By Brenda Pureza
Checkymyschool (CMS) Cagayan De Oro and the Local Government Resource Center (LGRC) have been working together to promote constructive engagement among public education stakeholders since June 2015 when the two organizations inked a Memorandum of Agreement.
Established by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2005 with support from the Canadian International Development Agency, LGRC aims to support and enhance the capability of Local Government Units (LGUs) in managing their affairs and services through sharing of information, knowledge management, (KM), convergence, and innovations. To date, LGRC has 17 regional offices and one national office.
“We provide different services to LGUs and partner organizations, such as developing knowledge products for public use and facilitating information sharing through appropriate ICT [information and communications technology] support,” explains Miguel “Migs” Siao, DILG Regional Information Technology Officer and LGRC Administrator.
As a knowledge hub, LGRC actively seeks collaboration with various stakeholders. The resource center worked with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in setting up the government agency’s e-library project. In partnership with various LGUs, LGRC has also been conducting legislation seminars aimed at promoting capacity development.
The CMS-LGRC partnership in Cagayan De Oro has been productive and mutually beneficial. LGRC supports CMS in various ways, such as letting CMS use the resource center’s facilities, providing assistance in collaterals development and events management, among others. For its part, CMS shares its collated data with LGRC.
Siao first heard about CMS from a presentation delivered by ANSA-EAP Executive Director Don Parafina during a 2014 digital summit in Manila. During one of the meetings of the LGRC Multistakeholder Advisory Council in Cagayan De Oro, Siao spoke with Jonathan “Bong” Mongcal, who at that time the Group Foundation representive to the council. (Mongcal is currently CMS Coordinator for Cagayan De Oro.) When Mongcal mentioned CMS, Siao immediately thought about collaboration possibilities.
The CMS-LGRC is an ideal partnership, according to Siao. “If LGRC is able to help CMS share its gathered data, this would make a huge impact on improving public education.” He admitted to being “shocked” after learning from CMS data about public schools located in remote areas of Cagayan De Oro. “I never knew these schools existed.”
Siao’s desire to help deepened further after joining a SaGift Aral outreach activity, an educational kit distribution project of CMS Cagayan De Oro. “It was heartwarming and fulfilling to see the happy faces of students receiving crayons, pencils, bags and other school supplies. It was volunteerism at its best.”
For LGRC, data gathering and provision of services are important first steps in its collaboration with CMS. Its ultimate goal is achieving the last phase in any change process initiative: institutionalization. This involves CMS integration in LGUs, adoption of its mechanisms and sustained LGU financial support for the intiative. While achieving this goal requires effective lobbying among different localities and government institutions, Siao is convinced that CDO is on the right path. “The Exit Conference could be a first step in institutionalizing the results. Maybe the stakeholders can agree to work together.”
Edited by Eric Michael B. Santos