Graceville, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
Barangay Graceville was carved out of a larger barangay as a result of the passage of the Local Government Code in October 1991. In its early years, the barangay residents had to contend with poverty, crime, garbage disposal and inefficiency in government service delivery.
The community residents and the LGU eventually came together to discuss the myriad problems and come out with solutions. The result was a six point program called LETS GO, which addresses concerns related to Livelihood, Education, Training, Services, Good governance and Opportunities.
Community participation in local governance is evident through volunteerism, organization of residents, participation in tax campaigns, and the holding of children’s congress.
Budgeting is participatory. Residents participate in planning exercises where they identify problem areas, give recommendations on how the barangay can solve the problems of residents, and define success indicators of barangay programs. The inputs serve as the basis for the barangay budget and the formulation of a five-year Barangay Development Plan. Transparency is practiced in budgeting, procurement, and decision making.
There is great emphasis on human resource development through the provision of training on planning, development of livelihood skills, environmental management, nutrition, family planning, maintenance of healthy lifestyle, legislation, and values formation. The barangay provides facilities where alternative learning classes can be held. It also supports the Department of Education’s program to train the out of school youths and provides scholarships and free instructional materials.
Barangay administration has been professionalized. An employee handbook identifies the responsibility of every worker including volunteers. There is a system to be followed in requesting for the use of barangay services and facilities and a chart details the assignment every day. Government services are delivered with respect, quality, and promptness. Information on how barangay services can be availed of are provided and residents participate in evaluating how governance is practiced.
A dispute resolution system has also been put in place where complaints and domestic quarrels can be reported by residents, heard and settled. Hearings are systematically scheduled and posted publicly. Conflict settlement is done in a dedicated room.
The barangay runs a mobile clinic. The doctor and other trained health workers take the clinic through motorcycles which are fully stocked with medicine. These are financed through the barangay budget and through solicitation by the office of the chair. The barangay maintains facilities where residents can hold social and recreational activities. Like other barangays, it also ensures the maintenance of barangay roads, street lights, drainage system, fencing of the national high school, river bank park, training camp, and an herbal garden. The barangay has a General Services Group that conducts maintenance and repairs of basic utilities.
With all these systems in place, Barangay Graceville became a paragon of good governance winning several accolades over the years. Delegations from various local government units and students from various schools have visited Barangay Graceville to learn about its programs. The barangay has also entertained visitors from Myanmar, South Korea and Australia.