The hard choice that matters

“Bakit? Papayag ba yan na maging volunteer kung walang sahod? (Why? Would he like to volunteer without receiving any form of compensation?)”

That’s how some residents of Brgy. Cawit Proper, Magallanes, Sorsogon would gossip about Randy Manere, 34.

Randy, a college undergraduate, has been working as a Brgy. Secretary since 2011.

At first, he was hesitant to accept the offer to become a volunteer because of his current responsibility, he thought he cannot manage additional work loads.

In 2013, he was convinced by their Brgy. Captain to become a community volunteer because there was nobody who wanted to get involved. He accepted it because it was also an opportunity to help the village to construct the projects they need.

He was right, the tasks of volunteers were complex and exhausting to acclimatize with most specially at the beginning. As a member of the Procurement Team, he did the minutes of their meetings. He rewrote the manuscripts when there were corrections. He is compelled to complete the task despite of painful hands after a long period of writing.

Randy was also tasked for the bidding process legwork requiring him to get to Sorsogon City, an hour away from Magallanes. He admitted that there were sacrifices. He needed to adjust his schedule and finish the tasks within the day because he has no extra money to spare if he returns the next day to Sorsogon City. He would wait for the bidding documents to get fully accomplished and he would immediately retrieve these the same day.

In 2014, he walked about two kilometers to search for potential bidders because his allowance was only sufficient for his roundtrip fare. He cannot afford to buy himself a ride within the city or even purchase a meal leaving his stomach empty until he reached home.

The following year, he even got drenched in the rain and crossed a flood after retrieving the forms to catch the last trip back to Magallanes.

Randy would go home home feeling hungry, tried and wet after a hectic trip for the project their village will construct.

But the worst is yet to come. Some of the residents and even the members of the Barangay council doubted him.

He can still remember what others said to him: “Bakit? Papayag ba yan na maging volunteer kung walang sahod? (Why? Would he like to volunteer without receiving any form of compensation?)”

They accused him of receiving a kickback by increasing the prices to which he vehemently refuted.

He answered them back: Kung may duda kayo sa akin, pwede niyo puntahan at tanungin ang mga suppliers tungkol sa presyo na nilagay nila sa canvass forms at kung may usapan ang supplier at Procurement Team tungkol sa kickback (If you doubt me then you can go and ask the suppliers about the price they have written on the canvass forms and confirm to them about the kickback arrangements between us).”

Later on, he learned to ignore them though it was punitive for him to get wrongfully accused when his main purpose is to perform his part as a volunteer and think of his neighbors’ welfare.

Despite of these, Randy derived strength from other volunteers who believed and trusted him.

“Ano mang unos o problema na hinaharap ko ay aking nalagpasan dahil sa tulong ng kapwa ko volunteers at iba pang tao sa komunidad (I surmounted the problems with the help of my fellow volunteers and others in the community).”

He is grateful of the people who recognized his consistent dedication for the completion of their projects. He compared his colleagues to a “”walis tingting”” because Randy who belonged to a group of volunteers is united to build their community sub-projects.

“Parang sa Kalahi-CIDSS, nagkakaisa ang mga tao para hindi matinag at lalong lumakas ang pagsasama para matapos ng maganda at maayos ang proyekto (Just like in Kalahi-CIDSS, we are indomitable and solid when we work together to complete the project)”

The opportunity he was forced to accept onset was also the window to altruism. Money did not matter. Randy was fulfilled and elated to contribute for his village’s development.

Their drainage canal was repaired and another one was constrcuted wherein PhP600,000.00 was poured in to the Brgy. Cawit Proper. Lamp posts were constructed with a total grant of PhP300,00.00 while the construction of their new evacaution center is underway with an amount of PhP2,165,000.00 from Kalahi-CIDSS.

Kalahi-CIDSS- Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

The operations of the community-driven development (CDD) approach expanded into a national scale, which was tried and proven effective by Kalahi-CIDSS. 101 poor municipalities in Bicol are under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of Php4,497,448,178.

Community-driven development (CDD) 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.

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Poor solo parent helps village through volunteerism

Even the most destitute member of the community can contribute to its development. For someone who lost a home and a husband, helping others is just normal.

Marites Soquino, 42, a solo parent of Brgy. San Isidro Iraya, Malilipot, Albay was abandoned by her husband five years ago. Their romance ended with five sons and they have been under her care since 2012.

