STRAWBERRY FIELDS NO LONGER
Dennis Nacario, Head-Information Group
Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City, 6 February 2009
The perfect blend of cold breeze and warm personalities, I am convinced, was the reason behind the fruitful consultation workshop for the Local Government Units from Regions I, II, III, and CAR last 6 February 2009 at Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City. Speaking of fruitful, Baguio City never fails to remind me of the Beatles's song Strawberry Fields for reasons too obvious I think I need not elaborate.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about.
The striking connection between the song and the consultation is very amusing. Unlike the song's theme on fantasies and delusions, however, the outputs for this consultation are very much grounded on reality and actual personal experience. The participants openly shared their difficulties in implementing RA 9184 and its IRR-A and suggested meaningful recommendations to address these difficulties.
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
They explained their concerns on interventions from "higher-ups", advocated for RA 9184 training for Local Chief Executives and the private sector, emphasized on the need for holistic trainings that include values formation, and suggested the inclusion of a representative from the religious sector in BAC composition.
No one I think is in my tree; I mean it must be high or low.
Their observation that LGUs are differently situated from the whole government bureaucracy was highlighted by the following proposals:
- Include rural banks among those that can issue credit line commitments;
- Establish different thresholds for small value procurement depending on provincial, city, or municipal classification;
- Remove the power to appoint BAC members from the LCE in order to maintain the gap between the LCE and the BAC; and
- Delete pre-bid conference as it opens opportunities for collusion.
Always, no sometimes, think it's me, but you know I know when it's a dream.
The consultation was like a trip into and out of Strawberry Fields - it helped me understand a number of things. The issues and concerns are real, and many are hung about it, but it's a good thing we have an opportunity to do something about it.