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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Balbalan Sunrise"

It was thoughtful of LGU Balbalan Information Officer Gerry Oribello to send us links to the municipality’s Multiply account, “Balbalan Sunrise,” where one finds an information trove consisting of news articles, downloadable public documents, photos, music and video files.  For those who have been away from the ili for a long time, “Balbalan Sunrise” is something that can bring them closer to vovoroy, to home: to the warmth of the hearth above which are suspended dry firewood surrounded by dozens of yellowing or darkened alingo and ugsa jawbones; the intoxicating smell of pine flitches that years ago used to serve as torches when going back home from the plaza or from another village; the invigorating pine-scented air especially at early morn and twilight; the clear, refreshing waters of the Saltan River; the delight of turning stones along the riverbank and finding crabs to take home for dinner; the thrill of gripping lippay with your left hand and, with the flick of the forefinger of the other hand, twirling it fast against a row of other large coin-like seeds; those naughty moments when we impish boys would clothe ourselves in black, make our rounds of nearby houses and scare the archangel out of girls eating their dinner in peace; all those kind-hearted kailyan who would gladly butcher their last chicken for a returning daughter or son, and hand over their most treasured earthen pot or multi-branched antler as a send-off gift to a stranger; those soothing dark forestlands guarded by stout oak and towering pine trees; those endless traipsing up and down trails while munching pinit...

I am impressed with apo Oribello's posting of downloadable public documents like the municipality’s Statement of Income and Expenditures, in compliance with the “Full Disclosure Policy” (FDP) of the government. The FDP is based mainly on three national laws – The Local Government Code (RA 7160), Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184) and the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (RA 10147) – which were enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in local governance. The FDP requires LGUs to post 14 public documents [note: data copied from DILG MC 2011-08 issued by SILG Jesse Robredo] in (1) conspicuous places, (2) print media, and (3) official online sites during the entire fiscal year. These reports are as follows: (A) Annual (Budget Report, Procurement Plan/List, SEF Income and Expenditure Estimates, GAD Accomplishment Report, Statement of Receipts and Expenditures, Statement of Debt Service) (B) Quarterly (Statement of Cash Flow, Items to Bid, Report of SEF Utilization, Trust Fund (PDAF) Utilization, Bid Results on Civil Works and Goods and Services, Abstract of Bids as Calculated, 20% Component of the IRA Utilization); (C) Monthly (Supplemental Procurement Plan).  According to SILG Robredo, failure on the part of the local officials to fulfill these publication requirements means “gross negligence, or dereliction of duty” (Section 60, LGC) and is thus a ground for “disciplinary action.” 

I join other yBalbalan in saluting Mayor Kenneth Mangaoang and his team of elective officials and functionaries for making LGU Balbalan more accessible via the virtual/cyberhighway.  The former mayor and now Kalinga Vice Governor Jesse Allen Mangaoang left a model of governance which a political neophyte like his brother Kenneth would find difficult, but not impossible, to follow.  It seems apo Kenneth has gotten the hang of his new job though, and I’m sure he is passionate enough to make the sunrise over Balbalan “stand still” and thereby construct his unique brand of effective leadership on Kalinga’s political landscape.

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