Moreover, Typhoon Glenda destroyed their makeshift house in 2014 and since then, they have been living in a shelter box (tent), an aid they received from a foreign donor.

She reports to work six days a week and takes home a maximum of PhP3,000 a month as a secretary in a direct selling company in Tabaco City, another town next to Malilipot. She also gets an extra profit as a seamstress. Her two children are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who receive a total of PhP2,200 for every two months when all health and education conditions are met.

She said that her children are her inspiration. She values the education of her kids and only wishes them to get a good education.

Her responsibility of raising her five sons was never a hindrance to devote a portion of her time to their village. She was a member of the Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI), a barangay women’s organization, before receiving a volunteer stint.

“Magtarabangan kita tanganing makatapos kamo,” she told her children.

During a community assembly in 2014, Marites and other residents were elected as community volunteers who will manage the construction of their school buildings. Being the head of the volunteers, her responsibility included the management of several volunteer committees to ensure that they are doing their part. Their group was also obliged with the prompt compliance of documentary requirements to build the school buildings.

She even skipped work despite of salary deduction just to attend all trainings and seminars relative to her responsibility.

Marites’ dedication and passion in building a better community for her children was not extinguished by wrongful accusations and rumors.

“Kapos man kami sa pera, edukasyon an maipapamana namin sa aming mga anak,” she said.

Just like any other government projects, the villagers doubted the completion of their school buildings because there was a discrepancy with the documentary compliance effecting a delayed implementation. Thus, rumors surfaced that Marites and other volunteers took the money for their school buildings.

But she was relentless enough to keep the spirits of her co-volunteers high despite of the tirades and bashings. Marites continued to encourage the residents to participate. She would candidly respond to queries about their community project as part of transparency.

As a graduate of two-year course, her leadership skills help the community volunteers appreciate the importance of the project in their barangay.

Their elementary school and high school has one school building each. The construction started last June 6, 2016 and is almost complete. The said project has a total cost of PhP4,126,249.92 from Kalahi-CIDSS- Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

Kristen Rozen, the project coordinator of the school building in Malilipot, described Marites as a selfless volunteer despite of her poor living conditions, she performs all her functions without expecting anything in return.

She never complained about poverty. She focused on how she can reach her goals for her family and community. She never lost hope when everything turned low. Her strength catapulted her to become a fighter who never surrenders.

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DSWD readies LGUs for the conduct sustainability evaluation of completed Kalahi-CIDSS projects

DSWD conducted the first batch of the Sustainability Evaluation Orientation for the local government units (LGUs) last September 13-15 at Ninong’s Hotel, Legazpi City.

Lectures and discussions on sub-projects’ sustainability were presented during the training. There was an on-site application of sustainability evaluation and actual administration of sustainability evaluation tool on the identified sub-projects.

The next batch will be trained on September 21-23 in Naga City. The activity was participated in by LGU officials from municipalities that completed community-identified sub-projects implemented under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

As of September 1, 2016, There are 517 completed out of 1,381 sub-projects under Kalahi-CIDSS Cycle 1 (2014-2015). The remaining sub-projects are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

In Kalahi-CIDSS, sustainability evaluation uses a survey tool that includes indicators that serve as basis of evaluating the functionality of completed sub-projects in terms of its organizational/institutional component, financial management system, and physical-technical, operation and maintenance condition. It also assesses impacts and benefits generated from the sub-project.

The LGUs are expected to administer the sustainability evaluation through the formation of the Multi-Stakeholders Inspectorate Team (MSIT). The MSIT is formed in every municipality covered by KalahI-CIDSS which include the department heads and local officials with the assistance of the DSWD technical staff.

“Sustainability evaluation orientation for LGUs is essential because LGUs will play a crucial role in its conduct this December,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia said.

During the simulation of Sustainability Evaluation in Guinobatan, Albay last September 14, 2016, Mayor Ann Ongjoco said that the LGU is committed to ensure that communities will sustain their sub-projects.

“Aalagaan namin ang mga proyekto ng Kalahi-CIDSS. Gagawin namin na mandatory through an executive order na isabay sa barangay development funds ang allocation para sa operations and maintenance ng kanilang proyekto,” Ongjoco said.

The operations of the CDD approach expanded into a national scale, which was tried and proven effective by Kalahi-CIDSS. 101 poor municipalities in Bicol are under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of Php4,497,448,178.

