The Municipality of Loon, Bohol faced the challenge of monitoring the implementation of LGU-funded projects across its 67 barangays and safeguarding the collections made by deputized barangay treasurers. To address this, the LGU implemented automated systems collectively called LGU-Barangay (LB) Connect. These systems include the ETRACS, eBUDGET, eNGAS, EDIT, and PMMS applications, which provided an efficient monitoring tool for both the LGU and the barangays, and enhanced collaboration and data sharing for better program implementation. The LB Connect applications also incentivized barangay officials by providing ease in performing their functions, especially in fiscal responsibility and financial reporting. These cloud-based systems were implemented between 2009 and 2017 to promote efficiency, transparency, and participatory project implementation.
The main productivity challenge that the project addressed was the inefficient management of funds and delayed project implementation in the barangays. The lack of proper tracking and monitoring of funds and projects resulted in delayed disbursement of funds, inaccurate financial reporting, and non-compliance with COA regulations. There were instances where funds needed to be correctly classified and transferred, and incomplete supporting documents caused delays in the verification process. The situation was compounded by the involvement of multiple offices in tracking projects, which made coordination and collaboration difficult. The project aimed to address these challenges by providing a data-sharing platform that promotes transparency and accountability in financial reporting and project implementation. The project sought to enhance its capacity to manage funds and ensure timely and accurate reporting by streamlining the process and providing tools and training to barangay treasurers.
The LB Connect initiative addresses the main productivity challenge of a uniform and efficient approach in monitoring the downloaded funds and project implementation of 67 barangays in Loon. It provides a digital transformation platform to the barangay level, which includes ETRACS, eBudget, eNGAS, EDIT, and PMMS. These applications serve as monitoring tools by enhancing collaboration between the LGU and the barangays for better program implementation through data sharing.
The LB Connect initiative is innovative as it triggers the digital transformation in the barangay level, providing value-added features that capacitate the barangay treasurers in their tasks, particularly with compliance to COA rules and regulations. It also provides a data sharing and monitoring interface, providing accurate, timely, and standardized financial reports that help comply with regulatory agencies’ transparency requirements.
The LB Connect initiative’s management strategies include project buy-in, which aligns all stakeholders with the initiative’s need to succeed. Its value-added features help sell the idea to the target market, making it easier to roll out and sustain implementation.
Productivity Gains, Outcomes, and Impact
Implementing LB Connect produced significant productivity gains and outcomes. For instance, the initiative addressed the problems of erroneous classification of funds, delayed project implementation, and incomplete supporting documents, which led to more accurate and timely financial reporting. The system also facilitated compliance with regulatory agencies’ transparency requirements and improved service delivery across the LGU’s departments and 67 barangays.
The system’s innovative features, such as its value-added components, contributed to its success. LB Connect is not just a data-sharing platform but also capacitates the barangay treasurers in complying with COA regulations. The project’s roll out and sustained implementation were due to its value-added features, which were helpful to the barangay counterparts.
Based on interviews with stakeholders, the initiative had a significant impact on end-users and beneficiaries. It enabled the municipal treasurer to monitor unremitted collections and the use of accountable forms by the 67 deputized barangay treasurers, leading to more accurate and timely financial reporting. The LGU management and 67 barangay officials gained a clear monitoring and efficient control of project implementation through the Project Management Monitoring System (PMMS).
Furthermore, the project helped improve the delivery of essential services in different barangays and Loon LGU’s overall performance by automating disbursement processes, tracking budget-related transactions, and improving the recording of collections. The Loon LGU also minimized costs by developing EDIT and PPMS in-house and by using local hosting for the four applications, while PMMS was a cloud-based solution.
In summary, the LB Connect initiative addressed the productivity challenges faced by the Loon LGU and its 67 barangays which resulted in significant productivity gains and outcomes. Its innovative features, value-added components, and cost-saving measures contributed to its success and positive impact on end-users and beneficiaries.
Lessons Learned/Challenges in Implementing the Intervention
Despite the successes of the project, there are still potential areas of improvement that can be explored. One of the main challenges encountered during the project implementation was the computer literacy skills of some of the barangay treasurers. While the LGU provided more computers for the system, some treasurers may still need help inputting data due to their lack of computer skills. To address this, the LGU can provide training programs for the treasurers to improve their computer literacy skills and ensure that they can maximize the benefits of the system.
Another area of improvement is the need for continuous updates and enhancements of the system. While the LGU hired IT professionals to maintain and enhance the system, there is still a need to regularly update and improve the system to ensure that it remains relevant and caters to the needs of the stakeholders. The LGU can establish a feedback mechanism where end-users can provide suggestions and feedback on improving the system and use this feedback to drive continuous improvements.
Finally, the LGU can also explore integrating additional features and functionalities to the system, such as mobile access and data analytics tools. These can further enhance the system’s capabilities and improve the productivity performance of the organization while also ensuring that the beneficiaries can enjoy the benefits of the latest technological innovations.
Municipality of Loon. (2018, October 24). Loon, Bohol – Top Winner In DICT 2018 Awards For Municipalities [Facebook status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/lguloonofficial/posts/loon-bohol-top-winner-in-dict-2018-awards-for-municipalities-loon-mayor-elvi-pet/1131426167011844/
Jhunie Ray Suarez. (2019, August 02). LGU Loon’s ELBI Connect [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/At-taWotfQg