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DSWD MIMAROPA launches Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign

Pantawid Pamilya launches its Bata Balik Ekwela Campaign to the different provinces of MIMAROPA Region to encourage students who are not attending school to continue studying

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA through Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilya Program launched the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign on May 20, 2019 as part of its efforts to encourage children beneficiaries to enroll in school and maintain their attendance in class. With tagline, “Edukasyon ay Mahalaga, Ito ay ating Ipaalala”, the campaign will continue until the end of enrollment which is set on August.

In order to sustain the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities especially in education, the Pantawid Pamilya rolled out the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign or BBE which is targeted mainly for Pantawid children who are not currently enrolled and not attending.

The campaign was launched to encourage Pantawid children who are not attending school to continue studying so that they will fully utilize the program’s benefits,” said DSWD MIMAROPA OIC Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio.

The different Municipal Operations Offices (MOOs) of Pantawid Pamilya set up information booth during Brigada Eskwela as part of the campaign to provide consultation to parents and children who are not attending school (Photo from Buenavista, Marinduque)

The Pantawid Pamilya provides conditional cash grants to the poor Filipino families, investing on health and education of the children. It provides P300.00 for every family who are compliant to its health conditionalities while another P300.00 for every monitored child who maintains 85% of their attendance in pre-school and elementary while P500.00 for those who are studying in high school. Only three children of the household-beneficiary can be monitored.

“Through the campaign, different reasons for not attending school were identified such as early pregnancy/fatherhood, bullying, gender-based violence, loss of interest, and working among others. These serve as guide to manage the cases of the children and provide them proper interventions,” explained Gunio.

Before the launch of the campaign, the Regional Office of Pantawid Pamillya convened all social workers of the DSWD Field Office MIMAROPA to create an action plan based on the different reasons for not attending school. These strategies have helped the field staff of the Provincial Operations Offices (POOs) in the execution of the campaign which include setting up of information desk during Brigada Eskwela; conducting focus group discussions to both parents and children; and tapping Alternative Learning System (ALS) coordinators to provide orientation about other modes of education offered by the Department of Education (DepEd) which they may also attend in lieu of the formal regular classes if they were not able to finish elementary or high school or have not attended school at all. In Oriental Mindoro, Pantawid Pamilya field staff conducted a stage play in every municipality. The stage play commenced on May 22, 2019 in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and will continue until June 28, 2019. The play demonstrates stories of the beneficiaries and their struggles in life especially in gaining access to education. Through the stage play, the field implementer aim to exhibit the different means which beneficiaries may adopt in order to respond with their problems to allow them to continue studying.

Moreover, the program coordinates with the schools and Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) to discuss the involvement of the school’s Child Protection Policies and the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in the implementation of the campaign. Starting June until August, the field staff will conduct case management, group work, and monitoring for those students who did not enroll for School Year 2019 to 2020.

“It is hoped that through these efforts, the importance of education in providing a better future will be instilled in the minds of the children beneficiaries,” Gunio said.

As of March 2019, there are 14,872 identified children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in MIMAROPA Region who are not attending school.  ###

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A Teacher’s Quest in Ensuring Education for the Disadvantaged

Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School has been awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal 2019 on Education for her efforts beyond service to the children beneficiaries of the program

“Galing ako sa mahirap na pamilya kaya nararamdaman ko rin ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga estudyante namin dito (I also came from a poor family that’s why I know the difficulties that our students are going through),” said teary-eyed Geralyn Fajilan, the Pantawid Pamilya focal for education in Corcuera, Romblon when asked about what keeps her motivated in encouraging children from poor families to pursue their studies.

For four years of being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn has been providing services to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beyond her duty of monitoring the compliance verification of the program’s monitored children in Mabini National Highschool in Brgy. Mabini, Corcuera, Romblon.  Since she came from a poor family who depends on farming to finance their needs, she understands the challenges that the students have to face especially in financing their education. Therefore, she was glad when she was assigned as the Pantawid focal since she will be able to take part in the program’s advocacy in keeping children in school through provision of financial assistance.

“Napakalaking responsibilidad para sa akin ang maging isang focal ng programa dahil kinakailangan kong siguruhin na maayos na natatanggap ng mga batang ito ang tulong mula sa programa sa pamamagitan ng pagmomonitor ko ng attendance nila sa kanilang mga klase, (Being a focal of the program is a big responsibility for me because I need to ensure that the children will properly receive the aide from the program through monitoring their attendance to their classes),” Geralyn said. “Kaya naman hindi ko lamang silang gustong tulungan na makatanggap ng kumpletong cash grant kundi gusto ko rin silang tulungang mapabuti ang kanilang pag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng pagtuturo ko at ibang mga proyekto ko para sa kanila (That’s why I want to help them not only to receive their complete cash grants but also help them with their studies through my teachings and the different projects I develop for them)”, she added.

Through Geralyn, the 4Ps club in Mabini National High School was established and Pantawid student beneficiaries were prioritized in receiving other services that their school offers. Aside from mobilizing the student beneficiaries in participating actively in school and community activities, the club was also created to better monitor the compliance of the students to the program conditionalities.


Beyond Duty

In 2016, Geralyn was assigned by their school Principal, Ronald Famodulan as the Pantawid focal. “Nakitaan ko siya ng malasakit sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga estudyante dahil sa pangunguna niya sa aming proyektong, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program’ kaya siya ang napili kong coordinator (I saw how she cares for our students in attending to their needs due to her management in our project, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program that’s why I assigned her to become the coordinator),” Mr. Famodulan said.  As the coordinator of the said project, which was the initiative of the former principal of the school, she encourages the alumni of the school to become sponsors of children, whose grades are not lower than 85%, to help them with their financial needs. As much as she wants to help more students, there are only limited slots since there are limited numbers of sponsors hence, the students undergo screening to identify the deserving students. Currently, 24 out of 46 grantees of the project are Pantawid beneficiaries.