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DSWD foreign partner checks Kalahi-CIDSS in Bicol

 

DSWD foreign partner checks Kalahi-CIDSS in Bicol

Community Consultation with  the women laborers, community volunteers and ADB Gender Specialist Yukiko Ito at Brgy. San Roque, Bulusan, Sorsogon last August 19, 2016.

Four villages in Sorsogon were visited by the team of DSWD’s development partner to review the environment and social safeguards aspect of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) during the two-day monitoring visit last August 18-19, 2016.

The team of Asian Development Bank (ADB), one of the development partners of Kalahi-CIDSS, checked on the status of community-proposed sub-projects in Donsol and Bulusan to ensure that policies on environmental and social safeguards assessment are met and all subprojects undertaken by the community are environmentally and socially sound and sustainable. These community sub-projects must have minimal environmental and social impacts through the enforcement of the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF).

The completed three-classroom school building in Brgy. Tres Marias amounting to PhP2,633,684 and the ongoing construction of flood mitigation in Brgy. Gimagaan with a total cost of PhP2,007,646 were visited in Donsol last August 18.

Brgy. Dapdap and Brgy. San Raque were also monitored in Bulusan the next day with the ongoing construction of seawall with a cost of Php3,324,355 and completed evacuation center 4,495,000, respectively.

The ADB team is headed by Joel Mangahas, the Mission Leader/Senior Social Sector Specialist with Social Development Specialist Yukiko Ito, Technical Assistance Coordinator/Consultant Rowena Mantaring, Procurement Specialist Alice Tiongson, Capacity Development Consultant Romulo Romero and Community Infrastructure Specialist Roger Calfoforo.

The ADB team was also joined by the DSWD Project Management Team for Kalahi-CIDSS headed by Cicero Aguilar from the National Office and Irene Malong from the Regional Project Management Office who exchanged dialogues with the LGU officials and the community residents.

In the community, they had community consultations with the barangay officials and the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC), the overall management committee formed for the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation. They were divided in three groups where they separately discussed social safeguards for the first group, gender mainstreaming for the second and financial management, procurement and infrastructure for the third.

“We hope to address the issues and findings raised during our visit with the inputs from the community to improve the implementation,” Mangahas said.

Ito noted that 18% of women are participating in paid labor and must increase this 20 to 30 percent before the compact with ADB ends in 2017. Morales also emphasized that the community must ensure proper document filing system for easy audit and should train women in welding, plumbing and other non-traditional jobs to provide employment opportunity for women even outside Kalahi-CIDSS construction engagement. Mantaring said that the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) form will be simplified and the project staff should emphasize the use of this form to the communities. Calfoforo commended DSWD Region V for the excellent implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS.

Moreover, the field visit aims to look more deeply into the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS Yolanda-affected communities in accordance with the ADB requirements, particularly social safeguards and gender mainstreaming.  It will review the (i) compliance of subprojects with the ADB’s Safeguards Policy Statement and any outstanding safeguards issues from previous mission, and propose measures to resolve these; (ii) implementation status of the gender action plan, and identify any potential constraints and facilitating factors to achieving the ongoing actions and targets; (iii) financial management and procurement particularly at the community level; (iv) technical aspects of subprojects; and (v) capacity building in line with ongoing efforts to establish continuing professional development program for KC-NCDDP staff and related interventions.  The field visit will follow up the EA on the agreements during the midterm review mission.  The findings and agreements will be summarized and incorporated in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will be prepared for the joint ADB-World Bank mission in October 2016.

On 13 December 2013, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved L3100-PHI: an emergency assistance loan to the Government of the Philippines to support the implementation of the government’s Kalahi-CIDSS by restoring basic social services and rebuilding communities affected by typhoon Yolanda.   The project became effective on 10 June 2014. Kalahi-CIDSS has an estimated cost of $1.132 billion, of which the government finances $270 million (24%), while ADB and the World Bank (WB) provide $372.1 million (33%) and $479.0 million (42%), respectively, and the Government of Australia provides a grant of $11.0 million (1%). The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the executing agency (EA) of Kalahi-CIDSS.

 

Kalahi-CIDSS Expansion

Kalahi-CIDSS is supported by the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016). Its expansion using the CDD approach in the country was approved last 18 January 2013. 101 poor municipalities in Bicol are under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of Php4,497,448,178.

The development objective of Kalahi-CIDSS is to have barangays/communities of targeted municipalities become empowered to achieve improved access to services and to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting, and implementation.

“It will also be aligned into a program to support community-driven post-disaster response and development in Typhoon Yolanda-affected municipalities within provinces covered by Kalahi-CIDSS,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia added.

