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South Cotabato, Philippines

Public Monitoring of Infrastructure (COT0002)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: South Cotabato Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Provincial Government of South Cotabato – Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC)

Support Institution(s): PEO, PPDO-REM, PPDO-ITU, PIO Mahintana Foundation, Inc., South Cotabato Integrity Circle, Regional/City/Municipal Project Monitoring Committees Mr. Jobe Tubigon

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Infrastructure & Transport, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Social Accountability Measures & Feedback Loops, Subnational, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: South Cotabato Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Thematic Area: Open Monitoring and Evaluation
Open and Participatory Monitoring For Quality Infrastructure
31 August 2018 – 31 August 2020
Lead implementing agency/actor
Provincial Government of South Cotabato – Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC)
Commitment Description
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
Annually, the Provincial Government of South Cotabato is implementing development projects, which consist of both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects, sourced from both local funds as well as funds from the national government. Infrastructure projects normally get the big chunk of the budget pie. However, many infrastructure projects suffer from delayed implementation and completion, poor quality, hence, poor utilization of funds. In 2017, the provincial government was able to complete only about 4.10% or 5 out of 122 local development projects at the end of the budget year, which results in slow or poor utilization of funds at the end of the year. The Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC) of the provincial government, composed of members from the provincial government and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), conducts quarterly monitoring of infrastructure projects with more than -15% slippage or way behind schedule as per PERTCPM. Thus, monitoring of these projects should be regular, efficient, transparent, and participatory. Likewise, monitoring results should be available to the public for comment and feedback. However, the results of the monitoring are only confined to the members of the PPMC and to the Provincial Development Council (PDC) during PDC meetings. These are usually presented to the PDC a quarter after the conduct of monitoring. While the PDC is represented by accredited CSOs, not all CSOs are informing their members of the status of the projects. As such, there is no way the general public will know the real time status of the projects since the monitoring results are not posted or available online for public comment/feedback. With this, the public has limited opportunity to provide feedback on the actual status of the projects (e.g. delayed implementation, poor quality of materials or poor utilization of funds) or if the recommendations as reflected on the monitoring results are implemented/acted upon by the concerned agencies. These issues in the monitoring and implementation of infrastructure projects hinder the immediate delivery of intended results and outcomes to the intended beneficiaries especially in improving mobility of people, goods and services, increasing access of lagging, poverty-stricken and geographically isolated rural communities to basic social services, and supporting the economic interdependencies between the rural and urban communities. Ultimately, realizing these expected results/outcomes would contribute in further reducing poverty of the 19.8% families or about 43,000 families below the poverty threshold based on the 2015 Census.
Main Objective
The commitment aims to strengthen participation and transparency in the project monitoring process.
What is the commitment?
The commitment involves making the monitoring results of the Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC) more open and accessible to the general public by posting these for the general public to provide feedback/comment and/or access the monitoring results. This entails posting the monitoring results to the provincial government website the day after the conduct of the quarterly monitoring of the PPMC in order to provide near real-time status of projects to the public. With this, the PPMC shall adopt the Open Data Kit (ODK) or mobilebased project monitoring system for near real-time monitoring of projects. The commitment also involves updating the website of the provincial government as well as its facebook page for posting and/or accessing of project monitoring results by the public for feedback/comment/recommendations. The general public will also have the opportunity to upload pictures of on-going projects in their communities and post status of these projects online. The commitment will also cause the enhancement of the monitoring process and composition of the PPMC to strengthen engagement of the public or the directly impacted communities.