Geralyn believes that part of her responsibility as a focal is to ensure the welfare of the students through helping them appreciate the importance of education in attaining a better future.  Because of this, she is determined to exert efforts to help these children in uplifting their lives as well as their families.

Mahalaga na malaman ng mga bata ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon kaya kailangang bigyan sila ng motibasyon para ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral at magtiwala rin sa kanilang sarili, (It is important for the children to understand the importance of education that’s why we need to motivate them to continue their studies and to become confident with themselves),” Geralyn said. This has inspired her to establish the 4Ps Club in 2018 to organize the 412 student beneficiaries of their school in strengthening the advocacy of the program. Through this club, Geralyn aims to strengthen the sense of responsibility and leadership of the students as well as boost their confidence of being a Pantawid beneficiary.

Geralyn organized the student beneficiaries of Pantawid to create the 4Ps club in 2018

Sa pamamagitan po ng 4Ps club, mas naging proud na po kaming mga estudyante na maging benepisyaryo ng 4Ps dati po kasi ay may mga nahihiya ‘pag sinasabing sila ay 4Ps (Through 4Ps club, we became more proud to be a beneficiary of 4Ps since before, there were students who were intimidated to tell others that they are beneficiaries of the program),” said Trisha Fampo, the president of the club.

The students nominated their officers and each grade level have their own representatives to make it easier for them to gather the members and keep them updated of the activities and the program’s advocacies. The club conducted a community clean-up drive and created an herbal nursery in school, which were all coordinated and organized by the officers of the club.

“Kami po ang nakikipag-usap sa Department of Agriculture para sa mga seeds o kaya sa barangay para sa iba pa naming mga kailangan (We coordinate with the Department of Agriculture for the seeds or with the barangay for the other things that we need),” Trisha said. According to her, the club has inspired them not only to become better students but also become better members of the community.

For Geralyn, the club has also become a great help for her as Pantawid focal since she is able to better monitor the compliance of the student beneficiaries as well as somewhat solve issues on non-compliance. “Mayroon silang peer counselling sa kanilang mga kaklase na hindi pumapasok o kaya naman ay palaging nagcucutting (They conduct peer counselling with their fellow classmates who have issues on absenteeism or on cutting classes),” said Geralyn. It has allowed students to easily seek help to their fellow classmates or beneficiaries and provide listening and support for those problematic students.

“Kapag may mga kapwa benepisyaryo po kami na nahihirapan na at hindi na po namin makausap, nirerefer na po namin ito kay Ma’am (When there are fellow beneficiaries who are having difficulties which we cannot handle, we refer it to our teacher),” said Trisha. She added that the officers of the club also coordinate with the Pantawid municipal staff in conducting counselling to the non-compliant beneficiaries.

The club has gained support of the school since it has also helped them in decreasing the numbers of students who are dropping out. “Dahil majority ng aming eskwelahan ay 4Ps beneficiaries, sa tulong ng mga pagmomonitor sa mga bata, bumababa ang kaso ng drop out sa amin (Since majority of our students are beneficiaries of 4Ps, the monitoring conducted has helped in the decrease of students who are dropping out of our school),” said Mr. Famodulan.

After a year of its establishment, the Municipal staff of Pantawid in Corcuera was inspired to introduce to other schools in their municipality the organization of a 4Ps club  for the next academic year through their meeting this May. On March 2019, Mabini National High School recorded a 96.60% compliance rate where 14 students were non-compliant.


Becoming an Inspiration

“Si Ma’am Geralyn ang nagbigay sa akin ng lakas na loob na kayanin ang isang pagiging lider sa lahat ng mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps sa aming eskwelahan (It was Ma’am Geralyn who has given me the confidence to become a leader of all 4Ps beneficiaries in our school),” said Trisha. Trisha was able to develop her leadership because of being the president of the club since it was Teacher Geralyn who believed in her.

According to Mr. Famodulan, one of the greatest characteristics of Geralyn is her ability to inspire students to reach greater heights of performance and success. In fact, as the Grade 10 adviser, she has been able to motivate all of her students to graduate with honors for two consecutive years already.

Teacher Geralyn ensures that her students are inspired and motivated to finish their studies to achieve their dreams in life

Geralyn was motivated to extend efforts to the beneficiaries of the program because she understood the objectives of the program in educating the children. With her strong dedication and passion to help them, she is driven to continue helping the program towards attaining its objectives.

For Geralyn, it is not important to be recognized and appreciated as long as she does things which can benefit other people.

Through being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn said that she was able to be given a chance to use and develop her skills as a teacher to open the eyes of the children in understanding the importance of education in improving their lives, their families, and their community. With this, Geralyn assured that she will continue in becoming an inspiration to the students and in helping them achieve their dreams. ###

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Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA recognizes partners on Health and Education

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office MIMAROPA through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program recognizes the efforts and services of partner stakeholders (Pantawid Focals) from the schools and health centers through conducting the Search for Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Education on April. The activity is part of the efforts of the program to strengthen partnership with different stakeholders for a more effective and efficient delivery of the program’s services and initiatives.

Since its implementation, the program has been partnering with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd) to monitor the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities on health and education. The schools and health centers assign a Pantawid focal to submit the necessary documents to verify their compliance.

