Capacitating LGUs the easy way
By Nathan A. Sergio
YES, the LGUs can do more with less. Suggested scheme: partnership, or collaboration, or joint undertaking.
This idea is proven and cost effective. This was among the first strategic moves made by the Naga City Government Administration under then Mayor Jesse Robredo, when the city’s annual budget was a measly 20 Million Pesos. It worked! And it brought positive results for years!
Perhaps, partnership with the Civil Society (i.e. private institutions, civic organizations, people’s organization, NGOs, the academe and business sectors, etc.) may be the key to jumpstart progress and development in various localities. Arguably, the human, intellectual and financial resources in the hands of the private sector are vast, and they can be a potent force, if tapped responsibly, towards attaining a better life for the people.
I highly recommend partnering with Philippine Red Cross, through its chapter in your area, from among the NGOs existing in your locality. Why Red Cross?
Firstly, Red Cross is non-political; it avoids and never involve in partisan politics, which makes it far different from most NGOs in our country. While a private organization, Red Cross is an ally of the LGUs, and not an enemy nor a competitor. By law (RA 10072),”Philippine Red Cross is an independent, autonomous non-government organization auxiliary to the Authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the humanitarian field. “ Thus, by definition, Red Cross, as an auxiliary, is, in our parlance, a “KATUWANG” or a “KATABANG” or a “KASUROG”, and NOT a KALABAN or a KA-KUMPETENSYA! Red Cross is thus mandated to partner and work with the LGUs in the humanitarian field. That is why Red Cross is quite eager to genuinely partner and work with the LGUs in this regard.
Secondly, LGUs will benefit most in partnering with Red Cross. Why so? Because Red Cross offers an array of services beneficial to people and communities. These services include: Blood Service, Disaster Management Service, Safety Service, Health Service, WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), Welfare Service, Red Cross Youth, and Volunteer Service. Programs are made available in each service aforementioned.
Considering that our country is often faced with disasters, both natural and man-made, it really would make a lot of sense for LGUs to partner with Red Cross.
A way to go for this idea is to initially request Red Cross to a conduct an orientation about it and its services and programs. No worries. Red Cross does not charge fees for the orientation! Invite the local government policymakers and the key executive officials to this orientation. Then, after careful study and deliberations, the LGU may choose which service/s or program/s it will have to partner and work with Red Cross. This, of course, will depend on the LGU’s priorities, capabilities, and needs.
It would do well if a formal agreement is subsequently signed by the LGU and the Red Cross Chapter, say a Memorandum of Agreement, to serve as term of references later on.
At this juncture, it needs to be emphasized that the agreement between the parties must be one that is a win-win deal.
It would help greatly if the interested LGU understands clearly that Red Cross is a private entity, and a self-supporting one – that Red Cross also needs the support of the LGU. Consider this: Red Cross virtually generates its own funds. To sustain its operations, Red Cross conducts fund-raising event/s, campaigns for annual membership, and charges reasonable fees for the trainings and services rendered.
Knowing this, the LGU is properly guided on how to navigate during the negotiation with Red Cross.
In the game of chess, a player has to move his piece one at a time following a certain strategy to attain victory. Inaction is never a viable option, a counter-productive one. Same is true in the playing field of local governance. So, it is your move now, public servants!
*Nathan A. Sergio is a volunteer worker in Philippine Red Cross- Camarines Sur Chapter, serving as a member of the Board of Directors, as the chapter Auditor and the chairman of Blood Services. He served LGU-Naga City for 27 years, In various posts, his last being a City Councilor for nine consecutive years.