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?
The commitment will provide a wider space for citizens and CSOs to collaborate with the provincial government to address issues on project implementation such as delays, poor quality of projects and poor utilization of funds. Participation in this process will allow the public (citizens or CSOs) to provide feedback to improve project implementation. As the monitoring findings and recommendations are made public, contractors and concerned government officials will be held accountable for the project delays or slippages or for noncompliance of other concerned agencies/sectors to the recommendations in the report. In line with this, the existing grievance redressal mechanism/s (e.g. blacklisting of contractors or filing of cases) of the province will be strengthened to ensure accountability
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
The commitment is consistent with the OGP values of promoting transparency, accountability, civic participation and technological innovations at the subnational / local government level. It will make the local government and the project contractors more open, accountable, responsive and efficient in project implementation and monitoring.
Additional information
The EU-funded RESOURCEGov2 Project, implemented by Mahintana Foundation, Inc., has been using transparency tools/technologies, such as Open Data Kit (ODK) in project monitoring. The project has published a documentation on replicable practices on good local governance highlighting the use of ODK in increasing transparency, accountability and CSO participation in project monitoring of locally-funded projects of LGUs. The Mahintana Foundation, Inc., through the RESOURCEGov2 project will be providing technical and financial assistance in the implementation of this commitment. The improved quality of infrastructure projects will increase rural-urban integration, support economic growth and improve access of the poor to basic socio-economic services as health, education and livelihood development. Hence, this commitment supports the achievement of all the sustainable development goals, particularly goals number 1-10 and goal number 17 on partnerships for the goals.
Milestone Activity with a Verifiable Deliverable
Conduct Users’ Training, install and operationalize the ODK-based project monitoring system. The training will be conducted/supported by Mahintana Foundation, Inc., through EUfunded RESOURCEGov project and will be participated by all members of the Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (staff from PLGU and CSO representatives) ODK is a user-friendly mobilebased monitoring platform which non-programmers can easily learn. Android phones/tablets (commonly used by many) are used for ODKbased monitoring.
Mahintana Foundation, Inc.
Source of Fund: RESOURC EGov
September 2018 – December 2018
Update the website/page or Facebook page of the provincial government/SC-OGP to allow posting of and/or accessing of project monitoring results by the public for feedback
PIO, PPDOITU, ECCP
Source of Funding: ECCP
September 2018 – June 2019
Conduct ODK-based project monitoring of locally-funded infra projects at least once every quarter. The locally-funded infra projects that will be monitored quarterly will be those projects with more than -15% slippage. The amounts of projects are based on the Annual Investment Program (CMGP).
PPMC, PEO, PPDOREM, PPDO-SPD,
Source of Funding: PLGU
December 2018 – September 2020
Post monitoring results at the provincial government website and/or Facebook page for public access and feedback (online posting of results the day after the conduct of quarterly monitoring inspection). As designed/by default for ODK portal at provincial government website/page, monitoring results can be presented/viewed in charts/graphs, maps and/or tables/spreadsheets and can be accessed/downloaded by the public through xls, csv, zip and kml formats.
PPDOREM, PPDO-SPD, PPMC
PLGU
August 2019 – September 2020
Expand participation of the public to the PPMC through the participation of the Barangay Chairman, BDC-Chair of Infra and BDC Private Sector Reps during the monitoring/inspection where the project is located. Aside from the usual members of the PPMC (PLGU staff and CSO representatives), the PPMC will invite the barangay chairmen, BDC Chair on Infra and BDC private sector representatives to participate in project monitoring where the infra projects are located in their respective barangays. This is to ensure that the monitoring process will be more transparent and participatory and that their feedback will be considered and responded to.
PPMC
Source of Funding: PLGU
February 2019 – September 2020
Implementing Actors
Lead Implementing Office/ Agency/ Organization
Provincial Government of South Cotabato – Provincial Project Monitoring Committee Mr. Eleazar Abellera – PPMC Head Secretariat +639177909564 +6383-2286323
Other Actors Involved
PEO, PPDO-REM, PPDO-ITU, PIO
Mahintana Foundation, Inc., South Cotabato Integrity Circle, Regional/City/Municipal Project Monitoring Committees Mr. Jobe Tubigon

