Local government unit officials finish CLEAR Governance Training
29 Nov 2022
The Ateneo School of Government (ASOG), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its RenewHealth Project, concluded a five-module training program for local government executives on November 16, 2022. The training program ran from September 15 to November 16, 2022, and was administered through synchronous and asynchronous activities. Selected representatives of Local Government Units from all over the Philippines were able to take part and deepen their understanding of the different aspects of local governance, with a particular focus on planning and implementing development projects.
The Ateneo School of Government invited highly respected resource persons to share their expertise on the various topics covered by the modules. For the first module, participants attended CBDR Works!: Stories From the Field, a Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Conference, held at Luxent Hotel and organized by RenewHealth. The said Conference’s main emphasis was that the drug problem is a health challenge, not a crime issue, and as such requires a different set of policy decisions and actions from government leaders. Various local government units shared their best practices when it came to dealing with the drug problem in their own localities, focusing specifically on community-based drug rehabilitation. During the conference, the participants heard from preeminent experts such as Milos Stojanovic, Drug and Health Program Officer at the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, and Jose Eduardo Chua, Technical Coordinator for Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization Program in the Philippines. The conference was capped off by a Problem Identification Workshop administered by the program’s Training Director, Former Pangasinan Governor and Former Congressman Victor E. Agbayani MBA, member of the Core Faculty of the Ateneo School of Government.
For Module Two, Former Gov. Agbayani delivered sessions on the principles and concepts of integrated development and development planning in the Philippine local socio-economic-political context. Participants received a refresher in local development planning, and they also had the chance to apply their learnings to their localities through discussion with the speaker and with one another. In Module Three, Isaias Ubana III PhD, Provincial Board Member of Quezon, former Mayor of Lopez, Quezon, and also member of the ASoG Core Faculty, provided an overview of the concept of decentralization and the attainment of local autonomy. He was also able to share with the participants techniques and methods of managing change in a decentralized set-up, within an existing organizational culture. Ms Heidi Mendoza MPA, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, former Commissioner of the Commission on Audit, and ASoG Professor of Praxis, and former Department of Finance Undersecretary and ASoG Core Faculty Member Ms Milwida Guevara PhD discussed local government financing, risk management for public finance and governance. The module also delved into the Mandanas-Garcia ruling and its implications for Local Government financing.
The training program’s last module provided participants, through a panel presentation, with an avenue to present their own Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program that can be institutionalized within their own localities. The development of the said program was made possible through the help of their mentors with whom they can consult and workshop their plans with namely Atty. Sikini “Bok” Labastilla, Dr. Israel Pargas, and Dr. Ofelia Alcantara. These mentors were chosen for their expertise and capability in guiding the LGUs. Former Department of Health Undersecretary, former Director General of the Food and Drug Authority, and ASoG MPM-HG Program Director for Innovation and Leadership Kenneth Hartigan-Go MD MD (UK), served as the main panelist and moderator for the presentation. Each group was given thirty minutes to present what they came up with, and afterwards, panelists and fellow-participants could give their comments on the presentation.
Finally, the program came to a close with a few parting messages and the presentation of certificates to each participant. Dr. Maria Regina Hechanova-Alampay, Chief of Party of the USAID RenewHealth Project, spoke a few words to encourage the local government units to keep up the good work they do, as they are closer to the grassroots and there is so much potential there. She placed a special emphasis on the value of Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation programs, at the level of the LGU. “It’s really about touching people’s lives,” Dr. Hechanova-Alampay shared. “I really believe that what we do is God’s work. And by providing CBDR, we are bringing the PWUDs, and their families, to the life God envisions for us.” The Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, Dr. Phillip Arnold Tuano, also followed with his own message congratulating the participants for being able to finish the entire training and encouraging them to translate their learnings into concrete actions as they develop and create their own localized programs. The final session came to a close in high spirits, as each LGU expressed their intent of continued collaboration with ASOG, RenewHealth, and most importantly, with one another.
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