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Mangyan-Hanonoo community of Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro benefits from cemented foot trail through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

ACCESS TO DEVELOPMENT. Residents of Sitio Bambayan use the 1kilometer foot trail completed through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS.

A total of 58 households from the Mangyan-Hanonoo tribe of Sitio Bambanay, Purnaga, Occidental Mindoro is now benefitting from the completion of a one-kilometer foot trail with six footbridges sub-project of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


The foot trail, which eases the access to and from the indigenous people community, was officially handed over to the barangay local government unit of Purnaga in an Inauguration and Turn-Over ceremony held at the Barangay Covered Court September 23, Monday.

“Nung wala pa pong foot trail, ang mga guro namin ay hirap sa pag-akyat papunta sa amin. Sa mga pasyente rin po namin. Kapag halimbawa po, emergency, nahihirapan po kami kasi ang ginagawa po namin ay sinasakay sa duyan para maibaba ang pasyente,” said Maricel Fugoso, Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer and part of the Mangyan-Hanonoo tribe.

The one-kilometer foot trail was the community’s identified solution to their mobility and accessibility problem heightened during times of disasters and health emergencies. The entrance to Sitio Bambanay is separated from its neighboring sitio, Sitio Nawak, by about 2.7km mountainous terrain.

Community volunteers, members of Mangyan-Hanonoo tribe, and staff from DSWD and Magsaysay Municipal Social Work and Development Office gather for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 1 kilometer foot trail subproject of DSWD-Kalahi- CIDSS.

Magsaysay Vice-Mayor Edgardo Eliscupidez Sr. graced the event in behalf of Mayor Cesar M. Tria, Jr. DSWD- MIMAROPA OIC-Regional Director Floreceli Gunio, meanwhile, expressed her gratitude to the community and the local government units, from provincial to barangay level, for their commitment to the successful implementation of the program.

She likewise encouraged the community to ensure sustainability of the newly turned-over foot trail and to always remember the lessons they’ve learned as volunteers.

“Huwag na huwag po kayong papayag na basta-basta masira ito. Lahat po tayo ay may naiambag dito – oras at kakayahan. Ang proseso na natutunan ay gamitin natin. Ito ang progreso na nagmumula sa tao. Ang pagtukoy ng kanilang pangangailangan at pagtukoy ng tugon ay nagmumula sa tao,” Gunio said.

Kalahi-CIDSS is the largest program in the Philippines which uses Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach in its implementation. CDD ensures that the community members are in the forefront of development process by involving them in planning, identification, implementation, monitoring, and management of the development interventions brought to poor communities. ###

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DSWD MIMAROPA trains LGUs to sustain Kalahi-CIDSS subprojects

Participants from Local Government Units from different municipalities in Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, and Romblon posed with staff of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS MIMAROPA after the successful 3-day workshop on Sustainability Evaluation facilitation on July 24-26 at A. Venue Hotel, Makati.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development – MIMAROPA held the first of the two workshops for local government unit (LGU) representatives to ensure that Kalahi-CIDSS projects in the region are sustainable and are able to continue to deliver intended benefits to the community.

LGU representatives from Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and Romblon attended the workshop on the Sustainability Evaluation facilitation at A. Venue Hotel, Makati. The 3-day workshop held on July 24-26, 2019, aimed to equip the Municipal Stakeholders Inspectorate Team (MSIT) with the skills to assess the sub-project functionality.

The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a poverty alleviation program of the government which uses the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach in its pursuit to contribute to the poverty alleviation efforts of the agency.

With CDD, communities are trained to choose, design, and implement sub-projects that address their most pressing needs.

Six months after the completion of the sub-project, the MSIT are required to conduct the Sustainability Evaluation which utilizes a survey tool that uses indicators as basis for assessment. Sub-projects are assessed in terms of organizational component, financial management system, physical-technical operations, and maintenance conditions.

OIC- Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio urged the participants to work towards a strengthened partnership between LGUs and the national government.

“Sana tayo ay sama-samang tutugon sa pangangailangan ng tao, tayo ay sama-samang kikilos nang may malasakit,” she said.

The next workshop will be conducted on July 29-31 in Puerto Princesa City to be attended by LGU representatives from Palawan.

As of July 2019, there are a total of 1,623 completed Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project in MIMAROPA.