Moreover, Bicol received a total of Php2,199,377,794.46 from ADB to implement Kalahi-CIDSS in 60 municipalities from 2014 to 2017.

L3100-PHI: KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Project

Terms of Reference for the ADB Field Visit

17-20 August 2016, Sorsogon

L3100-PHI: KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Project

Terms of Reference for the ADB Field Visit

17-20 August 2016, Sorsogon

 

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DSWD encourages continuous LGU support to Community-Driven Development

The DSWD convened local government units (LGUs) during the Kalahi-CIDSS Mid-Year Review, Re-Orientation, and Planning Workshop in Naga City Regent Hotel and Convention Center last July 21-22, 2016.

The first day tackled in-depth Kalahi-CIDSS program orientation, Cycle 1 (2014-2015) implementation status, lessons and challenges, key support needed to complete the implementation, present targets for the succeeding years of implementation. It also served as an activity to strengthen the local chief executives’ commitment to the LGUs’ partnership with DSWD along Kalahi-CIDSS implementation.

The next day focused on the status of LGU support and address undelivered LGU commitments by creating catch-up plans to attain targets.

“LGUs have crucial roles in the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation because our partnership requires their active engagements to deliver their commitments to the project,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia said.

The activity was participated in by the department heads and mayors of LGUs participating in Kalahi-CIDSS.

The LGUs are expected to complement the operations of Kalahi-CIDSS by providing the following:

  • Delivery of local counterpart contribution
  • Logistical support (Office for Kalahi-CIDSS staff, equipments)
  • Functional Municipal Inter-Agency Committee headed by the mayor responsible for the supervision and monitoring of all Kalahi-CIDSS municipal and community activities and assist DSWD workers in community mobilization
  • Complete staff under the Municipal Coordinating Team, the team formed at LGU level who will help DSWD in the implementation

At present, Bicol had already utilized 43% of PhP4,497,448,178 for the construction of 1,351community sub-projects.

Out of the 1,351 community sub-projects, Bicol must complete the 1,011 ongoing community sub-projects from August to October under the 2014-2015 implementation (Cycle 1). For Cycle 2 (2015-2016), community sub-projects must be completed by September 2017.

The Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

The operations of the community-driven development (CDD) approach expanded into a national scale, which was tried and proven effective by Kalahi-CIDSS. 101 poor municipalities in Bicol are under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of PhP4,497,448,178.

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Communities in need of disaster mitigation sub-projects in Bicol receive 1 billion

The erosion control in Brgy. Magsaysay, Jovellar, Albay is the biggest Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project in Bicol serving 243 households. It amounts to PhP10,927,859.05 which was completed last March 15, 2013.

The Government funded 712 disaster mitigation sub-projects in Bicol from 2002 to present in response to the communities in Bicol who identified these as their priority.

A total of PhP1,062,110,051 was allocated to construct the said projects in 94 municipalities that will benefit more than 180,000 households.

Under the Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD), 438 sub-projects are already completed while the rest of these are under construction with the direct management of the elected residents.

Residents receive technical assistance from DSWD, national government agencies (NGAs) and the local government units (LGUs) on how they can implement these by provision of trainings, seminars, monitoring visits and coaching sessions.

Communities submit project proposals to DSWD through the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum (MIBF), a municipal activity that evaluates which proposal are funded through the Kalahi-CIDSS process. All proposals came from the result of the participatory situation analysis (PSA), a community research done by residents to identify the problems and solutions to their needs.

Of the PhP1,062,110,051, LGUs had already provided in-kind and cash contribution amounting to PhP98,460,085.24.

On the other hand, 16.27% of 4,376 Kalahi-CIDSS community-identified sub-projects are comprised of the following disaster-mitigation sub-projects:

Community Sub-Project Type Quantity Kalahi-CIDSS Grant (PhP) LGU Counterpart (PhP)
Box Culvert / Drainage Canal/ Flood Control / River Control (including Box Culvert/Drainage/Canal intended to reduce or prevent flooding) 493 563,684,664 62,915,949.17
Riprap Wall / Slope Protection / Erosion Control 91 124,775,640.5 12,030,789.41
Seawall 107 249,321,793.7 20,718,768.47
Spillway/Overflow Bridge 21 25,867,867.87 2,794,578.188
TOTAL 712 963,649,966 98,460,085.24
    1,062,110,051

