‘Purok’ strategy eyed for eGwenBy Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
The development of the purok or sitio – a smaller unit than the barangay – is the new focus of the eGwen Our Cebu program on its fourth year.
Sharing sessions and talks were given yesterday to inspire offiials from Cebu’s 52 municipalities and component cities in the 4th partners conference of the program held at the Cebu International Convention Center.
Gov. Gwen Garcia said she hopes that the next leaders elected after 2013 will continue the program.
At present, only 19 municipalities have a “purok” system.
The “purok” setup was identified as the success factor behind San Francisco municipality’s wining the top award for good governance under the eGwen program for three straight years.
“We realized in our fourth year that the purok system is the best strategy for us to achieve our goal. So now we are encouring the 52 municipalities and cities to adopt the strategy,” said Garcia at the opening of the conference.
Egwen stands for Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures which was established in 2008 in partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) with the vision to make Cebu an ideal place to live, work, play, invest and do business.
At first, the program tapped government units at the barangay level by recognizing champion barangays which were able to solve common community problems.
Criteria used in a scorecard system included cleanliness, sanitation and health; greening, protection and enhancement of the environment; creativity, artistry and aesthetic impact; appreciation, promotion and nurturing culture and heritage; and governance systems and structures.
Governor Garcia said she believes the key was the “purok” system that then San Francisco Mayor Alfredo Arquillano established earlier in in 2004.
Arquillano, who is now vice mayor of San Fernando, said Purok Kambadis is presently doing waste segregation at the source and building up capital through contributions of P100 per household to finance community improvement projects.
“They are doing that because they are now recognizing ownership of their projects and they feel proud. As a result we have cleaner and safer communities because people are now doing something with a common vision,” said Arquillano.
With the purok setup, San Fernando municipality finds it easier to communicate to the grassroots to carry out government programs.
“They feel more involved and more empowered,” said Arquilla.
Governor Garcia said that with San Fernando town as a model,she hopes others would duplicate their success.
“We can spend hundreds of millions in funds to beautify a place but in the end that will fail because the people in the community are not involved. With the purok system, we are seeing more success,” said Garcia.
RAFI president Roberto Aboitiz said that as the partner organization, the foundation will ask the next administration after the 2013 elections to continue and support the program.
Aboitiz said he was confident the next leaders will do so given the benefits already achieved for the communities and can still achieve for the whole of Cebu in the future.
Oslob Mayor Ronald Guarin said the purok system in his municipality received praise from from tourists who notice how beautiful and clean Oslob is.
The impact is significant, he said, especially with Oslob drawing more visitors as a tourism destination.
Garcia said the creation of puroks will be included as a criteria in the evaluation of the top 20 LGUs for the eGwen program.
“We will also now be awarding top 10 puroks this year,” said Garcia.