The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Field Office I has recently conducted a consultation dialogue with staff of the Local Government Units in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte regarding utilization of the database of poor families known as Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are. It promotes effective and efficient implementation of anti-poverty programs and services through focused targeting.

National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Private and Non-Government Organizations and other social protection stakeholders may access to the database and obtain list of poor families through execution of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the department. The data-sharing agreement protects the names and other personal data of the families from potential abuse. It also limits the purpose of data utilization to serving as reference in potential beneficiaries of the pro-poor programs and services.

During the consultation dialogues, participants were given an orientation about the project – discussing the project cycle, guidelines on data sharing and utilization and presenting local-level data on poverty. Online access to the database was also demonstrated.

“It really is an advantage for us to have access to Listahanan database. It would assist us not only in identifying beneficiaries but also in planning development projects”, stated Ilocos Norte Social Welfare Officer Lilian Rin. However, Rin added that although Listahanan seems like a helpful tool for them, they are still undecided if they would enter into a MOA with the department.

Listahanan Field Coordinator Joan Nuesca explained that the utilization of data is bounded the data requirements attached to the MOA. “Data users give us requests for certain data sets which includes the family’s profile and their socio-economic information. These sets become our basis for monitoring and ensuring that social protection services are delivered to these target poor families”, Nuesca added.

Despite the gray areas in entering into a MOA, Listahanan looks forward for more LGUs entering into MOA thru their Local Chief Executives and eventually becoming one of the project’s data users and advocates. Participating LGU staff were enlightened about the project and enthusiastic to know more about data sharing.

“Imagine, in just one strike of a pen, many poor households will receive social protection services that may lead to the upliftment of their quality of life”, stated Nuesca as she encouraged the partnership between LGUs and the department.

Twenty-five (25) LGUs in Ilocos region have signed a data-sharing agreement with the DSWD as of July 2013. These are among the 646 LGUs nationwide who have forged a partnership with the department through the use of the Listahanan database.