Legazpi City— More than 23,000 households benefit from streetlights in 85 baranagays all over Bicol region funded under PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), another poverty-reduction project of the Philippine government under DSWD, one of its implementing agencies.
From 2011 to present, there are 2,661 streetlights installed in nine (9) municipalities providing homes security and safer travel for the public. 273 of which are solar powered and the rest are conventional ones generating electricity from the power grid.
“Just like in KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP, community-driven development (CDD) approach is employed in the PAMANA project which consults the people in the communities on how peace and development can be promoted and build resilient communities,” Arnel Garcia, regional director of DSWD Field Office V, said.
PAMANA Project is another modality of KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP providing an annual block grant of Php300,000 per barangay wherein a village implements the said project for three consecutive years to deliver basic goods and services in conflict-affected communities.
Streetlights are one of the community-identified interventions along with basic social services, basic access infrastructures and common service facilities in PAMANA project.
On the other hand, due to Typhoon Glenda that pounded the southern part of Bicol region, 247 lampposts were reported to be damaged.
According to Dir. Garcia, the communities are now lobbying with their respective local government units (LGUs) for the repair of the said streetlights. And as part of the communities’ commitment for the project’s sustainability, they will intensify the implementation of the approved operations and maintenance plan.
Communities pursue bright paths
The municipality of Labo in Camarines Norte, is one of the recipients of the PAMANA project. Their small agricultural village of Mabilo II is one of those who needed lighted streets to maintain peace and order.
“Maliwanag na ang aming kalsada. Safe na kami kahit maglakad pa sa gabi [Our streets are lighted. We can safely stroll at night],” Joana Lagarteja, a locale of Mabilo II, enthused about their newly erected lampposts.
In addition to 16 units of barangay local government unit (BLGU)-funded streetlights, 38 posts were completed last June where greater area of Mabilo II is now illuminated.
According to Jonathan Fruto, the barangay captain of Mabilo II, the BLGU provided a cash counterpart of Php90,000.00 for their streetlights and provided a monthly budget of Php 2,500.00 for its operations and maintenance. He also said that the barangay police officers can quickly respond to residents who summon them for help now that they have additional streetlamps.
However, when residents conducted a community investigation which preceded the installation of PAMANA-funded streetlights, it revealed that 26.9% of Mabilo’s 348 total households are victims of criminal activities wherein robbery is rampant. Goods, agricultural products and properties are stolen, hence, affected the income of the people. Bystanders who shroud themselves in the dark to drink or prowl also harm students and commuters.
Joana, also one of the community volunteers who helped in completing their streetlights, fretted these people in their neighbourhood. She said that unidentified individuals throw stones at people who just pass by.
Confronted with the present condition of the community, Joana, a volunteer of PAMANA and KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP since 2012, adamantly pursued the completion of their streetlights-a solution that will address the problem.
She said that despite of being pregnant during the implementation period, she continued as a volunteer and complied with all the documentary requirements to get funding for and complete their streetlights. She even convinced her co-volunteers to participate in the activities required by the project.
“Ang sa akin lang ay makatulong sa ibang tao. Sinasabi ko parati sa kanila na isa kami sa nakatulong para mapaunlad an aming barangay [My only intention is to help others. I always tell them that we contribute to the development of our barangay],”she added.
Joana is also the Barangay Health Worker, a Parent Leader of Panatwid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and soon to be a mother of three. She has different roles to play but manages her time wisely. She did not give up her stint as a volunteer of PAMANA and KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP because she can serve the people without expecting anything in return for the common good of all.