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No more classes under Banaba Tree

Ma’am Evelyn Urieta-Rivera, Principal of Sta. Lucia Elementary School in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

When Evelyn Urieta-Rivera, 57, received her new assignment as an elementary school principal three years ago, she was ecstatic. On her 33rd year of service as a public school teacher, Ma’am Evelyn would finally set foot at Sta. Lucia Elementary School, a quaint learning institution situated at the center of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. This small school, oozing with that childhood energy and innocence, was built atop her family’s ancestral land.

“Kasi itong land area nitong school na ito, sa family namin nanggaling as donation. Kaya sabi ko nga, sa lahat ng school, ito ang pinakamahal ko (My family donated this land for the construction of this school. So among all schools, this is the one dearest to me),” she added.

In 2016, when Ma’am Evelyn reported for her first day however, a heart-wrenching sight welcomed her. Entering the school from the main gate, she saw a Banaba tree, and under its shade sat 25 or more Grade 2 students intently listening to their teacher.

Three years have passed and the Banaba tree has gone transformations to at least give some level of comfort to its 7-year-old patrons. First, a roof was built, then wooden walls and thin cement flooring were added to give the pupils a sense of a normal classroom set-up, she said.

In 2019, the community of Brgy. Sta. Lucia finally found a solution to address their problem. This community used cooperation and volunteerism to pave the way to finally end the years of having school children learning outside the four corners of a classroom.

CLASSROOM. This makeshift classroom under a banaba tree serves as the second home of the Grade 2 students in Sta. Lucia Elementary School.

Classroom Under a Tree

With a total land area of 2,188 sq. kms, Sablayan is considered as the largest municipality in the Philippines. Located at the central part of Occidental Mindoro, it is famous for the Apo Reef Marine Natural Park, the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Sablayan may be blessed with a one-of-a-kind natural wonder, but this laidback town hasn’t been exempted to one of the most pressing problems of the Philippine education system – the shortage of decent classrooms for students.

“Andun sa puno lang [sila nagkaklase]. Kapag umuulan, kawawa talaga ang mga bata, tumutulo syempre (They were conducting classes under a tree. When it rains, the roof starts to drip.),” said Ma’am Evelyn, pointing to the make-shift classroom which houses the Grade 2 pupils prior to the completion of the new building.

There were more or less 30 students sharing in the small space under the sturdy Banaba tree, she said. Its large trunk, moreover, looked like the classroom’s centrepiece – a wooden column planted in the center of the room. The children’s future had been literally depending on its branches for many years.

Imagine being a wide-eyed 7-year-old kid staying under a tree for eight hours, five times a week, rain or shine, learning the difference between a noun and a pronoun.

“Kasi kung malalaki ung ilalagay namin doon hindi sila kasya kaya maliliit ung nilagay namin doon (We couldn’t give the makeshift classroom to older students because they wouldn’t fit.),” said Ma’am Evelyn.

These Grade 2 pupils were the perfect tenants then, small enough to fit to the small space provided, yet big enough to take care of themselves when the rain drips from the clouds to the leaves and eventually find their way on their thin cement flooring.

Building School, Building Future

TURN OVER: The newly-constructed 1 unit, 2 classroom building has been formally turned-over to Sta. Lucia Elementary School

“Sobrang thankful kami na nagkaroon ng Kalahi, sobrang tuwang-tuwa ang mga teachers eh, kanina binisita nila ‘yan, ay meron ng ceiling fan, makakalipat na kami (We are very thankful for Kalahi, the teachers are very happy. We visited the new classroom earlier, there’s a ceiling fan already, we may be able to transfer soon),” said Ma’am Evelyn, pertaining to the 1 unit, 2 classroom building sub-project of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

To date, Kalahi-CIDSS has a total of 206 sub-projects in the province of Occidental Mindoro, 48 of which are in Sablayan. The poverty alleviation program which uses the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach ensures that community members are in the heart of decision-making especially in identification, prioritization, establishment, and operationalization of the community sub-projects.

In July 2019, the makeshift classroom under the Banaba Tree finally ceased to shelter the Grade 2 students of Sta. Lucia Elementary School. Due to the combined efforts of the community, the school, and the barangay and the municipal local government unit, having classes under a tree is now a thing of the past.

VOLUNTEERISM. Community volunteer Juanita Jarabe proudly posed in front of the school building she helped build.

