Step Up Assists Tagbilaran City Government

The ELA Workshop participants
The ELA Workshop participants

The City Government of Tagbilaran completed the review of its Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) last August 23, 2014. The three-day workshop, which culminated the series of preparatory workshops, fine-tuned the city’s ELA that was prepared in July 2013 before the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. And since the planning parameters changed dramatically, the need to come up with a plan that is relevant to the needs of the people and the City Government has become a necessity.

The event was attended by Mayor Baba Yap and the city department heads, the Sangguniang Panlungsod led by Vice-Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and the city councilors, civil society representatives, representatives from the national government agencies, and the barangay captains.  The workshop  came up with prioritized the programs, projects, and activities that the city government will prioritize in 2015. Among these are the completion of the city hall’s repair, the provision of social and economic programs, and the needed rehabilitation of public infrastructure.

Step Up’s managing consultant, Mr. Michael Canares was the facilitator of the whole process including the pre-workshop activities that were conducted prior to the three-day workshop.

Step Up Facilitates Strat Plan for FCB Foundation

FCBFI
FCBFI Team during the workshop

Step Up Consulting was contracted by FCB Foundation, Inc. (FCBFI) to facilitate the process of crafting the strategic plan of the organization to 2020. This was the first time, after almost twenty years that the foundation reviewed its vision, mission, and goals. Executive Director Panfilo Asares said “It is important that we now revisit the directions of the foundation to make it relevant to the changing needs of the times”.

The process, which began with a review of the accomplishments of the foundation in the last five years, an analysis of the emerging trends of the country and the world, culminated in a workshop attended by the Board of Trustees of the foundation and its management committee. The workshop was held on 21 August 2014 at the board room of the First Consolidated Bank, the parent organization of FCBFI.

The strategic document, the output of this process, was consolidated by Step Up Consulting, aptly titled FCBFI 2020. This document outlines the directions of the foundation up to 2020.

FCBFI was very pleased with the outcomes of the process and thanked Step Up Consulting for its work.

Step Up Assists DILG

Mr. Canares and the participants of the PRMF/DILG consultative workshop on LRMPA.
Mr. Canares and the participants of the PRMF/DILG consultative workshop on LRMPA.

Step Up Consulting Services was contracted by the Provincial Road Management Facility to assist the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in reviewing its Local Road Management Performance Assessment Tool (LRMPAT), a tool in assessing the performance of local government units.   A consultative workshop was done with representatives of regional offices of DILG across the country last 22-23 May 2014 at The Linden Suites in Ortigas, Manila.

The Local Road Management Performance Assessment (LRMPA) Consultative Workshop started at 8:45 a.m. on 22 May with an opening program where Ms. Ruby Romero of DILG – SLRF  thanked the PRMF Team and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government for the support and partnership with DILG. For his part, Mr. Luke McNamara, Capacity Development Manager of PRMF emphasized the importance of sharing insights and experiences in the course of the workshop to further understand and improve the LRMPAT.

The LRMPAT was developed in 2012 when Mr. Canares was still the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator of PRMF.  The tool was pilot-tested in select cities and provinces in the same year to serve as input to the tool’s final revision.  Mr. Ronet Santos was then contracted by PRMF to facilitate the whole process.  In 2013, DILG rolled-out the implementation of the tool nationally and thus the need to hear the perspectives of those conducting the assessments in the provinces and cities.

A total of 46 participants attended the two-day workshop.  Mr. Michael Canares was the lead facilitator of the activity while Ms. Jean Celeste Paredes was its documenter.

Step Up Consulting Assists EU/KNH EIPID Project

IKFI planning
Participants during the EIPID Sustainability Planning Workshop

Step Up Consulting Services was contracted by the Ilog Kinderhome Foundation, a partner of Kindernothilfe (Germany) in implementing an EU-funded “Empowering Indigenous Peoples for Inclusive Development” Project (EIPID Project), to conduct its sustainability planning workshop. The project ends this year and thus the need to craft a hand-over strategy to the different EIPID partners. The project is implemented in the province of Antique, more particularly the towns of Lauan, Valderrama, Tobias Fornier, Anini-y, and Hamtic.