The Search for Pantawid Focal provided Certificate of Recognition to all focal persons who have been serving for more than 2 years. Meanwhile, the focals on health and education who have exerted efforts beyond their duties and responsibilities to ensure the welfare of the beneficiaries were given the title Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Each province nominated their best Pantawid focal on the Health and Education Category. The finalists in the Health category are: Eden Favila of Panitian National High School, Sofronio Española, Palawan; Cesar G. Castillo of Dayhagan National High School, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro; Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School, Corcuera, Romblon; Jessie G. Santiago of Magsaysay National High School, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro; and Ma. Luisa C. Fellizar of Timbo Elementary School, Buenavista, Marinduque. Meanwhile, for the Health category, the nominees are: Elvira A. Manga, of Dumarao Barangay Health Station, Roxas, Palawan; Lina F. Fruelda of San Roque Health Station, Corcuera, Romblon; Carmelita T. Disor of Rural Health Unit, Lubang Occidental Mindoro; and Nelly T. Lusterio of Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.

After the screening and validation of Pantawid MIMAROPA, Nelly from Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Health while Geralyn from Mabini Nationl High School, Corcuera, Romblon, was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Aside from serving as a Midwife III in Bansud Health Station, Nelly T. Lusterio was assigned as the Pantawid focal on health in the municipality since the start of the program in 2009. Throughout her years in service, she assures that the beneficiaries of the program will receive the right health services and attain knowledge on the significance of availing these services especially the Indigenous People (IP) beneficiaries who constitute a great portion of the families she monitors. She conducts home visitation to beneficiaries who are non-compliant to follow-up on the reason of non-compliance and to explain to them the importance of the program and its advocacies on helping them through investing on health and nutrition of their families.

Meanwhile, Geralyn, a Pantawid focal on Education for four years, has been providing services to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beyond her duty of monitoring the compliance verification of the program’s monitored children in Mabini National Highschool in Brgy. Mabini, Corcuera, Romblon. She established the 4Ps Club in 2018 to organize the 412 student beneficiaries of their school in strengthening the advocacy of the program. Through this club, Geralyn aims to strengthen the sense of responsibility and leadership of the students as well as boost their confidence of being a Pantawid beneficiary.

Both Pantawid focals will attend the National Partnership Summit in Metro Manila on May to be awarded together with the other focals of the region.

The program will continue its partnership with DepEd and DOH in line with its objectives to invest on the health and education of the children to improve their quality of life. ###


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Strength in Numbers

“Hindi ako nagsisi kahit madami sila…medyo hirap, pero kinakaya tsaka masaya naman (I do not regret having many children…it is sometimes hard, but we get through it and we are happy)” said Marlyn Geonzon, a mother of ten.

Being economically challenged and having more children to feed, Marlyn and his husband, Maclyn, work hard each day to support the needs especially the education of their children.


Marlyn and Maclyn inside their house in Roxas, Palawan

One Big, happy family

In a typical Filipino family, the father is in charge of earning a living for the family while the mother is expected to take care of the children. But Marlyn and Maclyn tend to defy the norm as they consider each other as their ultimate partner in life. Marlyn and Maclyn support each other in providing for their family; however, both of them do not have stable jobs as Maclyn works as a tricycle driver while Marlyn is a food vendor.

They met in 1988 and both have been working hard since then. As their family is growing, the couple knows that they need to earn more in order to sustain the needs of their children.  Both of them wake up at 3:00 in the morning to cook arroz caldo and other viands for lunch which Marlyn sells in government offices and houses near them. She also sells bilo-bilo, pancit, and rice porridge for merienda. When the clock hits 5 in the afternoon, she goes back home to prepare barbecue which she sells in front of their house. Marlyn was able to get a job as a Public Service Foreman in a Job Order Contract in the Municipal Assessor’s Office in 2006, but she continues selling food in their office for extra income.

According to Marlyn, they are lucky enough to be given ten obedient and wonderful children, of which five are girls while five are boys. And despite being economically challenged, the couple was able to give Mark Francis, Mae Sheila Ann, Mary Lovely Jane, Marc Lester, Marc Philip, Mary Apple Rose, Michelle Ivy Zhielaxy, Maclyn Jr., May Angel Catherine and Michael John Irish access to good education.


Getting through life’s hardship

Marlyn and Maclyn strive hard to provide the needs of their children. Just like most parents, they prioritize their children more than themselves. And with the help of certain programs of the government and their family’s efforts and hard work, Marlyn said that they have somehow get through with life’s hardship.

It was in 2009 that they have been listed as a partner-beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which had greatly helped in their family’s finances. Marlyn is serving as a Parent Leader in their cluster since 2011. “Ang programang ito ng gobyerno ay napakaganda dahil kung ihahambing natin ang panahon noong wala pa ang Pantawid ay maraming palaboy-laboy sa lansangan at hindi nag-aaral (This program of the government is helpful because before the intervention of Pantawid, children are seen in the streets instead of studying in school),” she explained.

She is thankful of the program as it helped them in financing for the education and health of their children. Together with the cash grant that they receive and the scholarships that her children obtain from several government office and other organizations, four of her children had already graduated college – Mark Francis, their eldest graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming; Mae Sheila Ann graduated Secondary Education; Mary Lovely Jane in Business Administration; while Marc Lester finished his degree in Electrical Engineering. Even though the grant they receive from Pantawid is not much, it helped them a lot especially since it has been difficult for them to send all of their children in school all at the same time.


Working together for a bright future

Children growing up in big families are said to become happier and more successful in life. The Geonzon Family might be a big one, but they believe that as long as they are together, they can overcome anything. It might take a while before all of them graduate from college, but they believe that everything will be worth it once it happened. Little by little, they can soon reach their dreams, knowing that they have their strength in numbers. ###

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To the Top: A Journey Towards Volunteerism and Leadership

ACTIVE VOLUNTEERISM- Giovannie Fabro, 32 represents their community’s Operation and Maintenance Group on the Organizational Development and Management Training of Kalahi  CIDSS.

Traversing the coconut plantation in the morning and organizing youth groups in the afternoon has been the routine of Giovannie, a dark, well-built man in his early thirties with a face chiseled by hard work and a heart molded by volunteerism.