“Madami pong naitulong [ang Kalahi] at malaki talaga. Ang pangunahing pangangailangan sa community, natutugunan po talaga. Tulad nitong classroom (Kalahi has helped us a lot. With Kalahi, we were able to address our most pressing concern, thus, this classroom),” said Juanita Jarabe, a community volunteer.

Juanita, and the rest of the 16 active community volunteers of Brgy. Sta Lucia, has ensured the smooth implementation of their new classroom worth a little over PHP 1.5 million. Complete with amenities such as tables and chairs, fans, and own restroom, the classroom was constructed from the combined budget of the stakeholders.

Kalahi-CIDSS total grant was at PHP 780,000, to which the municipal LGU gave a counterpart of PHP 500,000, the barangay LGU at PHP 250,000, and even the school has set aside PHP 36,000 from their budget.

For Ma’am Evelyn, the help of the community volunteers and the LGU officials has been vital for the realization of their dream to provide the students the facilities they deserved.

“Nagpapasalamat talaga kami kina Juanita, isa rin sa nagpursige na magkaroon talaga kami nito, sa mga konsehal, sa lahat na nag-counterpart (We are extremely grateful to Juanita and to other volunteers for their efforts, to the councillors as well, to everyone who provided counterpart),” she said.

Juanita, whose youngest child is currently enrolled at Sta. Lucia Elementary School, claimed that she finds volunteer work fulfilling.

“Sabi ko nga sa mga kasama ko masaya ako at nakakatulong ako at nalalaman ko yung mga pangunahing pangagailangan ninyo para magawan ng ng paraan para makahingi ng mga pondo katulad nyang school building (I told my co-volunteers that I am happy for extending a helping hand. At least we’ve identified the major concern and we were able to address it, asking for funds, if needed),” she said.

More than the infrastructure, the lessons imparted by the program has made the community volunteers more devoted to volunteering.

“’Yung mga katulad namin na ordinaryong mamamayan lang ay na-empower po, natuto kaming ipaglaban kung ano talaga ang aming mga karapatan dito sa community (Ordinary citizens, like me, were empowered. We’ve learned to fight for our rights),” Juanita added.

The product of the community’s collective effort is a safer, more conducive for learning classroom for the students – something that Ma’am Evelyn would be thankful for forever.

“Sabi ko nga ma-itransfer man ako bilang principal…masaya na ako kasi makikita ko ang mga bata na maayos ang kalagayan (If ever they have me transferred to other schools, I would still be happy knowing that I would be leaving the kids in a better condition),” Ma’am Evelyn added. ###

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The Wharf of Bancalaan: Reaching the Heart of Balabac, Palawan

Community volunteer Diana Abdula, while cradling her daughter Fatima, narrates how the newly-constructed concrete wharf is helping the island barangay of Bancalaan in Balabac, Palawan.

For the longest time, Diana Abdula, 33, haven’t thought that her feet would be able to step on a hard concrete wharf in their far flung barangay in Balabac, Palawan. For the longest time, there’s no other way out but a 100-meter walk over a creaking – sometimes slippery – rickety wooden wharf under the scorching heat of the sun in summer or the cold needle-like piercing of raindrops during rainy days.

But Abdula, and the rest of the community members, proved that the people have the power to make their lives better.

For a short while now, the 100-meter stretch of hard cement stands proud and mighty – as if announcing to every person who alights from the passenger boats that it is a product of sweat, passion, and hardwork of the Muslim community of Brgy. Bancalaan, Balabac, Palawan.

The Wooden Wharf

The 100 linear meter concrete wharf which replaced the accident-prone wooden wharf that the barangay was using for the longest time.

The island municipality of Balabac is considered as the westernmost point of the Philippines, just a few kilometres away from Sabah, Malaysia. Due to its geographical location, it has long been deprived of easy access to government services and opportunity for growth and development.

To say that the journey to Balabac is rough is an understatement. One has to leave capital city Puerto Princesa in the wee hours of the morning – 2AM is safe, 4 AM is a risk – to travel 272.5 kilometers away to Rio Tuba in the municipality of Bataraza. From there, two passenger boats depart daily at around 11:30 AM.

But the beauty of the municipality is worth the whole day travel. Balabac is home to unspoilt long-stretch of white sand beaches and pristine clear waters.

So it has not been a surprise that this paradise is increasingly gaining attention from local and foreign tourists alike.

