Monday, September 9, 2013

NSWMC, EMB-V conducts Writeshop for Sorsogon’s Provincial SWM Technical Working Group

By: Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, September 9 (PIA) – The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) in partnership with the Environmental Management Bureau-Bicol conducts starting today, September 9 until September 11, 2013 a Provincial Level Writeshop on the Development of the 10-Year Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan for the Province of Sorsogon.

Held in Legazpi City, the 3-day writeshop aims to strengthen the capabilities of the provincial-LGU in implementing fully the Republic Act 9003 or the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

EMB-V Regional Director Roberto Sheen said the writeshop on the development of the SWM Plan is one of the assistance offered by EMB and the NSWMC to its partners to carry out the government’s environmental programs specifically those relative to the implementation of RA 9003.

“This activity is another phase of the technical assistance being extended to the Local Government Units (LGUs). It aims to help the province and its Technical Working Group to compile the strategies and plans developed by each municipalities/cities and create a more comprehensive plan for the province that will address the issue(s) on solid waste management,” Dir. Sheen explained.

Prior to the conduct of this provincial activity, a writeshop entitled “Workshop  Design: Capability Building of Pilot Provinces on the Preparation of Provincial SWM Plan” was also conducted on July 11-13, this year, in Bacon District, Sorsogon City by the Solid Waste Management Section of the EMB-V of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

It was participated by the 14 municipalities and one component city of the pprovince of Sorsogon.  

The output of the SWM plan made by the respective LGUs of Sorsogon will serve as the basis in the preparation of the Provincial Solid Waste Management Plan.

Rule 6 section 2(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9003 mandates the PSWMB to develop a Provincial Solid Waste Management Plan from the submitted SWM Plans of the respective city and municipal SWMBs.

According to the IRR, PSWMB shall review and integrate the submitted plans of all its component cities and municipalities and ensure that the various plans complement each other, and have the requisite components. The PSWMB shall be submitted to the NSWMC for approval.

The Provincial Plan shall reflect the general program of action and initiatives of the provincial government in implementing a solid waste management program that would support the various initiatives of its component cities and municipalities.

Dir. Sheen said that the role of the province to work towards fulfilling their tasks as provided for by the RA 9003 is very significant, and at the end of the 3-day writeshop, it is expected that a Provincial SWM Plan will be crafted for approval by the NSWMC and eventually for implementation in Sorsogon. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon)

LGU-Gubat, PCCED empower local residents through Participatory Budgeting Process

Gubat's Participatory Budgeting General Assembly
By: Bennie A. Recebido

GUBAT, SORSOGON, September 8 (PIA) – The Local Government of Gubat in Sorsogon through Mayor Roderick Co, and the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy ( partnered in empowering the community to partake in the public budget expenditure through the Municipal Participatory Budgeting General Assembly conducted on September 1, 2013 in Gubat, Sorsogon.

Some 300 participants from various sectors including women, farmers, fishermen, senior citizen, youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs) attended the General Assembly.

“In the midst of controversies on spending public funds, LGU-Gubat in Sorsogon sees to it that their public funds will be spent judiciously in response to the needs of its constituents,” said in a press statement sent to PIA by Jospeh Emmanuel Lansang, PCCED Project Manager.

Through the Participatory Budgeting, ordinary citizens directly decide how to spend the public budget. Participatory Budgeting aims to make the Municipal Budgeting Process more inclusive and participatory by allowing ordinary citizens to deliberate and propose spending ideas to the Local Government Unit so that the Municipal Budget reflects the real need of the community.

During the breakout sessions, different sectors identified issues and projects that can help address these issues through deliberation. Following this, each sector prioritized the projects through consensus building. A core group whose members were chosen by the sectors will then research on the projects and make proposals.

A show of active involvement and participation
"In a significant way, participatory budgeting is an attempt to recover what direct democracy is about. Here, ordinary folks represent and argue for their own welfare,” Mr. Reynald Trillana, PCCED executive director said.

Participatory Budgeting builds on the existing structure provided for by the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC). The LGC mandates that the Municipal Development Council composed of the Mayor, Sanggunian Representative, Congressman, Punong Barangays and sector representatives (members of not less than ¼ of the fully organized council) deliberate and plan the social and economic direction of the municipality.

Participatory Budgeting brings the deliberation and planning closer to the people by letting them directly identify community problems and recommend projects that can address the problems they raise. These projects will then be a part of the Annual Investment Plan of the Municipality.

While the LGC provides for sectoral representation in the Local Development Council, Participatory Budgeting focuses on ordinary citizens including those who are not members of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) or People’s Organizations (POs), and those who may have been marginalized with the recent focus on civil society organizations.

Participants listen attentively during the break-out session
The participants openly expressed that through this, they feel that they become closer to the government because they are given direct voice in public governance. "This process of participatory budgeting promotes transparency as everyone is aware of the projects of the municipality," another attendee expressed during the plenary.

Likewise, one community volunteer for PWD named Aida said that if their project gets approved, the PWDs would have medical equipments needed so they can be more productive in the community.

Participatory Budgeting started in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 1989. It has resulted to vast improvement in the delivery of social and economic projects in the country and is now being adapted in many cities around the world including those in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.

The participatory budgeting process in Gubat is being facilitated by the PCCED, and is supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development and Cooperation (AECID) through Zabalketa, a Spanish NGO. PCCED has been promoting civic education, student and youth empowerment, democratic values, and supporting grassroots democracy since 2007. Over the past years, AECID has been supporting projects that would strengthen democracy and its institutions in the Philippines. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon)