Department of Budget Management Regional Office V
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Strategy; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Operations
14 October 2020
This is GBPR Entry
iPAMS, known as Internet-based Project Accomplishment Monitoring System, is an innovative application package composed of integrated systems such as iPAMS Site, iPAMS SUC (State Universities and Colleges), iPAMS DBM, and iPAMS Protocol. iPAMS Protocol is the highlighted feature of this entry for the Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR) COVID-19. The project was initiated and funded by the Department of Budget Management Regional Office V and developed by Camarines Norte State College’s Institutional Planning and Development Office through a collaboration agreement forged on January 31, 2020, during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background and Problem
COVID-19 hinders the DBM Regional Office from conducting a face-to-face evaluation and actual site visit because of the protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) protocols, not to mention travel requirements and potential quarantine. The spread of the virus is deemed high in areas where people constantly interact, particularly the construction sites. With iPAMS, project engineers are now required to observe health protocols as part of their inspection activities. On this premise, they should implement stringent monitoring as construction workers enter the campus premises.
While State Universities and Colleges have their own rules on the COVID-19 Protocols, such policies may not have been cascaded to the construction workers working inside the campuses. Or even if cascading is done, SUCs may not have a way to monitor their compliance.
Solution and Impact
The iPAMS Site is an android application using a cell phone in the inspection activities by the field project engineers or authorized inspectors; it has two attached features–the iPAMS Budgeting, which provides access to the budget and accounting in the preparation of the needed financial and accounting reports and the iPAMS Protocol which provides a checklist of items to monitor compliance with Environment Health and Safety (EHS) and COVID-19 Protocols
- iPAMS SUC, which is the desktop partner of the android system that consolidates the inspection conducted by a certain SUC
- iPAMS DBM, a platform that monitors the performance of all nine (9) SUCs in the Bicol Region, consolidates the SUC’s respective accomplishments in an almost real-time mode.
As part of the project monitoring and evaluation, the Department of Budget and Management conducts onsite visitations to projects quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. Having nine (9) SUCs (with two island provinces) which are geographically apart from each other, actual field inspection is not only time-consuming but also disruptive on the parts of the DRM regional staff, considering that all of them in Division A will have to take at least 3-day office work break per SUC (weeklong is the inspection in Catanduanes and Masbate). This means that they will spend at least 108 days for quarterly monitoring for the 9 SUCs, 54 days semi-annually, and 27 days for annual SUC visitation, for 189 days to perform complete monitoring of projects funded under the GAA (79% of the total working days for a year).
The initial result of the Technology Acceptance Survey showed that: iPAMS makes the conduct of inspection more convenient: 27.3% strongly agree, 36.4% agree, and 36.4% somewhat agree; iPAMS helps in preparing inspection reports much easier than without it like before: 27.3% strongly agree, 54.5% agree, and 18.2% somewhat agree; they are comfortable using the iPAMS: 54.5% agree, and 45.5 % somewhat agree; think iPAMS is a good innovation in project accomplishment monitoring: 27.3% strongly agree, 63.6% agree, and 9.1% somewhat agree; using iPAMS promoted timely and more accurate reports: 27.3% strongly agree, 45.5% agree, and 27.3 % somewhat agree; Believe that the use of iPAMS has improved productivity in terms of time spent in field works and report preparation: 9.1% strongly agree, 54.5% agree, and 36.4% somewhat agree.
iPAMS has surpassed its intended use. While COVID-19 prevents SUCs and DBM from implementing actual project visitation, with this application, the SUCs could implement blended inspection and DBM remote monitoring. Project accomplishment reports have been generated and submitted within the prescribed submission date. Although process issues were still observed, these would no longer require a system code overhaul but only an improvement. Recently, all nine (9) SUCs have been using iPAMS. At least 111 participants joined in the On-Line Regional Orientation, including the nine (9) SUC presidents, their respective vice presidents, planning directors, and budget officers, to name a few.
The development of iPAMS started on 3 February 2020, although preliminaries have already been made before the said date. The development phase was done in 6 months, and it took another three (3) months for testing and deployment until the third week of November 2020. They conducted a simultaneous regional inspection on 21-30 October 2020, where all the nine (9) SUCs in the Bicol Region took part. The DBM Regional Office V issued Regional Advisory No. 1 on September 15, 2020, for the orientation and testing of iPAMS, followed by another advisory on October 6, 2020.
Through this, all the work programs under the GAA Funded projects for 2019 and 2020 were encoded in the system and the corresponding inspections were likewise performed and reported. This activity updated the data/profile of existing projects and was made coherent and consistent with the on-hand records of the Department of Budget Management.
When the iPAMS was introduced, it started with Camarines Norte State College as an in-house project monitoring desktop application. It quickly grew and expanded as a remote monitoring tool, including the Geographical Positioning System, schedule/calendars, and the imaging capabilities of android phones. The evolution or milestones of iPAMS included the following periods and development stages: conceptualization, analysis, design development, programming, coding, user orientation, beta tests, improvement, and deployment within its timeline of 9-10 months.