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PROVINCE OF BENGUET - As part of its many mandate, personnel of the DILG have been providing technical assistance to Local Government Units ever since they set foot in the Department, in fact, one can say that it is already part of their daily life. Technical Assistance as referred herein may come in the form of seminar, coaching, etc. May it be part of their daily life, still, providing technical assistance or TA as they call it, proves to be very challenging.

Lack of or limited information on the subject matter (New issuances), or outdated knowledge due to non-attendance to an updating seminar or Trainer’s training conducted by the National Office due to lack of training slots, overlapping work considering the numerous Programs, Projects and/or Activities being handled by a Focal Person, most especially the one-man-team Municipal Local Government Officers, these are but among the many internal factors that affects the provision of technical assistance to LGU by DILG Personnel, not to mention the bunch of external factors that also affects the provision of TA.

For the province of Benguet, various strategies to address the concerns were introduced, and are continuously revised in order to cope with the ever-changing demands. The most effective strategy so far for this purpose is the “Buddy-Buddy System” which involves both MLGOOs and Focal Persons, herein MLGOOs are partnered with another MLGOO and likewise for PFPs with another PFP depending on their field of specialty. The strategy partnered with the Establishment of Local Government Resource Center, Strengthened Knowledge Transfer Strategies, and extensive self-research resulted to an overwhelming positive impact with regards to the Provision of Technical Assistance.

With numerous challenges at hand, yet another, a way bigger impediment appeared, and its ability to disrupt, is way higher than what we have seen so far. It forced the Government to implement basic health protocols and restrictions on travel which made it near to impossible and dangerous for a crowd to gather. Also considering its capability to spread, it stroked fear in the hearts of everyone, which prompted Government Offices to implement safety measures just to ensure the safety of its employees. Among those implemented are the no-visitor policy which requires the utilization of Social Media, Mobile Phones and other Online Platforms as means for transacting businesses.

The above restrictions are but another huge blow if Provision of Technical Assistance is concern. But make no mistake, our office is in full support of all the lawful restrictions being implemented by various offices of the LGUs! May that be, still we cannot neglect the fact that life must go on, that our office must continue with providing technical assistance to our LGUs, for the same is true for LGUs, life must go on, and they shall continue with complying and submitting reports.

At first, we have our Messenger and Mobile phones ringing with notifications from our LGU partners and clients asking for a lot of “how tos”, “what tos”, and the like. Top view, it seems like it is easier than the usual face-to-face transactions, well, straight up, it is not! It is way more stressful, time consuming, exhausting and on. The explanation time is much longer than that of the usual face-to-face transaction, difficulty in explaining due to highly technical terms sometimes difficult to get a hint if the one at the end of the line is getting what you are trying to explain, occurrences of misunderstanding, and is extending up until night time consuming the only time supposedly spent with families, worst even during Saturdays and Sundays.

This arrangement continued for several weeks, instead of conducting seminars, one on one phone call or messenger call is what is happening, and as expected, multiple Barangay Officials, and or Municipal Functionaries are availing of such. Fortunately, not long after, an online Platform named Zoom App and CISCO Webex was introduced. Such became an avenue to which orientation or seminars can be conducted, at least somehow addressing the concern of needing to call one-by-one the participants in order to explain a certain subject matter.

Somehow, it solved the greatest concern the pandemic brought, unfortunately with this new methodology comes new challenges. Among those new challenges are: (1) internet connectivity most especially that doing a live conference requires stable connection, (2) Features of the Online Platforms Being Utilized not all are Tech-savvy, (3) Issued laptops/desktop or Gadgets are not capable of running the applications, and others. These are not only limited to the DILG Personnel being the service provided but also to our LGU partners.

With all these developments, we are expecting that as we go ahead, challenges continue to pile up, but at the same time, this office will continue to devise and revise strategies, come up with better solutions and continue in introducing innovative actions in order to deliver the best quality of Technical Assistance to our LGU partners. Just as what PD Rufina T. Fegcan said on one of our provincial meeting “The successful implementation of our PPAs will be based on how quick we can adopt with the situation” Rest assured that despite all the challenges, personnel of this DILG-Benguet will continue to innovate in order to deliver the best quality of service to our clients, most especially technical assistance to our LGU partners. That is because we understand how important LGU’s role in making people’s life better, and that the Technical Assistance we are providing is integral in ensuring that the LGU’s are being able to meet the expectation of its constituents.

However difficult it is, whatever sacrifices it requires, we commit to have the objective be done! For we are DILG Personnel and doing the DILG thing is our way of life. #DILGBENGUET