Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent,” says Victor Hugo.
This cannot be truer for Flordeliz Olesco, a 67-year-old retired teacher from Barangay Ananong in Viga, Catanduanes, who found herself writing a song as a way to show her gratitude when her community finally got a water system through Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
She wrote a song and made her neighbors sing.
DSWD, MCC, Kalahi-CIDSS
Tumutulong sa sambayanan
Sa paglutas ng kahirapan
Kalahi-CIDSS was a DSWD program aimed at helping alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD), a strategy that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves.
Kalahi-CIDSS has since been scaled up into the National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP), which targets 847 of the poorest municipalities in the country.
One of its development partners is the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent U.S. foreign aid agency created in 2004 to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals by assisting countries promote economic growth.
KALAHI-CIDSS sa aming barangay
Tulong nito ay tunay
Sa tubig na ipinagawa
Gumaganda ang pamumuhay
Ananong is a farming village with abaca as its chief product, which Flordeliz describes as being rich in natural resources yet hampered by various circumstances. Residents yield little income because their area is frequently visited by typhoons, as their crops are frequently damaged by strong winds.
This is already bad enough for the residents, but their most pressing problem directly affects their survival: they had limited access to potable water.
Jesus Cervantes, the barangay captain of Ananong, said that while they had an existing 55-year-old water system, its water was no longer fit for drinking. With its reservoir being located near the riverbank, it was common for dirty water to get into the rusty pipes, which already had several holes.
This problem had health consequences to the residents, as the family of Teresita Santos, one of the residents of Barangay Ananong, testified.
She said that two of her relatives had a four-day hospital confinement, during which they incurred bills beyond P5,000, a large sum for a family struggling with finances.
The problem was, although they knew they had a serious problem in their hands, the local officials could not just construct the water system.
“Hindi kaya ng barangay council na magpagawa ng water system kung nakadepende lang kami sa Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) (The barangay council would not be able to construct our water system if we only depended on our IRA),” Jesus said.
As such, when Kalahi-CIDSS reached their village, it came as no surprise that the villagers chose and implemented the water systems for their village.
The sub-project cost P1,063,806.72 and was built through the joint efforts of Kalahi-CIDSS, the local government unit (LGU), and the community, with funding support from MCC, serves 88 households in Barangay Ananong.
“Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa KalahI-CIDSS (We are very thankful of Kalahi-CIDSS),” he added.
Si Sir Russell ang AC
Engineer Joson ang DAC
Si Ma’am Shie ang MFA
Si Sir Bryan ang CF
While Flordeliz, through her song, was quick to thank the Area Coordinating Team (ACT), the Kalahi-CIDSS staff working in the municipality for the water system, it is largely because of the community’s own efforts that they were able to get their much-desired sub-project.
As a CDD program, Kalahi-CIDSS ensures that the people are involved in the development process. From the identification of the sub-project to its actual implementation and operations and maintenance, it relies on citizen participation to ensure that the sub-project will be carried out and is responsive to their needs.
At the same time, they will have more ownership of their sub-project as they are the ones who gave their time, talent, and resources for this.
For example, Jesus donated 3×4 meters of his property for the new water system’s intake tank.
Flordeliz, meanwhile, served as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Chairperson (BSPMC), the leader of the Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers in the area. Despite her age, she was able to perform her tasks effectively.
According to Bryan Tatad, the Kalahi-CIDSS’ community facilitator assigned to Ananong, Flordeliz always explains the importance of their community project to her fellow residents and encourages them to participate in all community activities.
“She is very dedicated to her responsibilities. Despite her age, she can manage to engage in physical activities. She is a living example of a good leader and a good follower,” said Bryan of her.
Through Flordeliz’s leadership, dedication, and diligence, their community was finally able to realize the new water system.
Masaya ang mga taga-Ananong
Sa tubig na pinagawa
DSWD, MCC, Kalahi-CIDSS
Sa tulong niyo’y “Maraming Salamat!”
Flordeliz’s delight in finally having her community get its long-waited water system was expressed in the way she knew best: through song.
Known as the resident composer in her village, she penned the song, which is sang to the tune of Catandungan Inang Bayan, within five minutes, right after she was able to see their water system sub-project completed.
Flordeliz said that the song was a unique way of affirming the success of the Kalahi-CIDSS in Ananong during the inauguration of their water system.
“Dapat kasi may kakaiba sa inauguration kaya gumawa ako ng kanta (Our inauguration must have something different so I decided to write a song),” she said.
She had shared the song to her fellow volunteers in the community and rallied them to sing it aloud during the simple ceremony of the water supply system’s inauguration and turnover, held last August 5, 2014 at the barangay plaza.
The song was met with delighted surprise by Bryan, who said he did not know about Flordeliz’s composition and who thought that the melody was run-of-the-mill until he realized what the lyrics were about.
“I felt happy and proud hearing the song because they were very appreciative of the project despite the difficult processes they’ve been through,” Bryan said.
“Masaya ang mga taga-Ananong sa tubig na ipinagawa. DSWD, MCC, Kalahi-CIDSS. Sa tulong niyo’y maraming salamat (The people in Ananong is happy with the construction of our water system. DSWD, MCC, Kalahi-CIDSS, thank you for your assistance),” Flordeliz together with her colleagues sang the last few lines.
Through Kalahi-CIDSS, Flordeliz and her fellow residents in Ananong now have a new song in their hearts, a song of hope for a better, healthier future.