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Tagging is a Big Deal

By Danica Marie Supnet

We reignited our local tracking initiatives of monies intended to improve local resilience and adaptability with a resounding, “Let’s get it on!” It’s about high time to start packing up and start another round of meetings and field visits. Our next stop… Davao del Norte.

We have three (3) sites on our sight: Two (2) Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector (InFRES) sub-project in Panabo City and one (1) Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) project in the Municipality of Sto. Tomas. Based on iCSC collected data under the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative, these projects are tagged as Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA).

InFRES is an Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded program and implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2006.

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InFRES sub-projects in Panabo City include the 15.84 Farm-to-Market (FMR) roads for rural barangays with a total cost of P 42.5 million. A part of which is the P 11.9 million 4.4. kilometer FMR from Matignao to Kauswagan in Upper Licanan-Kauswsagan, Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

 

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Another sub-project is the Construction of Upper Licanan Level II Water System. The project aimed to provide potable water system in which each project segment has an elevated steel tank, pump and pump house, waterlines, and communal faucets specifically located near cluster of hoses. Currently, the water system is maintained and managed by the Barangay officials of Upper Licanan.

 

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PCF projects on the other hand are implemented by the Department of Interior and Local Government—Bureau of Local Government Development (DILG-BLGD).

The only DRR-CCA tagged PCF project in Davao Del Norte is located at the municipality of Sto. Tomas. Sto. Tomas is an awardee of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) in 2011. The 1 Million peso incentive was allocated to the purchase of medical equipment such as X-Ray machines and Blood Chemistry machine for the use of the municipal health center.

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The documents we’ve reviewed evidently show that these tracked projects are not intended for adaptation. It was also affirmed by the LGU’s project implementing officers who we’ve interviewed. The big underlying problem in these scenarios falls on the typical project tagging process.

In the case of Panabo City, no tagging process was done during or after the project implementation. The tag provided by the AFAI data was from the records of the direct Funders (which is ADB). Unlike in PCF projects, tagging is done during the evaluation of the projects at the Regional level. Based on our interviews with local dignitaries, most projects are not 100% adaptation, but for local economic development. On the other hand, mistagging could have been due to encoding error. Most importantly, these observations helped the project officers to re-evaluate their tagging process and ensure fewer discrepancies on the data to provide updated and accurate information.

 

Courtesy Call with Panabo City Mayor James Gamao

Courtesy Call with Panabo City Mayor James Gamao

Local tracking process doesn’t only involve monitoring and evaluation of projects. It is also essentially for validation of existing information or data about the project that is usually presented into an database. Thus, local tracking validates the tagging process results. Providing a precise public data is definitive to transparency, but the lack of validation can be disruptive.

Although it seems that the tagging cliché only answers the question of whose responsibility it is to evaluate and classify the projects into categories such as DRR-CCA; the answer infers another question to whether why this clamour’s important.

My take for this issue is that the importance of information is not accurately seen in hindsight but clearer if we get a hand of the specific details of the projects. Tagging process is just one aspect of adaptation finance accountability but it means a lot. Tagging is a big deal because it hints the practice of climate financing in a certain country.  It also reflects how the government’s planning and implementation system works—whether the programs are aligned to sustainable development goals that benefit the general public.

Societies opt to know whether these funds are adaptation projects that benefit the grassroots. Importantly, proper tagging also determines fiduciary standards.

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