Institutionalizing The Regular Conduct Of Bloodletting Activity In The Municipality Of Magallanes, Creating A Local Blood Council And Providing Funds Thereof
While there may be other means to cultivate change, the institutionalization of policies creates a lasting one. This is one of the core realizations of Councilor Aina Mari Sisante of Magallanes, Cavite when she first held her legislative position, having worked then as the Municipal Administrator. Her background as the Municipal Administrator allowed her to see the day-to-day operations of the City Hall, where she noticed an increase in their constituents seeking blood packs. While the LGU already had bloodletting activities then, one of the things Sisante did during her first stint as a councilor was to institutionalize this program.
Furthermore, Sisante shared how a surge of Dengue cases, chronic illnesses, and even vehicular accidents posed a challenge to the LGU for they all need urgent blood donations. To put forth a solution, Sisante made sure that there is a policy to ensure that the bloodletting activity will be regularized and proper funding will be set aside.
To materialize all these, there have been several factors Sisante considered. First was the funding as this will allow the program to continue; she then had the ordinance anchored to the Disaster Risk Reduction Management fund. This was made possible because Magallanes, as Sisante shared, is not a disaster-prone area, but where landslides are normal hazards; most of the DRRM fund was for preventive use such as purchasing equipment. Second was the thrust of the LGU. Since the need was evident, Sisante was able to have the local government's approval. Third and perhaps the most important, is the people's reception. Gradually, she saw that there has been an increase in donors before being institutionalized. Coupled with committee meetings with the Committee on Health and the Municipal Health Office, who saw the great need for the ordinance, all these conditions encouraged Sisante to write and fight for its passage.
Sisante also noted that it was a smooth-sailing process of lobbying the ordinance to the council as none were opposed and all of her co-legislators saw the usefulness of the policy.
Since its passage in 2016, there have been more than half a thousand donors, which are mostly composed of returning donors and beneficiaries who, as a way to give back, became donors themselves. Sisante noted an annual increase in the number of donors and in making her constituents aware of the policy's existence through awareness-increasing activities, as well as the health benefits of bloodletting. Ultimately, while Sisante noted that there are instances wherein a single donor requires a huge amount of blood, Magallanes is able to have ample supply, and did not experience any shortage since its implementation. All these, as Sisante shared, were policy indicators they have successfully met.
Towards the end, Sisante is aware that the primary function of a councilor is to write laws. Still, she notes that this is not always the case. Most especially if you're a legislator in the province, your primary function comes second to community outreach. Our two-term councilor emphasized that being immersed in communities allows you to listen and know firsthand the problems of your people, allowing you to craft better policies for them. But then again, Sisante affirms that a balance between both is much strongly preferred.