For the past years, however, the first thing that welcomed tourists to the municipality was a wharf made of wooden boards. The boards, which were around two inches apart, paved the way to reach the island after more or less 3 hours of sailing along Sulu Sea and Balabac Strait.

Safety, as expected, wasn’t guaranteed.

“Yan dati kahoy lang s’ya, so madalas yung maintenance, madalas masira. Nasa tabing-dagat kasi ‘yan, ‘pag yung pako kinalawang na, automatic ‘yun, luluwag na. Pag lumuwag na, makakalas na yung mga tabla tabla, tapos madalas, may mga nahuhulog, nalulusot (Before, the wharf was made of wooden boards, so the maintenance was frequent. Since it was near the shore, nails become rusty easily. When that happens, the wooden boards would then be unusable,and there were incidents of people falling down the holes),”said Rolly Reyes, Brgy. Captain of Bancalaan.

Maintenance cost for the wooden wharf was also a problem for the barangay due to frequent retro-fitting.

“Kapag may nasira doon, nabulok ang kahoy, di naman pwedeng ang papalitan mo yun lang, kailangan totally buuin mo lahat kasi mabilis lang din masisira (When one wooden board gets damaged, we couldn’t replace that specific board alone. So we usually overhaul the whole wharf or at least large segment of it),” he added.

The wooden boards, moreover, were bought from mainland Palawan adding more logistical costs. The price of the boards alone was estimated at around PHP 1,000 per piece. Add the transportation cost and the price ballooned to an amount that took its toll to the budget of the barangay.

Cementing the wharf, Cementing progress

Bancalaan Brgy. Captain Rolly Reyes

Home to 14,500 individuals, around 99% of whom are Muslims, Brgy. Bancalaan is composed of two islands. The wharf, which costs PHP 4,831, 623. 79, is situated in the major island is considered as the entry point to Balabac.

For Brgy. Captain Reyes, this wharf serves as the face of the municipality, giving tourists their first impression of what Balabac is and what it has to offer.

So when the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Developmemt (DSWD) reached their municipality, the people of Bancalaan did not think twice on proposing a better, and definitely safer wharf.

Not only does this new wharf look so much better, but it also helps in the economic development of this far-flung community.

The 100 linear meter concrete wharf, completed on May 2019, eases some economic burden to the residents of Bancalaan.  For the longest time, they would pay the porters Php 30.00 per sack of goods that has to be carried across the wooden wharf up until it reached the beach area.

Abdula, born, raised and eventually started a family in Bancalaan, recalled how hard and expensive it has been for them to transport goods from neighboring town Bataraza to their barangay.

“Kapag galing pa sa Rio Tuba, namasahe ka na sa passenger tapos nagpa-estiba ka pa d’yan tapos namasahe ka pa sa motor. Kaya medyo mahal ang paninda dito (From Rio Tuba, you’ll pay for the passenger boat fare and then for porter services and then for tricycle. So the goods sold here are relatively more expensive than normal),” said Abdula.

Involving the community, Creating a legacy

The residents of Barangay Bancalaan waiting for the passenger boat to Balabac mainland. When the concrete wharf was constructed, motorcycles have been able to reach the docking area easing some economic burdens for the community. 

If Brgy. Bancalaan is the heart of Balabac, the community volunteers are considered as the heart of the barangay.

If not for them, we wouldn’t be able to step on a wharf made of hard concrete, said Brgy. Capt. Reyes.

The first-termer Brgy. Captain believed that the community’s involvement in the process of project development – from planning to implementation – has contributed a lot to the completion of the wharf which benefits all of the residents of barangay, neighboring barangays, and even tourists that are starting to flock their municipality.

“’Pag involved ang tao syempre mas aalagaan nila ang proyekto, ‘pag involved ang tao, concerned sila, ‘pag may nakita silang [mali], may mag-rereact. Kasi syempre, merong makikialam, merong makikiisa, ‘yun ang advantage talaga pag involved [ang community]. Saka sa lahat ng proyekto,  ‘yun ang tama, involve mo ung community (When the community is involved, they would definitely take care of the project, they are concerned so when they see something odd, they would react. There are people who would show no indifference, who would cooperate; that’s the advantage of community involevement. And that’s the right thing to do in project development),“ said Brgy Capt. Reyes.

