This week I’m in Dinalupihan, in the Philippines, working with Lani Pe’aflor (left), Dinalupihan’s Municipal Treasurer. We’re working together, along with other Municipal staff, as part of the eGov4MD project. I’m here as a Volunteer Advisor (VA) to that project, with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO).
The eGov4MD project is an international collaborative, orchestrated by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), bringing together various Filipino organizations, municipalities, and foreign nonprofits (e.g., CESO). The project will help Filipino municipalities develop and leverage their Information Technology (IT) staff and capacities.
Managing the Municipal Treasury in Dinalupihan
Lani started working with the Municipality in 1993; initially as a tax collector, then taking roles in accounting, as section head, and assistant treasurer, before assuming her current role as Treasurer, in 2002. The main responsibilities of the Treasury Department, under Lani, are to collect Municipal taxes and pay the Municipality’s bills.
The Treasury Department is very much on the front-line; a place where citizens directly engage the Municipality on financial matters, including the paying of their bills and taxes, discussing (e.g., disputing) their taxation classification, and requesting financial assistance (when I go to Lani’s office, there is often a lineup, outside her door, of people looking for assistance). Balancing the interests of individual community members with the financial capacities of the Municipality is a constant challenge. Lani offers some insight about the different aspects of taxation in Dinalupihan, in this short 3 minute video…
The following photo shows some Treasury staff, at work at the front counter in the Municipal hall.
More about Lani
When I talk to Lani, I get the sense of a very compassionate person, of someone who genuinely cares about the people she interacts with.
Lani was born, and still lives, in Dinalupihan. She is married and mother of 3 boys. She has one sister and 2 brothers (both of who are currently working overseas; in Saudi Arabia and Korea respectively). Lani also has close, older relatives living (for 30 years) in Canada. When I asked Lani how many relatives she has living in Dinalupihan, her answer was hundreds! As Filipino family traditions are very strong, there are obviously many, ongoing opportunities for Lani to connect with her extended family and the larger community.
Beyond her work with the Municipality, Lani is also active in community services, especially as it involves schools.
Question for you, the reader:
How does Lani’s story connect with you? What can the collaboration mindset offer to… the challenge of addressing numerous community needs that far exceed the (Municipal) financial resources available to deal with those needs?
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