Through Millennium Challenge Account – Philippines (MCA-P) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a study visit is currently being conducted nationwide to simplify the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) in terms of community procurement and finance last December 2-6, 2013.

In Bicol region alone, nine barangays in the municipalities of Bombon, Bula and Baao in Camarines Sur were visited by finance and procurement consultants from International Business and Technical Consultants, Inc (IBTCI) which has been hired by MCA-P and MCC.

The study aims to validate the current gaps encountered by the community-implementers of Kalahi-CIDSS as they are directly involved in the project. The team of the study group is composed of Kamal Altafullah, Roosevelt Holt, Franklin Ibemessie who are the Procurement Specialist, Finance Specialist and Senior Procurement Specialist, respectively. The trio consultants from the United States of America (USA) were escorted by Rogelio Borbon and Samo Tucpi of MCA-P.

According to Javier Bersabal, one of the community volunteers interviewed in Baao, the study visit was an opportunity to share his learning and address bottlenecks of the project.

“Maganda na kami mismo ang kinukunsulta nila kasi kami ang nagpapatakbo ng proyekto sa barangay [It’s a good thing they consulted us because we manage the project in the community],” he said.

The study visit was also conducted in Regions I, IV-B, VI and VII with 30 barangays to be assessed in total. It is expected to end by January next year.

MCC is one of the foreign donors of Kalahi-CIDSSS which provides grants to 15 municipalities in Bicol region from 2012-2014. Moreover, MCA-P is the monitoring body of MCC which provides technical supervision to ensure that Kalahi-CIDSS to meet the standards in successfully completing development interventions in the communities.