In the Kalahi-CIDSS process, the beneficiary community are in the frontline. Community volunteers are chosen to execute the processes needed for project completion. Decisions for them are made by them. For Brgy. Captain Reyes, this has led to the community’s sense of ownership over the wharf.

“Amin ‘yan. Kami ang gumawa n’yan. Pinaghirapan namin ‘yan. Involved kami d’yan. Alaala namin ‘yan (That’s ours. We made that. We exerted effort for that. That’s our legacy),” he added.

From now on, for a very long time, the legacy of the volunteers of Brgy. Bancalaaan will surely be of great use to the community. The wharf, created with passion, vigor, and the undying hope to make life in the island easier, will let this generation – and the ones that will follow – boar the passenger boats safer and free of worry. #

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Quenching the Thirst to Progress: A barangay in Balabac, Palawan’s journey towards clean, potable water

When the water services in Metro Manila were suddenly cut off early March in 2019, a fiasco ensued.

Residents from all walks of life lined up for water. Social media were saturated with disappointed, angry comments, just like how the streets of the nation’s capital were suddenly filled with rows of water containers, pails, and just about anything that could hold the precious liquid.

But in one of the barangays in the island municipality of Balabac, Palawan, the recent scenario in Metro Manila was the norm – up until the community, Local Government Unit (LGU), and Kalahi-CIDSS project of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) worked hand in hand for the completion of a water system.

Shallow Wells

PUBLIC WELLS.  Prior to the completion of Level II Gravity-Fed Water System of Brgy. Poblacion 1, Balabac, Palawan, residents could be seen lining up to fetch water from shallow wells.

The municipality of Balabac, the southernmost town of the province and westernmost point of the Philippines, is gradually becoming famous for its Maldives-like pristine waters and white sand beaches. Unknown to many however, the town is facing one of the usual but probably the most challenging problem for islands – the scarcity of clean water.

From capital city Puerto Princesa, a trip to Balabac means a four-hour land travel to barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza. Reaching the port past 8 AM, however, would most of the time guarantee another night’s stay near the area. The tickets for the two passenger boats sell like pancakes. Not surprising though since only these two trips daily cater for the municipality’s 40, 142* residents.

After more or less 4 hours of travel along Balabac Strait and parts of Sulu Sea, Balabac Island, which is only around 50 kilometers to Sabah, Malaysia, would be reached. There, near the gateway to the island lies Barangay Poblacion 1, the island’s center of commerce and government activity.

Poblacion 1, or Pob 1, as people fondly call the area, not just houses the Municipal Hall, the Rural Health Unit and the National Power Corporation, but also the home of some shallow wells – the resident’s source of water.

Holes ranging from 2 to 4 meters deep could be seen near the roadside. Just wide enough for a pail to be brought up and down, these wells provide the residents water for doing their laundry, for washing the dishes, and for quenching their thirst.

The problem though was that these shallow wells weren’t producing abundant water enough to supply the demands of the barangay. On bad days, the residents could only fill one pail every 30 minutes.

Jonathan Montalba, 38, recalled the usual scenario every summer season, the time of the year where the minimal water from the wells became even harder to fetch.

“Oras na ganitong tag-init minsan hindi nakakatulog yung mga tao sa kababantay ng tubig kasi pila pila [During summer, residents sometimes didn’t get to sleep since the queue for fetching the water were longer than usual),” said Montalba, a community volunteer.

In fact, there was a time that he had to queue for 20 hours just to bring home water enough to make their 30-gallon container half-full.

“Ang hindi ko talaga makalimutan ay yung mag-iigib ako dun sa may Brgy. Poblacion 2, tapos inaabot pa ako ng alas-kwatro ng madaling araw magbantay kasi ang daming nakapila. Pumunta ako dun ng 8 o’clock ng umaga (I really couldn’t forget the time when I fetched water near barangay Poblacion 2 and I ended up going home at 4AM. I went there at  8 AM the previous day),” he added.

The 15-gallon water Montalba had fetched was used to wash dishes, for cooking, and for drinking.  Fortunately his family owns a piece of land in another barangay near the river.

THE COST OF WATER. For the residents of Barangay Poblacion 1, filling a gallon of water could mean losing sleep and and getting into heated argumantes.