The goal of the project is to empower the Iraynon-Bukidnon and the Ati households and communities so that they can proactive engage in local development processes. To date, the organization was able to assist more 800 IP households through the self-help approach – where they save, engage in business, and undertake social/community action activities.  It resulted to positive changes more particularly to mothers and their children in terms of capacity to care and participate in local governance processes, and in terms of education and health, respectively.

The Sustainability Planning Workshop was held in Iloilo Business Hotel last 24-25 April, 2014.  It was attended by the members of the Board of Directors of Ilog Kinderhome Foundation, KNH representative in the Philippines, provincial officials of the Province of Antique, representatives from national government agencies as TESDA, DILG, and NCIP. Step Up Consulting planned and facilitated the two-day event.

Step Up Facilitates Aklan Internal Audit Strengthening

Aklan Internal Audit Visits Bohol (L-R: Brenda Magalit, Mae Cawaling, Elyen Agcaoili of Aklan Provincial Internal Audit Office, Gov. Edgar Chatto, Cecil Isubal of PRMF Aklan, and May Limbaga of Bohol Provincial Internal Audit Office)
Aklan Internal Audit Visits Bohol (L-R: Brenda Magalit, Mae Cawaling, Elyen Agcaoili of Aklan Provincial Internal Audit Office, Gov. Edgar Chatto, Cecil Isubal of PRMF Aklan, and May Limbaga of Bohol Provincial Internal Audit Office)

Step Up Consulting facilitated the capacity building activities for the Aklan Provincial Internal Audit Office (APIAO) through a series of on-site and online mentoring sessions intended to strengthen the capacity of APIAO in audit report writing and compliance monitoring.  Lead consultant Michael Canares facilitated the mentoring session on audit report writing in Kalibo last 2-3 April 2014 while Administrative Assistant Marilou Sale of Step Up coordinated the benchmarking visit of APIAO in Bohol last 9-11 April.

The APIAO team visited the office of the Provincial Administrator, AE Damalerio and Provincial Governor Edgar Chatto to learn about the support extended by the provincial government to Bohol’s internal audit team currently headed by May Limbaga.  They spent the whole day last 10 April 2014 to learn from the experience of Bohol’s Provincial Internal Audit Office, one of the very first local internal audit offices established in the country with the assistance of the Australian government.  The team also visited the Provincial Engineer’s Office and met with Engr. Gabino Redulla to learn about the road maintenance practices of the province.  At day’s end, they were given a short lecture on the role of internal audit in local governance in the road sector by Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) Bohol Manager Rosalinda Paredes.

The APIAO team expressed their appreciation to the provincial government of Bohol and to Step Up Consulting for a very productive benchmarking visit.  It can be recalled that Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting was the first consultant who assisted Bohol’s internal audit office in crafting its audit charter, in finalising its internal audit plan, and in conducting risk analysis using process-based approach sometime in 2010 when the office was still starting.  Currently, Bohol’s internal audit office is one of the few strong internal audit teams among the 10 provinces supported by PRMF.

Step Up Assists Bukidnon Province on PFM

IMG_3180

A training on Fiduciary Risk Assessment on the Use of Financial and Procurement Systems for PRMF Funds was conducted on June 4-7, 2013 at The Gardens, in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.  The training was attended by representatives from the different road-sector related offices of the Provincial Government of Bukidnon, more particulary, the Provincial Engineer’s Office, Provincial General Services Office, Provincial Budget Office, Provincial Treasurer’s Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Internal Audit Services Office, Provincial Accountant’s Office, Provincial Legal Office, the Provincial Human Resource Management and Development Office, and the Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat.

The objective of the engagement is to improve the capacities of the Provincial Government of Bukidnon on risk assessment particularly fiduciary risk and determine measures or treatments that could be implemented to reduce the impact of the fiduciary risks.

Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting was the resource person for the said training.  The participants expressed high satisfaction of the results of the training.  As customary, evaluation sheets were distributed to participants where they rated their experience in term of three areas – content, process and facilitator. The ratings indicated that the content is applicable to the workplace of the participants, that there is appropriate amount of information discussed in the workshop, and that the knowledge they have learned are new to them.  They also said that they were able to fully participate in the sessions, discuss and form their ideas,  and that they are eager to apply their learning when they go back to their work stations.