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Theme 2: Open Monitoring and Evaluation

2. Open and Participatory Monitoring for Quality Infrastructure

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

The commitment involves making the monitoring results of the Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC) more open and accessible to the general public by posting these for the general public to provide feedback/comment and/or access the monitoring results. This entails posting the monitoring results to the provincial government website the day after the conduct of the quarterly monitoring of the PPMC in order to provide near real-time status of projects to the public. With this, the PPMC shall adopt the Open Data Kit (ODK) or mobile based project monitoring system for near real-time monitoring of projects. The commitment also involves updating the website of the provincial government as well as its Facebook page for posting and/or accessing of project monitoring results by the public for feedback/comment/recommendations. The general public will also have the opportunity to upload pictures of on-going projects in their communities and post status of these projects online. The commitment will also cause the enhancement of the monitoring process and composition of the PPMC to strengthen engagement of the public or the directly impacted communities.

Milestones:

  1. Conduct Users’ Training, install and operationalize the ODK-based project monitoring system
  2. Update the website/page or Facebook page of the provincial government/SC-OGP to allow posting and/or accessing of project monitoring results by the public for feedback
  3. Conduct ODK-based project monitoring of locally-funded infra projects at least once every quarter
  4. Post monitoring results at the provincial government website and/or Facebook page for public access and feedback (online posting of results the day after the conduct of quarterly monitoring inspection)
  5. Expand participation of the public to the PPMC through the participation of the Barangay Chairman, Barangay Development Council (BDC)-Chair of Infra and BDC Private Sector Reps during the monitoring/inspection where the project is located

Start Date: 31 August 2018                                                             End Date: 31 August 2020

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to make project findings of the Provincial Project Monitoring Committee (PPMC) more open and accessible to the general public, including by posting them for public feedback. The commitment additionally envisions the PPMC adopting the Open Data Kit (ODK), [6] a near real-time, mobile-based project monitoring system.

Milestones cover areas such as training ODK users and involving subprovincial government units in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the provincial government to complement the online mechanisms of the PPMC. The public will be able to access near real-time project monitoring results through an online application, while citizens, especially at the barangay or village levels, will be able to provide feedback on the status of infrastructure projects. The findings and recommendations of such initiatives will be published online to increase accountability. Although the precise scope and extent of such interventions are indeterminate, these activities generally contain measurable milestones and are thus specific enough to be verifiable.

The province’s infrastructure projects sometimes suffer poor implementation and delayed completion. [7] This affects access to basic social services and can acutely impact isolated communities. Economic interdependencies also necessitate improved links between geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) to rural and urban centers that have better access to the provincial government.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information, civic participation, and technology for transparency as it envisions online disclosure of more information on government-funded projects, and enables a wider set of stakeholders, beyond the PPMC, to monitor projects. It will also allow this wider group of stakeholders to address project implementation gaps, as identified by the PPMC or through citizen feedback.

This commitment has a moderate potential impact for improving the government’s M&E process, by strengthening the PPMC’s engagement with the public and directly affected communities. These initiatives will be a major step forward in inclusive, project monitoring by the LGU. Currently, monitoring and evaluation reports have to go through time-consuming secretariat processes, which can hamper the PPMC’s timely deliberations on critical projects. In contrast, public access to near real-time project monitoring results, as envisioned through this commitment, should significantly reduce poor project implementation. This will be further enhanced with the public being able to proactively provide feedback and comments, and report on infrastructure implementation. Transparency, alongside improved government collaboration with civil society, will address issues encountered at every phase of project implementation.

Despite this, however, the commitment does not go as far as outlining how citizen feedback will be used to inform decision-making around infrastructure projects, nor does it describe mechanisms to disseminate M&E information through offline channels. The commitment remains limited in this scope.

Next Steps

  • Conduct public workshops on government project management systems and processes to raise awareness of the value of M&E among citizens. Different offices can describe their evaluation procedures, best practices, and future plans, thereby enabling inter-office peer learning. The workshops should elicit feedback from participants.
  • Adopt community-based participatory M&E tools, especially for impact measurement. These tools can be requested from the NEDA M&E Network [8] and multilateral development organizations (e.g., World Bank, UNDP, ADB).
  • With recent recognition by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) of South Cotabato as one of five selected government agencies with best practices, [9] the LGU can share its experience with other local government units through the DAP’s learning programs. The LGU can cover topics such as planning, budgeting, procurement, M&E, policy development, legislation, and how citizens can be involved at each stage while integrating SCIC and OGP mechanisms. The module should be tailored for specific audiences such as government heads and staff, K-12 and university students, and local and foreign investors. The material should be co-designed with the DAP, Local Government Academy, [10] and/or the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. [11]
[6] Martinano Magdolot and Roel Ian Blanker (Mahintana Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 1 Apr. 2019.
[7] Government of South Cotabato, South Cotabato Open Government Partnership Action Plan 2018-2020 (OGP, 2018), 19, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/South-Cotabato_Action-Plan_2018-2020_Revised.docx.
[9] The DAP selected five government agencies for their “exceptional and innovative” practices during the Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR) deliberations held in line with the DAP’s Government Quality Management Program (GQMP). GQMP enhances citizen satisfaction through improved delivery of public services among government agencies by recognizing outstanding, successful, and innovative practices of public sector organizations. DAP, “5 gov’t agencies selected by DAP for best practices” (Philippine Information Agency, 10 Mar. 2019), https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1019526.
[10] The Local Government Academy has a training center for the local government sector. https://lga.gov.ph/lga-training-center.

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