“Tapos ung panglaba, pangligo, dumadayo pa kami sa bukid. Sa brgy 6 naman kami umuuwi kasi  may bukid kami dyan. Dun na kami naliligo, dun na kami naglalaba, pag umuuwi kami ng bukid, dinadala na namin ung labahin namin doon (For laundry and taking a bath, we go to our farm in Brgy. Poblacion 6. There is a river there),” said Montalba.

But not all 374 residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 were as stark lucky as Montalba. Most of them, aside from those who have their own private wells and those who could afford paying PHP200 for a drum of water, were reliant to the public wells for all their water needs.

And when the heat of the weather clashed with the thirsty residents of the barangay, misundertandings were inevitable.

“Dati nagbabaranggayan pa yan, nagsusuntukan dahil lang sa tubig, nagmumurahan dahil sa tubig (Before, there were cases of heated arguments and fist-fighting just because of water. People were even cursing each other),” said Montalba.

Making and sustaining the “Oasis”

Since November 2018, the residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 were no longer clawing their way through the long queues of pails and containers waiting for their turns. When the Level II Gravity-Fed Water System was finally operational, the residents no longer have to line up for hours for water just enough for their families’ drinking needs.

Now, the residents can enjoy clean water from 14 tap-stands situated within the barangay.

But what has changed in the barangay that led them to find a solution to the generation-aged problem?

When the Kalahi-CIDSS program of DSWD went to Balabac, the Local Government Units, from municipal down to barangay level, community volunteers, and the community members did not let the opportunity of finally addressing their most pressing problem pass.

Montalba, and the rest of the community volunteers, poured all their dedication and commitment to the program since the start of the sub-project. They gave their efforts, time, and even used a part of their meagre income just to make clean water adequate and accessible to their fellow ka-barangays.

It wasn’t an easy process, Montalba recalled.

Documents had to be submitted on time, barangay assemblies had to be conducted to get the people’s decision, and materials have to be procured. And although DSWD staff were there to guide them, the community volunteers were the lead in every step of the way.

As an island municipality, procurement of materials for the construction of the water system became a problem.

“Doon talaga kami nahirapan sa paghahanap ng supplier kasi naka-ilang beses kaming nagbigay ng quotation, walang nagku-quote. Kasi ang layo nga naman ng Puerto Princesa sa Balabac (When we were looking for supplier, that was when we had it difficult. Nobody was giving quotations because Puerto Princesa is really far from Balabac),” said Montalba.

Excluding waiting time, the travel from Puerto Princesa to Balabac is more or less 9 hours on good days. Rainy and typhoon seasons, completely paint a different picture.

But the volunteers didn’t lose hope and found a strategy.

“Ang ginawa namin hinati-hati namin. ‘Di ba kasi dapat ‘pag kumukha ng supplier deliver on site? Ang ginawa namin, hinati namin yun, nagkuha kami ng supplier, nagkuha din kami ng transpo. Kasi kung isasagot pa yung transpo doon sa supplier, ‘di nila papatusin (It should have been deliver on site, right? But what we did was we find a supplier, and we pay another entity for the transportation. We figured that if we wouldn’t be able to find a supplier who would shoulder the transportation expenses),” said Montalba.

And with that, the construction of the water system was completed.

Now, the volunteers from Barangay Poblacion 1 is making sure every household in their barangay gets enough water.

With the creation of Poblacion One Water System Association (POWSA), an organized group of community volunteers who manages the water system, a scheduling of on and off hours per tap-stand is in placed to ensure proper distribution of water.

For Montalba, however, the Kalahi-CIDSS program gave them more than just clean water.

“Hindi na nagkakaaway-away, kung mayroong problemang ganyan [hindi nakaka-igib], lumalapit na agad sila sa kung sinong nakatoka doon (Misunderstandings between neighbors have stopped. If someone was not able to fetch water, they immediately file their complaints through proper channel),” said Montalba.

The water system indeed gave the barangay the clean water they’ve been dying to have and the system that makes their relationship to each other better.

Now, residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 no longer line up for hours. They no longer have to manually bring a pail up and down the well. They can now sleep peacefully at night knowing that there’s enough water in their containers, and the feeling of thirst is just in passing and can easily be quenched. #


*data from 2015 census

Note: The Level II Gravity-Fed Water System of Brgy. Poblacion 1, Balabac, Palawan is one of the sub-projects of Kalahi-CIDSS program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Through the Community-Driven Development approach, the said sub-project was identified, implemented, and owned by the community.

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