Foundations of development

The coastal town of Donsol is located at the northwestern part of the province of Sorsogon in Bicol region. Its marine waters are home to the gentle giants of the sea, bringing the poor municipality of Donsol in the limelight as the Whale Shark capital of the World.

Its developing tourism industry shaped the gradual economic growth in Donsol where local enterprise blossomed along with fishing, copra trading and cottage industry.

Contrary to its known natural affluence, this town is still nestled in poor living conditions and lacks access to basic community services and facilities. Improving the quality of basic education is one of Donsol’s challenges that need to be addressed as it transitions to the K to 12 program of the government.

It has 51 barangays with a total of 41 elementary schools and the Public School District Supervisor Eduardo Dollarca admitted that there is a shortfall in classrooms resulting to poor performance due to rapid increase of enrollees annually.

Luz Jubelo, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary of Brgy. Dancalan, said that classrooms are vital for her children’s education so she proactively participated in the construction of their 1 unit 3 Classroom School Building which was implemented last year through Kalahi-CIDSS, a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

“Importante po ang classroom para makaadal maayos asin matuto (Classrooms are important for proper learning),” she said.

Dancalan is considered as the most populous barrio school in Donsol. Its total enrollees for school year 2014-15 reached to 573 students divided into 16 sections that utilized eight (8) functional classrooms and some may not warrant safety for the students because of its dilapidated condition.

Principal Corazon Montilla also added that there were seven classrooms demolished without replacement in their school before.

Prior to the construction of the classrooms, three sections in Grade 1 and Grade 2 suffer from blistering heat and leaks from roof holes. But the timely and expeditious completion of the additional classrooms last March offered a comfortable edifice to the same grade levels for the next school year.

Jubelo was very elated to see her son in Grade 1 occupying the classroom that she and her colleagues built in Dancalan Elementary School.

Despite of her timid personality, Jubelo did not hesitate to become a member of the community-based management committee formed for the construction of the said classrooms because she is aware of her significant role in their development as an elected volunteer in Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Na apply ko sa Kalahi-CIDSS ang tinuro sa Family Development Session (FDS) ng Pantawid Pamilya na maging aktibo sa barangay (Active citizenship is taught in FDS of Pantawid Pamilya and I applied what I’ve learned in Kalahi-CIDSS,” she said.

82 of 306 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Dancalan Elementary School are expected to benefit from these three classrooms.

“We are thankful to the volunteers who sacrificed for the completion of the project and I’m grateful to the funders because the long wait is over,” Montilla said.

Appreciation of people participation
Brgy. Poso is the smallest yet the most progressive in Donsol where the biggest elementary school is located, the Dancalan East Central School, catering to eight neighboring villages with a total of 1378 students for school year 2015-16.

The school was built 92 years ago and now most of the rooms are dilapidated. Unfortunately, the baneful incineration of five classrooms in 2013 had also affected the students’ academic performances because they were housed in a congested space.

In response to this, the construction of 1 unit 3 Classroom School Building implemented through Kalahi-CIDSS was completed this year.

It made a difference not only to the students but also for its residents as well.

In 2011, Poso’s proposal for the construction of school building was not included for funding during the prioritization of community projects under Kalahi-CIDSS.

Lalaine Cadag, a Grade 4 teacher in Dancalan East Central School and also a volunteer, did not expect that the classrooms will be funded and erected with a grant from Australia’s Aid Program.

According to her, it was a tough job for a teacher and mother like her to give extra time and effort as the head volunteer. Even during weekends, she would check the ongoing construction with the help of other scrupulous residents.

She surmounted this daunting challenge by keeping her heart for her neighbors with an envision of a promising future for the children.

“Kahit hindi pa ako nakapagtayo ng sarili kong bahay, natutunan ko na magconstruct ng school building. Kayang-kaya ko pala (Although I have not built my own house, I learned to construct a school building. I discovered that I am fully capable),”

Moreover, she was inspired by the project itself because everyone in the community is involved.

“Maganda pala ang isang project dahil tao ang nagpapatakbo at lahat nagbabantay kaya walang corruption (The project turned out beautifully because the residents managed the project and all are watchdogs so there is no corruption),” she said.