Giovannie Fabro, more well-known in his community as Giovan is the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson of Barangay Toctoc in Banton Romblon. From a by-stander to a volunteer, Giovan said that he has found more meaning in life when he was immersed in volunteerism and in Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi CIDSS).

New Chapter

Like many of the youths in Banton, Giovan worked in Manila. Numerous factories hired him until he has worked himself to exhaustion. Realizing that his income was not enough to support his family in the province, Giovan decided to go back home to take care of his parents.

He worked on their copras business to earn a living. Even with lesser income, he admitted that going back home was one of the best decisions he has ever done.

His caring and gregarious personality earned him a lot of buddies in Brgy. Toctoc. They usually hang-out and play basketball on the community court where the Kalahi CIDSS Barangay Assemblies (BA) were frequently conducted. This hobby of his had introduced him to the program and to volunteerism.

The raising hands of the people in the half court intrigued Giovan as they rest after a basketball game and he listened to what they discussed. He learned that the people were voting for a sub-project that they wanted to have in their community. Amazed on how the people are given the freedom to have a project of their choice, Giovan decided to join the next meetings.

In the beginning, he admitted that attending the assemblies of Kalahi CIDSS was like learning a foreign language. “Napakadaming acronyms yung nababanggit nila at hindi ko talaga maintindihan kaya tinatanong ko yung katabi ko.” (I do not understand the numerous acronyms that they mention thus I ask the person next to me about the meaning of those acronyms.)

He chuckled as he added, “umabot na sa pagkakataon sa assembly na nainis na yung katabi ko sa katatanong ko kaya linayasan nya na ko.” (One time, during the assembly, my seatmate got tired of my asking thus he walked away.)

The Heart of a Volunteer

On the second cycle of Kalahi CIDSS, he actively participated and was elected as a member of the Project Implementation Team (PIT).

A sudden change in Giovan’s routine had happened when he became a volunteer. His usual lazy afternoons were changed to attending meetings of the BSPMC and studying the community procurement manual.

Eventually, he discovered his passion to volunteerism when he attended the community volunteers’ training. This has also been his inspiration to organize a youth group called Uswag Banton. The group aims to re-plant trees in the area.  In addition, he encouraged the members of the group to take part in Kalahi CIDSS and they help the community empowerment facilitator to gather people during barangay assemblies.

The community members witnessed his industry as a community volunteer. Thus, they decided to elect him as the BSPMC chairperson of Barangay Toctoc on the third cycle of the program. Mrs. Yolly Felita, one of the elders in Brgy Toctoc said that she is convinced that Giovan will be a good BSPMC chairperson.

Despite this, Giovan admitted that he had second thoughts on accepting the new post.

Nevertheless, his dream of giving his community a safe and sustainable drinking water has surfaced than his fear of greater responsibility. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ngayon pa ba ako titigil kung kelan malapit na naming makamit ang pangangailangan ng aming komunidad?” (I said to myself, would I stop now, now that the need of our community is almost within our reach?)

Community Empowerment Facilitator of Brgy. Toctoc Shirley Vallez recounted a story on how Giovan has shown his dedication to the project. According to her, “Si Giovan ang nanguna noong kailangang i-konekta pababa sa bundok yung tubig kahit medyo masama yung pakiramdam nya. Na-amaze ako sa batang yan kasi kita mo sakanya yung passion na tumulong kahit may sinat sya.” (Giovan lead the community to connect the water from its source in the mountain down to their community and he was not feeling well when he did it. I was amazed on that kid because you can see his passion to help even he is sick.)

Beyond service

Giovan saw how the community driven development process has transformed his flat and passive community into an active one. From his account, he was amazed on how his community was able to work together in spite of political ramifications because of their common goal of having access to clean and potable water.

Consequently, Giovannie discovered his leadership talents in becoming a Kalahi CIDSS volunteer. From the timid man, he was now able to speak in front of his community and other crowds. He recounted the moment where he shared his reflection during the BSPMC training in Makati and he said he never felt so proud before.

“Kung may sasabihin ako at alam kong tama at makakabuti, sasabihin ko yun” (If I have something to say that I know is right and will contribute to the greater good, then I will say it) said Giovannie. He added “Sana ganun din ang gawin ng mga ka-barangay ko“(I wish that the people in my community would also do the same.)

Giovannie has been a volunteer of Kalahi for 2 years now and as a volunteer he had a lot of realizations in life, in his community and in the municipality of Banton. “Sana ay tigilan na ng kababayan ko ang panlilibak sa iba dahil lang sa pulitika. Panira sa pag kakaisa ng Bantoanon yang ganang gawain.” (I wish that people would stop destroying others for the sake of their political endeavors. This kind of action destroys our hope of uniting the Bantoanons for the common good).

All of Giovannie’s BSPMC colleagues have previously held posts in public service. With this, he was teased by his ‘kuyas’ that he must try his luck in politics and run as a barangay councilor. He said that he feels awkward whenever such topics are being discussed.

All Giovan know is his true calling is to serve his community beyond Kalahi CIDSS.

Kalahi CIDSS is a poverty alleviating program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that employs the process of community driven development to empower the community which would empower the people, promote good governance, and alleviate poverty in the community. ###

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Ang Bagong “Ako”

Ni Linelyn K. Juanzon

Paano ba binago ng KALAHI ang pananaw ko sa buhay? Bago dumating ang KALAHI-CIDSS sa aming barangay ay isa lamang akong simple at ordinaryong mamamayan na hindi nakikialam sa lahat ng usaping may kinalaman sa barangay lalo’t higit sa usaping imprastraktura, sa mga proyektong naipapagawa at sa usaping pangkabuhayan. Oo, nakikita ko ang bawat galaw ng aking mga kababayan, pero hindi ko nalalaman na sa likod ng mga pangyayari ay mayroong mas malalim pa na kwento na aking matutuklasan. Ang pang araw-araw kong buhay ay umiikot lamang sa pagtuturo ( dahil isa akong day care worker, sa pagsisimba, at sa mga usaping napapaloob sa aming tahanan). Katwiran ko noon, nariyan ang mga kagawad at kapitan na syang namumuno at sila lang ang may karapatan sa mga usaping pambarangay.