Disaster-mitigation sub-projects breakdown per province:

Province Quantity Municipalities Kalahi-CIDSS Grant (PhP) LGU Counterpart (PhP)
Albay 63 10 84,171,564.97 12,166,141.31
Camarines Norte 71 11 107,329,114.3 6,140,000.75
Camarines Sur 291 34 386,547,680.9 37,660,882.99
Catanduanes 115 11 186,547847.2 26,708,940.17
Masbate 69 15 84,393,952.83 6,505,886.874
Sorsogon 103 13 114,659,805.9 9,278,233.136
TOTAL 712 94 963,649,966 98,460,085.24
      1,062,110,051

 

Biggest Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project in Bicol

The erosion control in Brgy. Magsaysay, Jovellar, Albay is the biggest Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project in Bicol serving 243 households. It amounts to PhP10,927,859.05 which was completed in March 15, 2013.

Most of the barangays in Jovellar can be found along Quipia River, making these areas prone to flooding each time the water overflows. There are even instances wherein the waters can reach as high as 10 to 50 feet high, submerging many areas.

The urban barangay of Magsaysay is greatly affected whenever the Quipia River overflows. It is close to losing most of its land area due to the erosion brought about by frequent flooding and strong current. Other affected areas include Sto. Niño, Aurora and Plaza.

“I am very thankful to them because we really need an erosion control mechanism,” Emily Morales, a resident, said.

 

Kalahi-CIDSS Expansion

Kalahi-CIDSS is supported by the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016). Its expansion using the CDD approach in the country was approved last 18 January 2013. 101 poor municipalities in Bicol are under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of Php4,497,448,178.

The development objective of Kalahi-CIDSS is to have barangays/communities of targeted municipalities become empowered to achieve improved access to services and to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting, and implementation.

“It will also be aligned into a program to support community-driven post-disaster response and development in Typhoon Yolanda-affected municipalities within provinces covered by Kalahi-CIDSS,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia added.

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Village completes evacuation center for IPs in Albay

Village completes evacuation center for IPs in AlbayMapaco is one of the 44 communities of Guinobatan, a first class municipality. The said village is located at the mid upland area of Guinobatan where the lush mountains provide food, shelter and livelihood to its 1,815 inhabitants.

Indigenous People (IP) or the Agta Tabangnon from Baao and Iriga City in Camarines Sur were brought by a land owner named Martin Garcia to Guinobatan to work as farmers according to Alberto Mota, an IP resident of Brgy. Mapaco in the said town.

At present, there are 18 IP households in Barangay Mapaco who live in Purok 5, Sitio Ragacay. Most of their relatives inhabit the neighboring village, Malabnig, where there are 35 households.

Mapaco. 11 kilometers away from Guinobatan town center, remains poor because its residents solely rely on planting crops where the cost of hauling is expensive, thus, would takes home a meager amount for their families.

The Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD) started in Guinobatan in 2014.

During the same year, Guinobatan conducted the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) to its 44 villages to know what are the projects needed by the communities affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda and Typhoon Glenda. As a result, PhP29,500,000 was poured into 38 community-identified sub-projects funded under the said program.

In Mapaco, they proposed to have a multi-purpose hall that will serve as a day care center, tribal center and at the same time an evacuation center for those people who live in Purok 5. The said building amounting to Php1,046,184.71 was completed last June 22, 2016 with a total of 103 households as beneficiaries.

Makeshift houses of the IPs are destroyed or damaged every time there’s a strong typhoon. According to Mota, they would build a conical tent like a tipi to serve as their temporary shelter during typhoons because their lives are in danger if they would stay in their houses.

“Halos ubos na bagyo tigamati namun ta malang kusog ning paros ta yan na balay namun, maluya sanang paros naga yugo-yugo na (We can always feel the impact of storms because even a light wind can shake our house),” Mota added.

He also recalled that his family transferred to his parents’ house at the height of Typhoon Glenda in July 2014 because their house was unsafe. But the powerful winds blew the roof off his father’s house and left them under the table to avoid from getting drenched.

Through the bayanihan efforts of the villagers, the multi-purpose building was almost complete by the time Typhoon Nona struck Bicol in December 2015. More than 100 persons including the IPs occupied the concrete building to keep them safe from destructive winds and downpour.

“May nagubang mga balay nung Bagyong Nona maray ta ayo na kami nasirungan (A house was ruined during Typhoon Nona. Good thing we found shelter [in the evacuation center]),” Mota said.

