By Hannah L. Torregoza

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has sought passage of a measure that would help the government wage a successful battle against poverty by institutionalizing the state’s poverty analysis and prioritization programs.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
(MANILA BULLETIN)

Gatchalian, in filing Senate Bill No. 2184 or the “Community-Based Monitoring System Act,” said it is imperative for the government to institutionalize a system that will best equip policymakers and program implementers with reliable and evidence-based information in their fight against poverty in their respective communities.

As chair of the Senate economic affairs committee, Gatchalian said the primary goal of the bill is for the government to be able to produce critical data required for more comprehensive poverty analysis and needs prioritization, the design of appropriate policies and interventions, targeting of beneficiaries, and monitoring of impacts over time.

Passage into law of such bill, he said, would greatly help in stamping out poverty in the country by formulating and executing programs that are truly responsive to the needs of the people.

“To date, various ways of collecting household-level information at the local level have been implemented and used by policymakers and program implementers in the Philippines, but a community-based monitoring system has not yet been institutionalized,” Gatchalian said.

“ The aim of this system is to reduce wastage by the normal shot-gun approach in poverty alleviation programs,” he stressed.

The senator explained that the measure seeks the establishment of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) in every city and municipal planning office.

These CBMS will serve “as an economic and social tool towards the formulation and implementation of poverty alleviation and development programs at the local level.”

“To effectively wage a successful battle against poverty, it is important for policymakers and program implementers to be equipped with reliable and evidence-based information at the local level that can be used for tracking the impact of macroeconomic reforms and various policy shocks,” he pointed out.

The lawmaker said that under the bill, each city or municipal planning office shall have a statistician, whose primary function is data collection, preservation, and safekeeping of the data retained at the city or the municipal level.

The bill also mandates that LGUs conduct regular and synchronized data collection every three years.

LGUs are also enjoined “to collect data at shorter intervals and at their own expense for purposes peculiarly useful to them.”

It also paves the way for the creation of a CBMS Council, composed of the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in order to achieve secure and efficient data sharing arrangements between and among concerned municipalities and national government agencies.

A joint Congressional Oversight Committee, composed of 14 members from the Senate and House of Representatives, will also be created to review the implementation of the Act.

“In so doing, policymakers and program implementers will have a comprehensive picture of the different dimensions of poverty at a particular point in time, and will be able to identify and implement appropriate interventions,” Gatchalian said.

“This can also improve local governance, ensure community participation, and promote transparency and evidence-based decision-making,” he further said.