Dumaan ang unang siklo ng KALAHI-CIDSS MCC na hind ako dumadalo sa mga Barangay Assembly, bagamat isa ang aming barangay sa mga na prioritize, at nabigyan kami ng isang silid aralan, katwiran ko parang ang gulo gulo ng proseso at hindi na ako dapat na nakikialam dahil masyado na silang marami. Sa unang Barangay Assembly ng pangalawang siklo, napadaan ako at tinawag ng isang volunteer na syang umaakto na bookkeeper. Nagpapatulong sya sa paggawa ng minutes ng nangyayaring BA. Tinulungan ko sya sa pag gawa kung paano at habang nakikinig ako sa presentasyon ng mga volunteer, nagkainteres akong malaman kung anu ba ang KALAHI at ano ba ang layunin nito. Nang matapos ang Barangay Assembly at nakihalubilo ako sa mga volunteer, napukaw nito ang aking interes na matuto at makilahok. Nang maihalal ako bilang isang BSPMC Chairperson, tuluyan nitong binago ang aking mga pananaw sa buhay lalo na sa usaping proyekto sa barangay at sa usaping pangkabuhayan. Naging aktibo ako sa larangan ng pakikilahok, pakikialam, at pagmamalasakit lalo na sa aming mga kababayan na nasa malalayong sityo.

Hindi naging madali para sa akin ang maging isang Barangay Sub-Project Managament Committee Chairperson, pero dito ko nalaman na may kakayahan pala ako na maging isang lider. Naging isang hamon sa akin ang pamumuno dahil ako ay isang babae at hindi degree holder. Natakot ako na baka hindi ko makaya at ako ay pumalpak sa tungkuling iniatang sa akin at ipinagkatiwala sa akin ng aking mga kababayan . Sinikap kong gawin ang lahat ng aking makakaya at tanggapin ang bawat hamon ng mayroong pagnanais na matuto. Ang una kong pinagsikapang gawin ay ang pagdalo sa lahat ng trainings at seminar na isinasagawa ng KALAHI. Lahat ng community volunteers training ay aking dinadaluhan, sa pagnanais na mapuno ako ng lahat ng kaalamang aking kinakailangan. Sumakit ang ulo ko sa pag aaral lalo na pagdating sa finance at engineering details. Katwiran ko balang araw ay magagamit ko ang mga kaalamang ito .

Hindi na prio ang aming barangay sa pangalawa at pangatlong siklo ng KALAHI MCC. Pero hindi pa rin kami sumuko, dahil talagang kailangan namin ng mga proyekto, lalo na at ang aming barangay ang pinakamalayong barangay sa BAYAN NG CALATRAVA. Sa loob ng mga panahong iyon ay napakarami na ng aming natutuhan, hindi lamang ako kundi maging ang aking mga kapwa volunteer. Isa na doon ang mabuting pagsasamahan sa pagitan ng mga community volunteer at sa mga opisyales ng barangay. Naging kaibigan namin ang mga kawani sa munisipyo at ang mga staff ng KALAHI, bagamat minsan ay nagkakaroon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan dahil sa mga hinahabol na deadlines. Nalaman namin sa paulit ulit na Barangay Assembly na marami pala ang mga hinaing ng aming mga kababayan na mas nangangailangan ng agarang katugunan. Nalaman ko ang bawat maliliit na detalye sa barangay TALISAY na akala ko noon ay hindi mahalaga, kagaya ng total na populasyon, total households, etc.

Sa unang siklo ng KALAHI NCDDP, pinalad na ma prio ang aming barangay sa isinulong na proyektong seawall na matagal ng inaasam ng aming mga kababayan. Sa malaking pondo na aming hahawakan, alam ko na malaki ang responsibilidad na nakaatang sa akin bilang BSPMC. Naging abala ang lahat sa pag aasikaso ng lahat ng dokumentong kakailanganin sa mangyayaring implementasyon. Kasabay nito ang mga trainings and seminar na isinasagawa, at ang mga deadlines ng hinihinging dokumento. Sa lahat ng iyon, ipinagpapasalamat ko ang 100% na suporta ng BLGU, sa mga Barangay Assembly, at transportasyon kung may mga ipinapatawag na workshop. Ipinapahatid kami ng aming kapitan sa bayan kapag wala kaming masakyang Bangka, at ipinapasundo sa bayan tuwing kami’y inaabot ng gabi. At ang aming mga bolunter, ay nagtiya-tiyagang maglakad mula Brgy. Linao hanggang Brgy. Talisay, kapag malakas ang alon para lamang maipasa ang mga dokumento.