The construction was managed by the residents elected as volunteers during the Barangay Assembly.

Line Pabelonia, a volunteer for the construction of the multi-purpose building, said that she learned how to manage and implement a project through trainings and seminars from Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Grabeng pagal ang pagkagibo sadi, Ukon sana su pagpatrabaho kundi su pagparalakad ning papel na inasikaso ning mga volunteers (The hard work is not only during the construction but also when facilitating the documentary requirements done by the volunteers),” Mota said.

Moreover, the students of the Day Care Center will transfer to the multi-purpose building for a more conducive place for learning.

According to the Jerom Jacob, the DSWD Community Empowerment Facilitator assigned to assist Mapaco, repairs were made by the barangay council after Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the Mapaco Day Care Center in 2013.

“Dakulong tabang yading evacuation center lalo na sa mga IPs dahil wara man sindang ibang dudulagan pag ayo bagyo kundi didi sa evacuation center (The evacuation center is a big help to the IPs because the only place they can seek shelter is in the evacuation center),” Pabelonia added.

Mota and the rest of the IPs in Mapaco and Malabnig will also use the building as their tribal center where they can conduct meetings, seminars and other gatherings.

“The multi-purpose center in Mapaco, Guinobatan is one of the 4,353 community-managed sub-projects from 2002 to present in 103 municipalities and three cities in Bicol where citizens’ needs are prioritized and responded to by involving them directly to the development process,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia added.

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Getting rid of seclusion through empowerment in a Masbate village

The volunteers and the Barangay Council of Brgy. Narangasan who implemented the construction of the Day Care Center in Purok Villarin, the farthest part of the community.

The volunteers and the Barangay Council of Brgy. Narangasan who implemented the construction of the Day Care Center in Purok Villarin, the farthest part of the community.

The people of Purok Villarin, the coastal section of Brgy. Narangasan in Milagros, Masbate used to cringe in fear for their children’s safety.

Parents send their children to Day Care in three ways. They either choose Villarin’s decrepit and makeshift building along the sea, get to the neighboring purok with a 30-minute walk along the beach with the threat of waves during bad weather or get to neighboring community that will require them to cross a dilapidated wooden bridge.

Elvira Kalaw, one of the parents, joined the community to build their new Day Care Center through Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty using the community-driven development (CDD) strategy.

Kalaw, originally from Roxas City who has been a resident of Villarin since 2000, admitted that the residents live in poverty. It is two kilometers away from the Brgy. Narangasan’s poblacion putting Purok Villarin in seclusion. This part of the community has no electricity and potable water as well.

Despite these woes, what makes her more concerned is to see the difficulty of the students aging three to five years old getting through a debilitating and dangerous trip just to get to school.

The municipality of Milagros, Masbate with a total of 27 villages, received Php36,833,300.00 for the implementation of 21 community sub-projects under Kalahi-CIDSS from 2014-2015. Brgy. Narangasan is a recipient of a Day Care Center under the said program which was identified as the priority need of Purok Villarin which was approved by the majority of its residents during community consultations and barangay assemblies.

Kalaw, a high school graduate, was able to lead a group of volunteers who managed the implementation and construction of the said building. Volunteers received trainings on Project Management, Community Procurement, Financial Management, Operation and Maintenance and Fiduciary Reporting.

“Maganda pala pag sumasama sa workshop dahil nalalaman mo yung hindi tinuro sa school,” she added.

Moreover, her exposure to different trainings and activities with the Barangay Council molded Kalaw’s confidence to speak about their needs.

The broken wooden bridge was replaced with a concreted one last February through the Local Government of Milagros which was lobbied by the people to the Barangay Council.

“May karapatan din kami na humingi ng tulong sa barangay council para sa purok naming,” she added.

According to Franslyn Tan, the DSWD staff assigned in Narangasan, Kalaw was a timid volunteer who seldom talk in the group but gradually developed her communication skills as they implemented their Day Care Center.

“Hindi yan si Nanay[Kalaw] nagsasalita pero natuto na siya mag voice out ng problema nila sa purok,” Tan added.

With the Day Care Center nearing its completion this year, the residents are looking forward that their children will no longer traverse dangerous terrains with a concreted bridge from the local government.

The most secluded part of Brgy. Narangasan proved that distance is not the hindrance to push for their own development. Their confidence was developed to speak out and took the courage to trust their local officials to respond to their pressing problems which proves how community participation can enliven empowerment of the people.

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