THE Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA), Inc. underscored the importance of “Gender and Development” (GAD) Planning in the development of local communities to government representatives during an assessment conference last December 28 held at the ZABIDA Peace & Development Resource Center at Suterville, San Jose Gusu.
During the presentation of the Gender Research Result, Research Head Writer Liezl Camacho evaluated the GAD plans individually prepared by five selected participating barangays, namely, San Jose Gusu, Mariki, La Paz, Sta. Catalina and Arena Blanco. The GAD plans should have served as their preliminary framework for future long-term plans, she said.
According to local researchers and participating barangay kagawads and officials who served as both respondents and researchers, they were either not aware of a GAD Plan allocation, which is at least 5% in the Barangay Development Plan, or had not used it for its intended purpose. One case was in Barangay San Roque, where the GAD money was reallocated for BCPC (Barangay Council for the Protection of Children), which they recently realized was inappropriate.
ZABIDA now aims to extend the advocacy and implementation of the gender program that I began last year to other communities of the city by providing technical assistance to the barangay officials to draft their GAD plan, according to ZABIDA Regional Technical Coordinator Esperencita E. Hupida. Furthermore, ZABIDA envisions completing the cycle of implementation, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation in all barangays, she added.
Dr. Grace J. Rebollos, vice-president of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), which implements the program in the city, suggested to barangay officials to come up with disaggregated gender data exclusively from their local records, as well as to appoint a “gender officer”. In this manner, it will be easier for them to both point out which gender-related issues are emerging and come up respective gender-related initiatives.
Present during the presentation were Department of Interior and Local Government City Director Prof. Mohammad Taha S. Arakama and CHRMO Asst. Dept. Head Roderico Jose L. Lucero, who responded well on the capacities that the local government is able to render, even later that the City Government acknowledged the importance of GAD plans and how they can sort out gender-related issues throughout the city.
ZABIDA chairman Fr. Angel Calvo urged the participants and other stakeholders to push forward the program in order to mobilize and involve more women in community development, in which they can make significant contribution.
The mobilization of women in community development is part of ZABIDA’s and PAZ’s umbrella program on public diplomacy and good governance. (Leo Jess Baya)