Personal kong pinamamahalaan ang lahat ng nangyayaring transaksyon mula sa canvassing, delivery ng mga materyalis at on-going na implementasyon. Hindi ito naging madali para sa akin, marami ang umugong na haka haka na hindi ito matatapos. Nag umpisa akong maging mahigpit lalo na sa pagsunod sa oras, sa isang araw na bayanihan, sa pagsuot ng PPE, at sa inventory ng mga materyalis sa bodega. Natutunan kong makiharap sa mga imposibleng supplier ng mga materyales. At sa mga nagtatampong mga volunteer at mga tatamad tamad na mga laborer. Sa buong panahon ng implementasyon, narito ang mga challenges na aking kinaharap at ang mga solusyong aking ginawa ( kasama ng mga volunteer) para maging maayos ang takbo ng implementasyon:

  • Sa paghuhukay, naging paulit ulit ang tambak ng buhangin sa hinuhukayan naging dahilan ng pagbagal ng accomplishment ng trabaho. Pinag usapan namin sa execom, kasama ang TWG at ang mga staff ng KALAHI ang magandang maaring gawin para mas mapabilis ang implementasyon.
  • Kakulangan sa laborer, dahil walang nag aaply sa paghuhukay dahil mahirap at mabigat na trabaho. Gusto ng ibang mga laborer na sa mas madaling gawain na sila magtatrabaho. Gumawa kami ng isang resolusyon na kung walang mag aaply ng trabaho sa paghuhukay ay ang mga trabahador o mga laborer na maghuhukay ang sya ding magtatrabaho sa pagbubuhos o finishing na ng seawall.
  • Na discourage ang mga volunteer sa maraming mga komento na hindi matatapos ang proyekto ay ubos na agad ang budget o pondo para dito. Nagpulong ang mga volunteer sa pamamagitan ng execom at ine-encourage sila na pagbutihin lang ang ginagawa at hayaan ang mga komento sa labas. Ipinaliwanag sa BA ang lahat ng technicalities ng proyekto sa tulong ng mga engineers ng KALAHI at munisipyo.
  • Dahilan sa malayo at palagiang malakas ang alon, nagkukulang kami sa supervision ng mga technical facilitators, kaya pinag aralan ko bilang BSPMC ang engineering details ng proyekto para malaman ko kung tumatakbo pa ba ito sa tama at nakakasunod hanggang sa makatapos kami ng mayroon pang pondo at sapat na panahon.
  • Para makatipid at makasiguro na hindi kami kakapusin. Nakipag ugnayan ako sa mga lider ng lahat ng organisasyon sa BARANGAY upang humingi ng bayanihan sa kanila. Gaya ng KALIPI, fisherfolk at farmers, community volunteers at ERPAT. Ang mga opisyales ng barangay ay paulit ulit at hindi nagsasawa sa pagbibigay ng bayanihan sa buong panahon ng implementasyon.

Pumupunta ako sa project sight at pinamamahalaan ng maiigi ang bawat gawain, pati na rin ang pag papala ng lupa.

Naging mahalagang isyu sa implementasyon ang pagtatrabaho ng mga kababaihan sa isinasagawang proyekto. Pinag uusapan ang mga kakayahan ng mga babae kumpara sa mga lalaki.

Para masagot ang nasabing isyu, isa sa inimbitahan sa BA, ay ang MSWDO para ipaliwanag ang pantay na karapatan ng mga kababaihan pagdating sa pagtatrabaho at sa tatanggaping sweldo. Ang anumang problema sa isinasagawang implementasyon ay idinaan sa EXECOM para sa sama samang pagpaplano at pag iisip ng solusyon, paghingi ng opinyon sa mga tamang tao na nakakaalam ng mga detalye lalo na pagdating sa engineering details. Pakikinig sa suhestiyon ng mga on-lookers at mga standby sa tabi tabi, sa mga payo ng mga nakatatanda at pagbibigay ng halaga sa suhestiyon ng mga barangay opisyal. Naging mahigpit ang aking pagrerepaso lalo na sa mga papel na may kinalaman sa kaperahan at naging maingat sa pagpirma sa mga tseke, at mga voucher na pinapipirmahan. Nagamit ko sa implementasyon ang mga natutunan ko sa mga trainings and seminar na aking pinagdaanan.

Naging daan ang aking pagiging bolunter, sa kung anu ang aking pananaw sa ngayon. Mula sa pagiging isang ordinaryong mamamayan, naging lider ako ng mga organisasyon sa aming Barangay gaya ng SAUMATA (Samahan ng Mga Ulirang Mamamayan ng Talisay), KALIPI, at RURAL IMPROVEMENT CLUB sa ilalim ng Agrikultura. Kasama sa mga trainings at seminar sa loob man o sa labas ng bayan ng Calatrava. Kasama sa Local Poverty Reduction Team at ginagampanan ang papel ng secretary sa LPRAT. Myembro ng iba’t ibang organisasyon sa munisipyo na nagre representa sa Barangay Talisay.

Saludo ako sa layunin at proseso ng KALAHI, hinubog nito ang karamihan sa mamamayan sa pakikilahok at pakikialam. Tinuruang maging transparent ang BLGU at mga mamamayan sa mga gagawing proyekto. Naibigay sa mamamayan ang mga proyektong mas tunay na kinakailangan. Binigyan nito ng kapangyarihan ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan na direktang hawakan at pamahalaan ang isinasagawang proyekto. Binigyan nito ng pagkakataon ang mga mamamayan na matuto ng tamang proseso. Naniniwala ako na kapag lubos na naunawaan ng mga tao ang proseso ng KALAHI mas magiging maunlad pa an gating bayan. Walang maiiwanan, lahat ay magkakaroon ng pagkakataong paunlarin ang kanyang sarili, makatulong sa kapwa at sa kanya kanyang lugar na kinabibilangan. Nagkaroon ng katuparan ang layunin ng KALAHI. Ang mabigyang kapangyarihan ang mamamayan, magkaroon ng maayos na pamamahala at maibsan ang kahirapan.

