February 25, 2019 - A bill seeking to establish a nationwide community-based monitoring system (CBMS) to inform poverty alleviation and development programs in the Philippines is close to becoming law.
Senate Bill No. 2172, or the Community-Based Monitoring System Act, was approved by the Senate on February 4, and adopted by the House of Representatives on February 25, 2019. The bill will now be endorsed for signing by the President of the Philippines.
If enacted, the CBMS Act will generate updated and disaggregated data for all barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines).
Synchronised data collection will take place every three years, led by the Philippines Statistics Authority, with the data stored in a national CBMS databank. The CBMS data can then be used by national government agencies and local government units in formulating and implementing poverty alleviation and development programs.
In particular, appropriate government agencies will use the data generated by the CBMS to prioritize timely, relevant and much-needed social protection programs in the areas found to have the highest incidence of poverty.
“Addressing poverty requires localized and area-specific programs to free the people from poverty and raise the standard of living,” said Sen. Nancy Binay, one of the authors of the measure.
As the data will be collected at regular intervals, the agencies will also be able to observe the impacts of these programs.
“Through the CBMS, we hope to be more efficient in the planning, program implementation and impact monitoring at the local level, while empowering communities to participate in the process,” said Sen. Loren Legarda, co-author of the bill. “We have to put in place a system that will ensure effective coordination across agencies, careful monitoring and efficient data collection … to see to it that social assistance goes to the right people.”
Sen. Sonny Angara, who sponsored the measure, described what kinds of information the government needs to help it succeed in its poverty alleviation programs. “The CBMS must include, among others, data pertaining to the proportion of households with access to water, access to sanitation facilities, those who are income poor, those who are informal settlers, the rate of unemployment, the proportion of children not attending school, and the proportion of children who are malnourished,” he said.
CBMS and PEP
The Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) was developed in the Philippines by Dr Celia Reyes in 1993 under the Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic Adjustment Policies Program, which led to the establishment of PEP (see more about the origins of PEP).
Reyes designed the CBMS to provide policymakers with a regular source of information on the micro-level impacts of macroeconomic shocks on vulnerable groups while empowering communities to participate in the development process.
In 2013 the CBMS Network Team, in collaboration with PEP, launched and deployed CBMS Accelerated Poverty Profiling (APP). CBMS-APP uses information communication technology, including tablets, for data collection (pictured above) and processing.
Photo: Municipality of Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines (2017)