the 1,170 barangays where 59,514 household grantees of the 4Ps were identified by DSWD as of May 2014.

 

by Mark Ponciano & Ruther Col-long, SPCAR