Cadag is hoping that all government programs would adopt CDD. She appreciated the direct participation of the people in all of processes in Kalahi-CIDSS.

Dollarca agreed with her and added that it is only with Kalahi-CIDSS that he has seen an excellent workmanship of classrooms.

“Gusto namin ulit ma experience ang direct participation kung saan lahat kami ay aware sa barangay (We would want to experience again the direct participation wherein all of us are aware in the community),” Cadag added.
Education is the centerpiece of development and the improved access to basic education of poor communities strengthens their capacities to improve the quality of their lives.

Infrastructures built in Kalahi-CIDSS are perks of a community’s mustered efforts. Development consummates when people influence the decisions affecting their growth while enhancing their capacities to use it for their advantage. It is not only for the benefit of one but for the betterment of everyone.

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DSWD completes pre-implementation workshop for implementers of 1,180 community subprojects

The residents who were entrusted with the entire implementation of 1,180 community projects of Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) were currently training on community financial management and community procurement which started last May and will end this July.

The four-day training will prepare the community volunteers, the elected residents comprising the community management committee formed in each community for the subproject, with the procedures being observed during subproject implementation period.

“Kalahi-CIDSS is about human development. People participation is vital because their decisions to influence change in the community matter,” DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia said.

Aside from 2.3 grant allocation to fund the construction of community-identified infrastructures from 2014-2015, DSWD also allocated funds to train the volunteers. Php12,544,000.00 was allocated for the conduct of PIW in 88 municipalities.

“Kalahi-CIDSS is unique because the residents are given the chance to handle the procurement and finances of their subprojects,” Dir. Garcia added.

Each community sends participants for the two-day community finance management training comprising of the following: Barangay Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Monitoring and Inspection Team (MIT) head, Project Implementation Team (PIT) head, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairperson, Barangay Captain and Procurement Team (PT) Head. In this training, DSWD discusses how the funds are disbursed and taught on how to record and report financial transactions

Another two-day Community Procurement Training is participated in by PT, MIT Head, Barangay Subproject Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson, Audit and Inventory Team (AIT), PIT, Barangay Captain and BAC Chairperson. In this training, DSWD discusses the roles and function of the volunteers, packaging of the community procurement plan, procurement procedures for shopping/bidding for goods and for works, direct contracting and its types, pakyaw and procurement action planning.

According to Mary Jean Miranda, BSPMC Chairperson of Catamlangan, Pilar, Sorsogon, it is important to attend these trainings because of the learning gained.

“Dapat mahigpit ka sa implementation para maganda ang proyekto (we should be strict in the implementation to get a quality subproject),” she said.

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Residents of farthest Baao village claim better road access

Iyagan is the farthest of Baao’s 30 barangays which can only be reached through another town, Ocampo. It is naturally furnished with 107 hectares of arable land where most of the households get their income from rice farming.

But economic growth comes slow in Iyagan due to lack of facilities in the community. During the community research in 2012, it was discovered that most of the 1,557 residents would like a concreted pathway to respond to their need of better access.

Their ambition came true last July 2013 when their concrete pathway was completed through the mustered efforts of the residents who were still uncertain of its realization at the beginning.

Ariel Yanzon, the DSWD employee assigned to Iyagan, saw the transformation of the people in Iyagan.

“At first it was difficult to mobilize them because it was their first encounter with Kalahi-CIDSS but I saw their commitment and support afterwards,” Ariel said.

Teresita Roson, a resident of Iyagan, said that all her 12 children had experienced walking on muddy foot path to reach school. Her daughter, Rowena, now 42, cannot believe that the project was already completed because she was hesitant about it onset of its construction.

“Totoo man kaya ini? Baka raket lang, hambog lang (Is it true? Maybe it’s just a gimmick or a show off?),” Rowena said.

But she was convinced when she saw that the project was completed and inaugurated last July 29, 2013.

Lourdes Aala and her husband, both farmers, now benefit from the project because the hauling cost decreased from P20 to P5 per sack of rice.

