Manny Valdehuesa .
THERE’S a task that barangay folks shouldn’t overlook: To make sure that their barangay has an Annual Investment Plan, which is an important companion to the Comprehensive Multisectoral Development Plan earlier discussed.
Concerned barangay citizens should make sure that this Annual Investment Plan is a competent plan, not just a shopping list of projects the officials hope will be picked out by some mayor or congressman with pork barrel funds to spare.
One must keep in mind that for a corporation or an economy to grow, it needs a well-crafted investment plan. But one wonders whether anyone knows that the barangay is in fact a public corporation and an economy (with land, labor, and capital).
As both a corporation and an economy, the barangay should therefore be managed properly and productively. The investment plan is needed for the barangay’s development and progress.
It is the duty of every barangay citizen—especially knowledgeable ones—to ensure that this Plan addresses the priorities defined in the community’s Comprehensive Development Plan. This will ensure maximum benefits for everyone in the neighborhoods. The plan should be based on a socioeconomic survey of the neighborhoods, which then serve as a guide to investment priorities.
It would help greatly to have this plan prepared with participation of the financial experts or planners residing in the barangay or adjoining community. Barangay residents who are accountants, financial professionals, business owners or managers, professors in nearby schools, and other professionals in the community are duty-bound to share their expertise in its preparation. Their involvement will ensure that local opportunities for investment or development are identified and prioritized.
The Annual Investment Plan should take account of the community’s needs—the entire community, not just the poor sectors and squatters in it. They deserve preferential treatment, of course, but others are also entitled to a just share of development even as they share its costs.
Even the wealthy are entitled to their just share of the community’s programs, benefits, and opportunities. In fact, they should be encouraged and given incentives to expand their operations or businesses so they will pay more taxes and thus create opportunities for employment and livelihood. Being entrepreneurs, they can be counted on to identify projects that the barangay can invest in, as well as assist in finding markets for local goods and services in other barangays or communities beyond.
They can also help analyze the results of the socioeconomic survey and, based on the community’s profile, help prioritize the most productive programs and projects for the barangay (which is their public corporation) to invest profitably in. Investment assistance should be given also to local entrepreneurs, handicrafts producers, and other inhabitants with skills or technologies that find no ready market.
Such assistance is a sure way to expand the barangay’s economy, increase its Gross Barangay Product, and enhance its capacity to undertake beneficial programs for all sectors of the community.
Doing so will make the barangay a productive asset of the national economy. (to be continued)
(Manny Valdehuesa Jr. is a former Unesco regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, Development Academy of Philippines; member, Philippine Mission to the UN; vice chair, Local Government Academy; awardee, PPI-Unicef outstanding columnist. He is chairman/convenor of the Gising Barangay Movement Inc.. E-mail: email@example.com)