Community-based Monitoring Systems Act gets Senate nod

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill establishing a community-based monitoring system (CBMS) for the government's anti-poverty drive.

Senate Bill No. 2172, otherwise known as the Community-Based Monitoring System Act and sponsored by Sen. Sonny Angara was approved with 18 votes, zero negative vote, and no abstentions. The measure substitutes Senate Bill Nos. 1667 and 2132, which were introduced by Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, respectively.

In her letter dated Nov. 29, 2018, De Lima, chair of the social justice, welfare and rural development committee, authorized Angara as chair of the committee on local government to which the bill was referred as secondary committee, to preside over the hearing, prepare the committee report, sponsor and defend the bill before the plenary.

The measure seeks to establish and maintain a regular monitoring system that is community based and area specific in all barangays wherein data collected shall institutionalize a nationwide databank that can be used by national government agencies and local government units in the formulation and implementation of poverty-alleviation and development programs as well as observing the impacts of such programs regarding the quality of life of the Filipino people.

Under the measure, regular and sychronized data collection shall be conducted by cities and municipalities every three years, with the Philippine Statistics Authority taking the lead as the implementing agency. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), for its part, shall be tasked to develop data-sharing arrangements between government agencies, while the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall be responsible to disseminate information relating to activities of the CMBS.

CBMS refers to an organized technology-based system of collecting, processing and validating necessary disaggregated data that may be used for planning, program implementation and impact monitoring at the local level while empowering communities to participate in the process.

The data generated by the CBMS shall be used by appropriate government agencies in prioritizing much needed social-protection programs of government in areas identified to have the highest incidence of poverty.

Poverty, according to Binay, stems from an array of factors such as geography, culture, population, availability of resources, and other influences that cannot be simply measured as a whole.

"Addressing poverty requires localized and area-specific programs in particular cities or municipalities in order to free the people from poverty and to raise the standard of living," Binay said.

To help the government succeed in its poverty-alleviation programs, Angara said the CBMS must include, among others, data pertaining to the proportion of households with access to water, access to sanitation facilities, those who are income poor, those who are informal settlers; the rate of unemployment; the proportion of children aged six to 11 who are not attending elementary, and those aged 12 to 15 who are not attending secondary school.

The data, according to Angara, must also include the the proportion of children who are malnourished, as well as indicators relating to child deaths and maternal mortality, and the proportion of persons who have been victimized or who have experienced crimes.

Source: Senate of the Philippines