Aala also became part of the people who helped in the construction of their project. As an elected member of the Project Implementation Team (PIT), the lead group during the implementation stage, she was tasked to check the duration to complete the work items, manpower and equipment utilization requirements, timing of delivery of materials and storage facilities, quality control program and materials testing requirements, delivery of local counterpart and safety measures during the construction stage.

Because of her commitment, she was able to convince her husband to become the bodegero of the warehouse of the construction supplies. She also monitored the laborers regularly during the implementation because she wanted a quality project.

The 1.71 kilometers concrete pathway in Zones 1, 2 and 5 was funded under 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).

Aside from the 240 households in Iyagan, more than 250 households from its neighboring barangays namely, Sta. Teresa, Tapol and Cristo Rey benefit from the pathway.

The pathway is mainly intended for human pedestrian and could also be designed to accommodate light vehicles such as motorcycles and tricycles. There was an increase in the number of motorcycles in Iyagan becoming the chief means of transportation in the area.

“Mas makaskas na ang byahe lalo na pag may emergency (The trip is faster specially in an emergency),” Teresita said.

The pathway’s total project cost amounts to P2,475,544.00 of which P1,390,779.55 was sponsored by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a development partner of Kalahi-CIDSS. To date, MCC had already funded 638 community infrastructures and capacity building activities in 25 municipalities for Bicol region alone.

Iyagan got another project in Kalahi-CIDSS last year. The construction of the day care center started in 2014 and was also funded by MCC and expected to be completed this year. This will replace their dilapidated and makeshift day care center.

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DSWD beneficiaries face local media in press conference

The DSWD Field Office 5 conducted press conferences in all six (6) provinces of Bicol to share the success stories of its beneficiaries and the latest updates on its programs and services.

The schedules of the press conference per province were as follows:

Albay—May 12
Catanduanes—May 14
Sorsogon—May 19
Masbate—May 21
Camarines Sur—June 4
Camarines Norte—May 27

The highlight of the activity featured testimonials from its partner-beneficiaries. They were also interviewed by the local press on how these programs improved the quality of their lives.

Maricel Tusi of Brgy. Sagrada, Viga, Catanduanes shared her personal experience in front of the press last May 14 who is a Parent Leader and community volunteer of DSWD’s programs, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipiono Program and Kalahi-CIDSS, respectively.

She gained more knowledge on responsible parenting and active citizenship through these programs aimed at improving the quality of life through empowerment of an individual, family and community.

“Nakatulong ang Pantawid [Pamilyang Pilipino Program] hindi lamang sa pinansyal naming pangangailangan kundi nalaman naming ang karapatang pantao at kahalagahan ng edukasyon at kalusugan ng aking pamilya (Pantawid Pamilya responds not only to our financial needs but through the program, we learned about human rights and the importance of education and health of my family),”she said.

As a volunteer, Maricel’s skills were developed being elected through the barangay assembly as the bookkeeper and a member of the project preparation team and procurement team in Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Naipakita ko ang aking kakayahan na makatulong sa pag-asenso ng aming barangay (I demonstrated my ability to help the progress of our village),” she added.

DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia said that Pantawid Pamilya has 380,550 household beneficiaries in Bicol region while Kalahi-CIDSS will cover a total of 101 poor municipalities in the region under its expansion from 2014 to 2019 with a total of grant of Php4,497,448,178.

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New Government Anti-Poverty Alleviation Program Launched

“Salubungan, a public- private parthership model, the new government’s Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP) was launched in Camarines Sur last May 6.

ASAPP is an inter-agency support which aims to reduce poverty in multiple dimension through the creation of sustainable meployment, tap the skills and resources of the poor in enabling private enterprise to expand their production capacities and markets.It is a program informed by lessons from poverty reduction efforts. The program will be piloted in Camarines Sur with Iriga City, Bato, Libmanan and Sipocot as the growth hub. Camarines is one among the 10 provinces classified as category I in the updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.It is one among the provinces with high number of poor families .

Based on the latest data, NEDA said that the poverty incidence among the Filipino individuals and families increased is 25.8% and 20% respectively in the first half of 2014 due to the devastating Typhoon Yolanda and high food prices. Camarines Sur was also identified having the capacity to supply raw materials like coconut, livestock,poultry,seafoods and other farm products.

