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1st Kumustahan Session with Reform Leaders and Mentees

Of Binding Constraints and the Power of Your Network

Coalitions for Change (CfC) launched its catch-up session, Kumustahan on October 2, 2021, which gathers reform leaders and mentees to discuss updates on their policy reform journeys.

Mentors and mentees from the first cohort of the Mentoring program participated in the virtual session.

Francis Gentoral, Executive Director of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, shared his reform experience. He recalled his initial intention to help local governments comply with more than 30 reports and plans required by National Government Agencies. Undergoing the DE Mentoring program helped him identify a binding constraint that prevented Local Government Units from complying with these requirements: ready access to needed data. Francis is now focused on creating an online platform to make these plans and reports more accessible online.

As a Regional Development Council (RDC) member in Western Visayas, he proposed this idea to his organization and gained its endorsement through an RDC resolution. This led to the Department of Science and Technology dedicating a budget to support the development of this web portal (you can read more about this in his article, which was published in Business World).

Francis’ mentor Filomeno Sta. Ana III, Co-Founder of Action for Economic Reforms, then talked about finding “Binding Constraints” to overcome development challenges. He defined the binding constraint as one that, unless it is resolved, will not lead to significant change and worse, will make the sector, society or the economy stagnate. To clear the development impasse, Sta. Ana’s advice to local reform leaders: look for the central issues among the multitude of problems and prioritize the solution to a narrow set of issues comprising the binding constraints.

Participating mentees voiced their insights and suggestions regarding Francis’ reform. Charmaine Lopez, who works in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the City of Dasmariñas in Cavite, is interested in replicating Francis’ reform in her area of assignment. Bane Agbon reflected on the need for availability of current data for coordinated action at the local-level in response to the pandemic

With the success of the first Kumustahan, the participants agreed to do a session once a month. It will be held on November 6 (Saturday) at 10:00am, featuring Charmaine Lopez, who is working to scale up a reform on disseminating Barangay-level disaster risk reduction plans through social media. Graduates of the DE online course will also be invited.