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NAPC should strengthen role as a coordinative agency

/ 12:12 AM September 24, 2016

This is an alternative view to Rina Jimenez David’s column titled “Badmouthing” (Opinion, 9/16/16). This is not just a reaction to the column; this is a governance perspective on the role of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). I believe that it’s about time the NAPC revisited its mandate and roles and functions.

Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8425, the law establishing the NAPC, states that it shall (1) coordinate with different national and local government agencies to assure full implementation of all social reform and poverty alleviation programs; (2) coordinate with local government units in the formulation of social reform and poverty alleviation programs for their respective areas in conformity with the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda; (3) recommend policy and other measures to ensure the responsive implementation of the commitments under the Social Reform Agenda; and (4) ensure meaningful representation and active participation of the basic sectors.

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I will mention only four of the several roles and functions of the NAPC. They can be summarized as coordinating, monitoring and creating spaces for collaboration with and among government agencies, private sectors and basic sectors. RA 8425 also identifies the agencies and basic sectors that should compose the NAPC board.

My recommendation is for the NAPC to strengthen its role as a coordinative agency. The NAPC should not implement projects. Projects for fisherfolk should be implemented by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The NAPC should start doing strategic planning with its board of commissioners that are from different agencies and sectors. The NAPC should move toward enhancing a convergence program geared toward poverty alleviation.

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I also recommend that the NAPC launch a volunteer program enlisting, among others, state colleges and universities and even private schools, retired professionals, private sectors and civil society organizations. There are many people out there looking for opportunities to help and share their resources. I know of schools which have excellent public services programs and learning-serving programs. The NAPC might want to coordinate with the Philippine National Volunteer Services Coordinating Agency.

As for consultants, my take on this is that consultants do not have security of tenure. Their services should be for a specific period only. An agency cannot hire a consultant forever. Some agencies hire consultants to go around the policy of prohibiting the hiring of additional staff members, but this should be assessed.

In order to fast-track our poverty alleviation program, the NAPC needs to be able to create synergy among the stakeholders and formulate an operational convergence program through an excellent strategic plan. The NAPC is supposed to be strategic and convergent, not a project implementer. Lastly, on World Bank-funded projects, my question is: Is this a loan or a grant? If this is a loan, there should be a cost-benefit analysis, because the cost of loan may not be commensurate to its supposed benefits.

—YOLANDA G. EALDAMA, [email protected]

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