Under the “Salubungan “ model,NEDA link the poor with the enterprises which may need human and material resources through interventions that include skills to increase the poor’s employability in business with growth potential, trade facilitation and market linkages to allow the poor to supply the needed raw materials and provide inputs and services neded by the bigger businesses.

Program to be financed under ASAPP are the Universal Health Care, Conditional Cash Transfer , Sustainable Livelihood “ABOT ALAM” and others for informal settlers families.DSWD is the lead convener and the co-convener is DENR,

Present during the ASSAP launching were DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman, DENR Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Undersecretary Oyen Dorotan of NAPC, Regional Directors,Media, Business Sector representatives, other enterpreneurs and other partners. # # # # #eejerusalem

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The motivation of a Bicolano volunteer

Helen Lorilla is motivated to help others.

“Ang serbisyo, long life; ang kwarta madali mawara (service lasts for lifetime while money perishes instantly), she said.

As a mother of seven children and an owner of an upholstery shop in Balinad, Daraga, she still manages to apportion a part of her time as a volunteer in their community.

She is an experienced volunteer and recently became part of the Project Preparation Team (PPT) who is responsible for the preparation of project proposal for the concreting and improvement of their 70 meters footbridge which will be constructed through Kalahi-CIDSS this year.

Helen who resides in Purok 8 was discouraged by her neighbors to quit as a volunteer because they told her that the footbridge is far from their house. She just ignored their comments and explained to them that they belong to the same community and will directly benefit from it.

“Sabi ko, pawno kamo makaibong sa tulay kung baha, kaya di na kamo mawri san ta kami nganing pinakapuroon oh, pero gusto ming makatabang dito. (I told them that they cannot cross the bridge if it’s flooded. We will help even if the project is far from us),” she said.

She disregarded what the nitpickers said and focused on how she can furnish assistance to their village. Helen exerted effort to participate in the trainings and seminars required by Kalahi-CIDSS from its elected volunteers.

She is grateful for the capacity building opportunities she is receiving because her skills and knowledge are enhanced. She is looking forward to the training this May. Thus, she can provide relevant inputs and suggestions that can influence the decisions of the majority for the betterment of their community.

Helen pledges her full support and dedication to their project because she feels that they are directly involved in the whole process of Kalahi-CIDSS implementation.

“Magayon ang Kalahi-CIDSS ta residente talaga ang mapadalagan ning proyekto. Ang barangay officials ang ma oversee samun (Kalahi-CIDSS is good because the residents run the project while the barangay officials supervise us),” she said.

On the other hand, Helen and her husband are also very thankful to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program because aside from the meager income from their business, the grants they receive from the program give their children a decent life and education.

Kalahi-CIDSSis a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

The operations of 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.

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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Marissa M. Peste of DSWD Bicol wins Nat’l Search for Exemplary Government Social Worker

Marissa Moron Paeste, Social Welfare Officer III of DSWD FOV is among the six social workers who won in the search for Exemplary Government Registered Social Worker engaged in Typhoon Yolanda. Sponsored by Consuelo Foundation and the Council for the Welfare of the Children (CWC), the awarding ceremony was held at Manila Hotel last April 28, 2015.

Recognizing the influx of the survivors of typhoon Yolanda from Samar and Tacloban, the DSWD Field Office V set up the Reception Recovery and Control Center (RRCC) for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Matnog Port from November 16, 2013 to December 6, 2013. Three teams composed of social workers, Municipal Links and MSWDOs were organized with Ms. Marissa Paeste as the over-all team leader.

The RRCC was primarily set up in Matnog Port since this is considered a major gateway of the Maharlika Highway to Luzon providing 24 hours information/services to enter island to detect and address potential trafficking cases thus, a receiving desk was installed within the port parameter visible to the public.

With the leadership of Ms. Paeste, the team initiated various activities like; reaching out to stranded passengers to identify their travels and destinations and with families awaiting them. What is worth mentioning was the team’s effort to respond to a potential child trafficking involving 3 male siblings ages 8, 10 and 17 years old from Allen, Samar. The case happened while Ms. Paeste was on duty. With best effort and right intervention she was able to reunite the children to their respective families.