Sa ngayon, hindi kami na-prio sa pangatlong siklo ng KC NCDDP. Pero may boses na kami para ilapit sa iba’t-ibang ahensya ang mga problema na hindi napondohan ng KALAHI. Natuto na kaming gumawa ng project proposal at hindi na kami nangangamba na matengga na lang o mawalan ng saysay ang mga problema na natukoy at ginawaan ng dokumento ng aming mga boluntaryo. Sinisikap ko na palakasin ang loob ng aking mga kapwa bolunter, maging ng mga barangay opisyal na nawawalan ng pag asa dahil sa hindi kami na-prio. Pinagsisikapan ko na kahit wala kaming proyekto sa ngayon mula sa KALAHI, hindi doon natatapos ang aming ugnayan bilang volunteer, na marami pa rin kaming magagawa para sa barangay, at sa aming mga kabababayan. Ipinapaunawa ko sa kanila na ang pagiging bolunter ay walang limitasyon at walang sukatan. Basta nagmumula sa puso ang pagnanais na makapaglingkod.

Isa sa pinapangarap ko bilang isang lider na mayroon pang uusbong na panibagong lider magmula sa aking mga kapwa volunteer na magnanais na maglingkod ng walang kapalit para sa kapakanan ng aking mga kababayan. Lalo na at marami sa mga kabataan sa ngayon ang nakatambay lamang at walang ginagawa. Pangarap ko na mahikayat sila at mabigyan ng pagkakataon na makilahok at sa kanila magsisimula ang mga lider na tapat, maaasahan, walang itinatago at may malasakit sa kapwa at sa bayan. Sinisikap kong gawing isang organisasyon ang mga bolunter sa komunidad, organisasyon na kaagapay ng lokal na pamahalaan sa pagpaplano, pagsasagawa, at pagmamasid ng mga isinasagawang proyekto. Organisasyon o samahan na magsisilbing daluyan ng mga tamang impormasyon mula sa lokal na pamahalaan patungo sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan. Samahan na uupo sa Barangay Development Council o sa Municipal Development Council upang idulog ang mga problema ng aking mga kababayan. Samahan na magsisilbing tulay tungo sa pagbabago.


This is one in the stories in the series of “Building CDD Champs” stories of transformation by Kalahi CIDSS Stakeholders. This story was written by Miss Linelyn Juanzo, a Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson of Brgy. Talisay in the town of Calatrava in the province of Romblon.


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Kapit-Bisig Para sa Bayan: Hamon sa mga Bagong Bayani


Sa ika 15-17 ng Agosto, magtatagpo ang ilang mga community volunteers ng Mindoro, Marinduque at Concepcion, Romblon para sa kauna-unahang pagtitipon ng mga Community Volunteers ng KALAHI-CIDSS sa rehiyong MiMaRoPa.

Tampok sa dalawang araw na gawain na may tema na “Kapit-Bisig Para Sa Bayan: Hamon sa mga Bagong Bayani” ay ang bahaginan ng mga volunteers ng kanilang mga kwentong bayanihan sa KALAHI-CIDSS, mapalalim ang kanilang kaalaman at adbokasiya sa CDD sa pamamagitan ng bahaginan, pakikilahok sa patimpalak, at pakikinig sa mga BAYANI KA! Champions at mga panauhin.

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Small problems, big heroes: Community Organizing in Magdiwang, Romblon

In the core of the Philippine culture is the value of unity and togetherness best exhibited in the practice of bayanihan.

The term bayanihan means helping one’s neighbor to make a difficult task less demanding. Most of the time it is featured as a group of men transporting a bahay-kubo, the traditional Filipino house, on their shoulders. The act is a demonstration of a community spirit, an admirable display of solidarity and teamwork, traits that are now threatened towards extinction.

Such feats are now uncommon. Except in the remote municipality of Magdiwang, Romblon.

Reviving the lost culture of bayanihan

Found in the heart of the Philippine archipelago is the crescent-shaped Sibuyan Island.

Famous for its rich natural biodiversity and scenic landscapes, Sibuyan Island is a pearl in the seas of Romblon province. Aside from this, the island became more prominent in the mountaineering community for the perilously challenging climb of Mt. Guiting-Guiting.

This abundance in natural wonders parallels the island’s wealth of big-hearted people.

In Magdiwang, one of the three municipalities in the island, is where the timeworn value of bayanihan is currently in revival. Residents have started to work together in resolving issues that affects their communities and barangays.

Organizing communities, organizing change

Magdiwang is one of the three municipalities of Sibuyan Island and is the first in the region of MIMAROPA to apply Community Organizing as part of the KALAHI-CIDSS program.

KALAHI-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is one of the core poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Through the program, communities are granted the resources and the responsibility over planning, implementing and maintaining sub-projects that address their needs. In employing the community organizing approach however, communities are at liberty to solve their problems with their own resources, skills and creativity through the guidance of Community Empowerment Facilitators (CEFs).

To provide the necessary assistance and support, CEFs immerse themselves in the communities to know their culture and lifestyle. They visit residents and engage them in conversations, participate in community activities and stay with them in their homes.

Through this, CEFs get a glimpse of the people’s daily struggles and the problems that cause their hardships. After identifying their problem, the CEFs’ goal is to empower the residents and motivate them to act.

A boat ride to safety

In barangay Jao-Asan, residents have to cross a river to reach the town proper. Though perfectly safe in the summer when the water barely reaches their knees, the river swells and reaches at least 10 feet high when the rainy season comes. The risks of river crossing in these times hinder the transportation of their farm produce and deter residents from going to work and students from going to school.

Another problem the residents identified is the worn-out bridge that has already caused accidents. Several children and a carabao have fallen from the bridge and were injured.

To address this, residents of Sitio Agsalay collected contributions from each household and solicited aid for the construction of a boat and the renovation of the old bridge.

According to Janice Fabila, one of the volunteers, “maraming taon ang lumipas ng hindi napapansin at naaayos ang aming suliranin (many years have passed and our problems are ignored and were never remedied)”.

The boat, operated through a pulley system since it would be difficult to row through the strong river current, would transport residents across the river. Through their efforts, the old bridge was also reconstructed and now offers safe passage for the residents, children, animals and even motorcycles.

