DELGOSEA Beneficiaries | This month: Councilor and Head of Committee on Social Development, Bacolod

DELGOSEA Beneficiaries | This month: Councilor and Head of Committee on Social Development, Bacolod


In its last project year, DELGOSEA is focusing on the actual implementation of the best practices. Who is better placed to judge the impact and success of these replications than the people on the ground in the pilot cities? Representatives of the 16 pilot cities will share with us their views on what makes the replication successful as well as the challenges they are facing during the implementation. This month features Bacolod, one of our three Philippine pilot cities.

Em Ang is a councilor of Bacolod City and, as a member of the project management team, heavily involved in the project implementation. She was very keen to explain which processes were involved in the selection of the best practice to be replicated. Councilor Ang heads the committee on social development which, amongst the other councilors, makes her a perfect fit for being a part of the project management team. First of all, Bacolod was chosen by DELGOSEA as one of the pilot cities, meaning that the city government could, in cooperation with the project management team, choose which example to follow. The people-public-private partnership model to improve local infrastructure, the best practice in Toule Sangke, Cambodia, was selected by the city to construct the Bacolod Youth Home because it was in line with Mayor Leonardia administration’s aim to engage the people in governance – ‘public-private partnerships bring people together,’ enthused Ang.

The councilor feels that the creation of a strong project team has been extremely helpful in getting the project off the ground. According to Ang, this was an initiative of the mayor, who saw the importance of an institutionalized body to carry out the project. Clearly a good move, since Ang emphasized how grateful the city was, ‘that we have a very competent project coordinator [Ms. Gilda Lluisma of Human Resource Department] and the entire team that comes with her.’ The members of the Bacolod Technical Working Group (TWG), also present in the interview conducted, were strategically selected. They are composed of representatives from different departments; all are relevant in the optimum project implementation. Present during the interview were Ms. Sally Abelarde of the Department of Social Service and Development, Ms. Gloria Arguelles of the Planning Office, Ms. Becky Tipon of Bacolod Housing Department and Prof. Johanna Bayonet of the Bacolod City College. Widely cited during the interview also were Mr. Rodel Parcon of the Public Information Office and the Office of City Engineering who provided significant assistance in the project implementation.

Jennifer Chang, Social Work Officer II at the Bacolod Social Development Center (SDC), who was also present during the interview, remarked that she has first learned about the DELGOSEA Project through the a local newspaper, the Visayan Daily Star. SDC has been involved by the City Government in terms of assessing the problems of the Children in Conflict with the Law (CICLs). This way, the government would be oriented on the real needs of the children. Although not yet significantly involved in the project implementation, Ms. Chang said that they would really be very interested in further assisting the Bacolod City in terms of the functional design of the facility which they would tailor-fit according to the assessed needs of the CICLs they are currently housing. Ms. Chang highlighted that it’s a good thing that the City now initiate a move to provide better facility to the youth. She is grateful that the bigger facility would provide more spaces which would make the conduct of diversion programs such as livelihood, sports, medical therapy, behavior management and the similar activities easily facilitated.

Ms. Ang was positive about the conception of the project and the whole preparatory stage: ‘The concept of PPPP had been a buzzword in sustainable governance and was adopted by the city even before this best practice model was chosen,’ explained Ang, so there were no problems to adapt the example from Toul Sangke in Cambodia. Since the replication phase has just begun, it is a bit too early to identify challenges to the process, though for a while it looked as if the financing of the project would prove difficult. However, the city was able to overcome this problem through the commitment of the Virlanie Foundation, which contributes significantly. As the councillor said: ‘By stroke of luck and by the grace of God, we have found a benefactor who would support the project in a major way.’ As the Virlanie Foundation extends developmental services to children by providing street children with a home, it is a perfect partner for this project.

In the recent months, Bacolod has been engaged in various legislative preparations to ensure the best possible construction of the youth home. New partners have been identified, a strategy to gain support from private partners have been fine-tuned, ‘all the preparations are on track,’ the project team stressed. There will be substantial involvement from private business and also academia, making this a truly multi-stakeholder project. And even though the actual construction of the youth home still has to start, the team is confident that the project will be finished on schedule – ‘Once the budget from the Government has been released this 2012, the project is good to go.’

A good PR strategy is, of course, essential for the success of such an enterprise and according to councilor Em Ang, ‘Bacolod makes sure it comes up with an extensive PR campaign.’ There is much praise for the mayor as an effective driving force in the implementation, vigorously encouraging and reminding the team to release news article regarding project events and milestones.

DELGOSEA and Bacolod are naturally looking ahead to the time after the end of the EU co-financed project. There is confidence about ‘sustaining the essence of PPPP, as the concept itself is well established in the city,’ emphasized Ang. Ang herself authored the ordinance which will be the legal basis for the establishment of the Bacolod Youth Home. Another question is the actual upkeep of the youth home where the project team will be looking for continued support by the private sector as well as the Department of Social Services and Development.

Ang concluded that 'The Youth Home for our CICL will stand as testament that we mean to work and patiently for the benefit of our young people and the well-being of the entire community. The work that will be done here will be both corrective and preventive. The Home will also provide healthful outlets for the children’s excess energy, where they are given proper instruction and the opportunity for education, acquire useful hobbies and learn life skills. This is a project that is much needed.'

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