Her core competency is counseling. This mechanism served as a venue to foster team effort and referral network. It also tested each worker’s patients, resourcefulness and resilience towards delivering appropriate service to typhoon survivors.

All the efforts, activities and strategies done by Ms. Paeste and her competencies contributed to the award bestowed her.

Ms. Paeste shared that receiving the award is a humble experience. The element of being involved especially the pressure of work expected of them, the inconveniences and the number of days that she was away from home was a great factor for the award received.

Other awardees are:
Marsha P. Agustin – NCR
Elsa B. Camacho – Region VI
Zenaida M. Cunanan – Region VIII
Rosalinda A. Orobia – NCR
Marissa M. Paeste – Region V
Alice V. Viason – Region VIII ###eejerusalem

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For a family that is poverty stricken, their primary concerns is what to eat and how they will survive for the coming days.

Maricel Aguilar’s family is one among them. They are from Barangay Busing, a coastal barangay of San Pascual, Masbate whose main source of livelihood is farming and fishing. Mario earns P100 per day from fishing while Maricel was engaged in selling dry goods but the project failed. Obviously with five children to feed, the P100 daily income is not enough.Three of the five siblings are in school; two in high school while the youngest is attending day care service while the two older siblings have stopped schooling for financial reason.

Life was so tough for Maricel’s family so she then decided to work in Manila. She was employed as a domestic helper with 3,500 monthly conpensation. “Kahit papaano nakakatulong ako sa araw-araw na pangangailangan ng aking pamilya. Nakapagpapadala ako ng P3,000 bawat buwan.” (At least I can already help in providing the needs of my family. I am able to send P3,000 a month.) Maricel proudly shares. We are now able to support the education of the younger children.. (The two older sons did not anymore have interest in their studies. They are only able to complete their elementary education.) After three months stay in Manila; Maricel’s fate turned unfavourable. She to go back home since she received an information that her husband had conflict with the law. The crime committed was un- bailable that he was put behind bars.

“Ako ang tumayong Tatay at Nanay ng pamilya, Hindi ko alam kung paano itataguyod ang aking pamilya.” (I stood as a father and the mother of the family and I found it hard how I will be able to support the need of the family.), Maricel sighed.

Despite the poverty and hardships she experienced in life, Maricel did not give up. To support the family, Maricel started selling cooked food and render laundry services for her neighboor. After years of struggling to make both ends meet, change finally knock her door. Through the governments’ Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, she can now provide the basic needs of her children for health and education.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino is a program that invests in human capital that is contributing to poverty reduction. It provides cash grants of 500 in health and 300 (elementary) or 500 (high school) in education for a family that has three children ages 0-18 enrolled in the program.

Not only a grantee of Pantawid but she was also chosen as a Parent Leader at her area. From a typical housekeeper, she became actively involves in community activities. Maricel shared that as Parent Leader she is able to learn how to deal with people, handle meetings and also prepare minutes of the meeting, reports and updates. She also became the President of the Women’s Organization in their barangay.

To sustain and expand the socio-economic benefits of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Sustainable Livelihood Program entered the community. It provided capacity-building and technical assistance on basic business management or employment for Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. Maricel was among those who had the opportunity to have their own business. With the 8,000 capital assistance received, Maricel invested the money for the hog raising project.

Despite the absence of her husband, through patience and perseverance, Maricel is slowly rising from poverty. She was able to support her families need. Aside from her hog raising project, Maricel continued selling cooked food. Her two older siblings are able to help augment the family needs as they are now employed as laborer in a construction firm in Manila. Both sends Maricel P2,000 each monthly.

The educational and health needs of the three children are now well provided. Maricel ensures that she is able to settle her children’s school obligations and regularly visit the health centers for the regular medical check-up.If before it was hard for Marticel to ensure hat they have sonething to eat for tomorrow, now the family is assured that they will have food on the table everyday.

Maricel disclsed that she keeps praying for good of her children because they are her inspiration. “I have dreams for my children ……. to finish their studies” , she siad Maricel believes that education could be her children’s armor in the forthcoming changes in life. # # # #eejerusalem

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