During the blessing of these community projects on May 5, 2016, the municipal Mayor Hon. Guillermo Rocha acknowledged the efforts of the community and committed to fixing the bridge and giving the community a hundred meter hanging bridge to replace the boat that would amount to at least P2.5 million as estimated by the Technical Facilitator of the Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinating Team of Magdiwang.

photo 1 jao asan boat

Safe crossing. Children ride the boat across the river while their mothers wait on the other side

On the road to change

In Barangay Dulangan, a different set of challenges were met with a different set of solutions but with the same eagerness for change.

A staggering one hundred twenty people including Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries and Indigenous People worked together in creating a road from what used to be a narrow man-made trail. The nearly 150 m. road was done in three 2-hour periods during Saturdays.

“Parang mga langgam yung mga nagtatrabaho noon (They were like ants when they were working)”, Helen Marin, one of the volunteers who led the bayanihan, said jokingly as she explained how the people worked together, some hauling rocks, sand and gravel while others cleaned the path.

About 42 households will directly benefit from the road, including a family with a physically disabled child who had previously dealt with difficulties in transportation.

“Marami ng nakakapasok na mga nagtitinda at nakakapagbaba ng mga ani galing sa bukid (Many sellers can go inside and harvests can be brought down from farms)”, said Helen.

The once narrow trail now have the capacity for a tricycle that will carry their farm produce.

The clearing of several parts of their road in Sitio Franco that were buried in small-scale landslides because of Typhoon Nona were also undertaken by the affected barangay residents and thus solving their problems in transportation.

In the process, they also dug up canals in the side of the road which was needed to keep water from accumulating in the middle.

Recognizing the determination of the community, the concreting of the road was included in the municipality’s Annual Investment Plan for 2017, allotting P200,000 for its construction.

The barangay is also cut across in several places by stretches of rivers and the residents found difficulty in crossing some parts especially when they have to transport goods to the town and vice versa.

In response to this dilemma, they have decided to construct a temporary spillway.

The 40 m. spill way was built in 2 hours by at least 80 residents composed of men, women and children, who hauled large rocks and created a form of bridge that connects the roads across each river bank.

In the approaching rainy season, the temporary spillway is in danger of being carried away by strong river currents but their hard work will not go to waste. This effort has earned them the promise of a P1.6 M concrete spillway to be included in the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) program.

photo 6 dulangan road clearing

Vehicles pass without difficulty on newly cleared road of Sitio Franco

Involving the youth

When typhoon Nona struck, it brought destruction to the communities in the municipality. This included the basketball court of Barangay Poblacion.

Ruined and covered in sand, the youth were unable to use it and resorted to computer games and other unhealthy activities.

Until a small group of teenagers decided to organize a clean-up and solicited sports equipment from the local officials who were generous enough to heed their request.

“Di kami makapaniwala na nakausap namin si SB Ado Villanueva at Kagawad Noriel Rollon para sa pangangailangan naming mga kabataan.  Natuto kaming makipag-usap sa mga taong may katungkulan sa gobyerno. (We can’t believe that we can talk to the SB and Kagawad for the needs of the youth. We learned to talk to people in the government)”, one of the youngsters said.

It was also in this Barangay where the mothers were mobilized to conduct a community clean-up against dengue after a recent outbreak of the disease in January.

According to them, this was the very first time that they had a bayanihan. But the experience was both challenging and enlightening for both the mothers and the youth.

“Ngayon lang namin na-realize na may magagawa pala kami para makatulong sa komunidad. Malaking bagay pala talaga pag nagkaka-isa (It is only now that we realize that we can do something for our community. Unity is really very important),” reflected one of the mothers.

photo 10 poblacion basketball court

Fly high. The youth of Brgy. Poblacion enjoy a ballgame after their clean-up

A gathering place for IPs

The lack of meeting or gathering place has been the problem of the women of Barangay Ipil for months. As beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) for IPs, they needed an area where they are able to meet and hold activities.

They decided to take action and build a temporary cluster house, a small bahay kubo made of wood and indigenous materials.

The cluster house was constructed with the help of the women’s husbands. “Tuwing araw ng lingo pumupunta kaming lahat dito kasama ang mga asawa namin (On Sundays we go here with our husbands), said Cristina Ruado, the Parent Leader of the MCCT IPs.

While their husbands created the foundation, the women were tasked to weave coconut leaves for the roof.

All the materials used were from each of the members who were tasked in the beginning of their project, therefore minimizing their expenses. The barangay showed their support by lending them the land where the temporary cluster house is now erected.

The task was completed in four weeks even though the women were at first unsure whether they would be able to convince their husbands to help.

The experience was definitely a memorable one for the women and their husbands. “Habang nagtatrabaho, masaya kami, kahit mainit nagkekwentuhan kami ng masasaya (We were happy while working, even though it’s hot, we chat about happy things)”, recalls Leticia Burac, one of the volunteers.

photo 11 tribal center blessing

The women of Brgy. Ipil and Kalahi-CIDSS staff share a meal during the blessing of their cluster house (Photo from ACT Magdiwang)

Bayanis on the rise

These are only a few of the bayanihans of the residents of Magdiwang.

In Barangay Agutay, they are planning to install street lights and construct a basketball court. Negotiations with the governor are ongoing for an irrigation system for the farmers of Barangay Ambulong.

Their efforts are also acknowledged by the local government. Barangay Tampayan was given two jetmatic pumps from the LGU and four comfort room units from the Rural Health Unit for the benefit of more than one hundred residents.

It has been common practice that small problems in society are ignored or blamed to the government’s incompetence. But in the Municipality of Magdiwang, people have taken responsibility for their communities, proving that with unity, they are able solve problems that have long burdened them. With their own hands and the spirit of bayanihan, they have accomplished goals that at first seemed impossible.

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