A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a learning exchange was signed on November 5 by Governor Arturo T. Uy and Governor Joey S. Salceda, the heads of the provincial local government units (PLGUs) of Compostela Valley and Albay, respectively, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The learning exchange, which will run for six months, is intended to be a mechanism for the two PLGUs to share their knowledge and experiences in their implementation of the community-driven development (CDD) strategy. This is a development approach that has been proven and effective by Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the three core poverty alleviation programs of the DSWD, along with Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya) and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The DSWD, through Kalahi-CIDSS, will be responsible for facilitating the exchanges between Albay and Compostela Valley, with technical support coming from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Aside from discussing their experiences in CDD implementation, Compostela Valley and Albay will also be sharing their knowledge and experiences in handling critical issues, including but not limited to disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).

Both provinces have had experience in handling rehabilitation efforts following disasters. Compostela Valley is still in the recovery period following 2012’s Typhoon Pablo. Albay, on the other hand, is frequently visited by natural disasters such as typhoons and landslides. Such occurrences strongly contribute to the level of poverty of the residents.

Earlier this year, Albay and Compostela were chosen to be part of the DSWD pilot testing of the enhancement of the PLGUs’ roles in CDD implementation.  According to DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman, the PLGUs can serve as the “missing link” that will be able to better connect the local government units with the national government to better address the needs of the citizenry, particularly those affected by poverty.

She said, “By engaging PLGUs in CDD, we will be able to ensure that the needs of the common citizens will be taken into consideration when the provincial development plan is made. In that way, we will be able to see to it that no one will be left behind in development, not even those who live in the hinterlands”.

After 10 years of implementation, Kalahi-CIDSS is now preparing to scale up its operations into the National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP), which will expand its reach to cover the poorest municipalities in the Philippines.

The results of the pilot testing, which is expected to run from April 2013 to December 2014, will be used to further enhance the design of the NCDDP. DSWD/NPMO