Capacity building is one of the strongest areas of Step Up’s services.  As expected, the participants commented that the learning facilitator managed the learning process and time well, that he relayed the knowledge to participants in an understandable and clear manner. Mr. Canares was also seen as very responsive to participants questions and flexible enough to adapt to the learning temperament of participants.

 

Step Up Trains LGU GST Facilitators

Buenavista TOT TrainingStep Up Consulting Services trained 14 representatives of LGU Buenavista on how to conduct gender-sensitivity trainings as part of the assistance of the GREAT Women Project to the municipality.  The training was conducted in 20-23 March 2013 at Galilea Center for Education and Development and was attended by representatives from the local government unit of Buenavista, the Department of Education, and the local community college.

The GREAT Women project aimed to enhance the enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment (WEE)resulting in sustainable livelihoods for women. It sought to contribute to a gender-responsive environment for the economic empowerment of women, particularly women in microenterprises. In Bohol, the GREAT Women project is implemented in the municipalities of Buenavista, Balilihan, and Jagna.

Step Up managing consultant, Michael Canares, has been assisting the GREAT Women Project (GWP)  not only in Bohol, but also nationally.  In 2010, Mr. Canares facilitated the re-scoping workshop of GWP after its midterm evaluation. Besides Bohol, Mr. Canares also assisted the Metro Naga and Iloilo.

The participants of the training were very thankful to GWP and to the facilitator because they learned significantly from the sessions.  They did not only learn how to facilitate GST sessions, but also how to design participatory events on GST.

Step Up Assists AECID-assisted project on gender mainstreaming

SAM_0333Step Up Consulting Services assisted an AECID project implemented in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women in firming up its results chain and project formulacion.

The “Institutional Strengthening of National and Local Governance on Human Rights and Economic Empowerment with a Gender Focus: Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women,” is a project partnership between the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). AECID supports PCW’s mandate under the Magna Carta of Women as the over-all monitoring and oversight agency in ensuring the implementation of the law. The project will also provide assistance to oversight national government agencies and selected local government units in performing their roles relative to the realization of their mandates under MCW.

Step Up facilitated the workshop held at Lima Park Hotel. It was attended by key personnel of the project last January 2012. An indepth review of the draft PCW-AECID Project Implementation Plan, Project Formulation Document and draft Performance Measurement Frameworks of LGUs was done to serve as basis in the revision of the results chain and the corresponding measurement indicators.

Step Up Celebrates 2013 with renewed optimism

Step Up Consulting Services held its pre-New Year party last 29 December 2012New Year Party at the Villa Alzhun Tourist Inn and Restaurant.  The party, attended by Step Up pool of consultants, their kids, and the trainees of the firm in the summer of 2012, was intended to celebrate the accomplishments of the firm in 2012 and also thank its main stakeholders within the firm in its contribution for the upcoming projects of the organization in 2013.

Step Up is now on its 9th year and its pool of consultants has significantly grown.  Its pool of consultants are researchers, local government practitioners, development workers, and professors who are committed to the the development of organizations, institutions, and communities.  Established as a social enterprise, Step Up is dedicated to assisting local communities, people’s organizations, local government units, non-profits, and business enterprises, in the delivery of services that benefits the society in general.

Step Up is also committed to training future leaders. As a strategy, it accepts five trainees each summer, selected from several applicants, to be trained in the provision of capacity building, financial management, and development research services to clients; these are the firm’s core services. Previous interns later became CPA board exam placers while majority now holds successful jobs within the country and elsewhere.

Step Up thanks its previous clients for believing in the capacity of the firm to provide quality services.  In 2013, Step Up plans to launch two programs that will benefit communities as well as children.

Step Up Assists a new resort in Panglao

Step Up Consulting Services, th255rough its managing consultant Michael Canares, was hired to assist the planning session of an upcoming resort in Panglao, Bohol.  The resort is due to open this year.

Mr. Canares has a substantial experience in the resort and restaurant business. He served as management consultant for almost ten years in one of the premier properties in Alona Beach – the Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant before it was sold in early 2011.

Currently, Mr. Canares is also management consultant of C U Restaurant, and C U at Sun Restaurant in Panglao. In a recent talk series at the Yuchengco Museum to celebrate 150 years of Swiss presence in the Philippines, Mr. Canares, together with Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant owner Mr. Marcel Brunner, talked on planning, maintaining, and constructing a beach resort in paradise.