Archive | Kalahi CIDSS

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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How Community-Driven Development Flourished in a Small Town– The Calatrava’s Kalahi-CIDSS Journey

Calatrava is one of the partner Local Government Units of DSWD Kalahi CIDSS in MIMAROPA. They have implemented the program since 2012 under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Currently, the municipality has finished the Cycle three and Cycle 4 milestone 7 of the CEAC process implementation of DSWD Kalahi CIDSS under Community-Driven Development Program (KC NCDDP).

 

The Local Government Unit of Calatrava, saw community-driven development (CDD) as an opportunity to propel the development in their little municipality. Recognizing CDD as the suitable governance strategy towards inclusive community growth in Calatrava, the LGU supported the program beyond what is expected from a 5th class municipality. This commendable dedication to service and partnership of the LGU with the DSWD and other national program agencies have brought the town it’s well-deserved recognitions and praises.

Where it all started

From 2012, the Municipality of Calatrava was one of the randomly selected municipalities to implement the DSWD Kalahi CIDSS program under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Former Mayor Hon. Bong Fabella noted how the process of Kalahi CIDSS was new and very different from the standard LGU governance strategy that they used in Calatrava before.

Still testing the water, the communities in Calatrava, with the guidance of the LGU and staff from Kalahi CIDSS implemented the first cycle of the program. The community has already felt a sense of project ownership even though it is their first time implementing a project, let alone using the Community-Driven Development Strategy.

The municipality of Calatrava finished the implementation of DSWD Kalahi CIDSS under MCC in 2014.  As they transitioned to DSWD Kalahi CIDSS under NCDDP, the volunteerism spirit of the Calatravans continued to yield its gains from the previous implementation of MCC. The Barangay Assembly participation never went lower than the 80% Kalahi CIDSS requirement and the participation of the IPs, women, and Pantawid beneficiaries are always above 50%. This just shows how well-represented the marginalized sectors are during community assemblies.

KC-NCDDP Cycle 1 to Cycle 4 Data on Community Participation

Cycle Household Participation Women’s Participation Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries Participation IPs
1 85.14% 63.66% 66.54% 63.39%
2 85.24% 64.88% 69.26% 68.16%
3 83.40% 60% 72.81% 71.33%
4 82.88% 59.62% 74.92% 78.55%

Source: geotagging desktop-app

A hand that is always there to help

The LGU of Calatrava always provides technical assistance and support to the communities as they implement the Kalahi CIDSS project. All community Sub-Projects in Calatrava from Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 have passed the Sustainability Evaluation Tests (SET) with an average of 4.48. This means that all the projects are still in very good condition during the conduct of SET and are being effectively sustained by the formed O and M groups with the help from the barangay local government unit. The BLGU have even allocated 1% of their annual 20% development fund for the sub-project sustainability cost of the Kalahi CIDSS projects. The sub-projects underwent regular monitoring and inspection from the Municipal Engineering Office together with the Kalahi CIDSS community volunteers to ensure that the sub-projects meet the infrastructure standards of the municipality.

With this, the town of Calatrava has received numerous commendations from DSWD MIMAROPA including Model LGUs implementing Kalahi CIDSS in MIMAROPA, Kalahi CIDSS Best Municipality in Sub-Project Implementation, Two-time awardee of Best in Data Management, Awardee for Zero (0) Findings in Request for Fund Release, Best in Procurement with zero (0) findings in the No Objection Letter (NOL) documents.

The dedication and unwavering support of the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee (MIAC) to the community volunteers have earned the town of Calatrava these praises. Once the community has furnished the Request for Fund Release they forward it to the MIAC for review. During the MIAC technical review, the MIAC coach the community volunteers on resolving and preventing the technical findings. They also provide tips and techniques to the community volunteers on how they could improve the crafting and presentation of their RFRs.

The LGU of Calatrava has seen the effectiveness of using community-driven development in involving the people to active community growth. As Linelyn Juanzon, one of the Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer from Calatrava said the people no longer shrug or passively accept projects proposed or given to them, they now take part in the decision making and planning on which projects they believe are the deem necessity of their community. The timid day care worker before is now one of the community volunteers who helps in mobilizing her community towards their community’s development.

The notable transformation of the people from merely recipients of projects to active participants in Calatrava’s trailblazing community development initiative has been noteworthy to the LGU of Calatrava which served as the epiphany to them on finally taking the steps of incorporating the community-driven development approach into their governance strategy. The current Mayor of Calatrava, Hon. Marietta Babera noted this progression that has happened in their town and is currently planning to conduct a learning visit to one of the towns in MIMAROPA that has embraced and institutionalized the process of Community-Driven Development—the Town of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. Mayor Babera wants to ensure that their transition to CDD process will be as smooth as that of Sablayan. This visit would be their first step in institutionalizing the CDD process in Calatrava.

LGU’s Innovations in DSWD Kalahi CIDSS program implementation

One of the innovations contributed by the town of Calatrava, in order to effectively implement the Kalahi CIDSS program is the provision of higher cash counterpart than that of the program’s requirement. From their implementation of Kalahi CIDSS MCC to Kalahi CIDSS NCDDP, the town of Calatrava never fails to provide more than 30% of the total project cost.  The provision of the said cost enabled the town of Calatrava to prioritize more barangays in sub-project implementation as they believe that all the sub-projects proposed during the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum are necessities of the communities. It is also a way of boosting the morale of the community volunteers to ensure that their flame of volunteerism is still ablaze. Each BLGU, on the other hand, provide their in-kind counterpart through the purchase of gravel and sand, warehouse, and other construction support.

KC MCC and KC NCDDP Funding and Local Cash Counterparts provided by LGU

Fund Source Total Cost KC Fund Local Counterpart
KC-MCC  

14,145,479.99

 

9,601,114.39

 

4,544,365.60

 KC-NCDDP  

33,534,176.00

 

 

21,706,800.00

 

11,827,376.00

Source: geotagging web-app

More so, the LGU’s hiring of full-time Municipal Coordinating Team allowed the Calatrava to religiously follow the program implementation timeline because these staff are dedicated to monitor, do parallel implementation, and provide support to the Area Coordinating Team of Kalahi CIDSS in Calatrava. This practice also ensured that the LGU are always updated and informed on the real-time status of the Kalahi CIDSS program implementation.

 

Result of the LGU’s implementation of DSWD Kalahi CIDSS program

The constituents of Calatrava expressed improved confidence in community participation because they have learnt that their opinions and insights mattered in addressing issues and problems in their barangays.  Having experienced the KC process that promoted transparency and accountability, they have built more trust to the LGU and expects that the same (CDD) process be used in the future projects (Municipal Talakayan FGD 2016).

The municipality has a population of 11,477 and a total of 1,459 target household beneficiaries in its seven (7) barangays. For the three (3) RS cycles of MCC, nine (9) sub-projects were delivered to the communities and 1 sub-project from incentive grant, which improved the lives of 2,802 households. Under the KC-NCDDP, fourteen (14) sub-projects were funded in 4 cycles. Eight (8) of these were already completed. Six (6) remaining sub-projects physical accomplishment as to date range from 62% – 98% wherein the Municipality targeted to finish all the implemented sub-projects by end of February 2018 until March 2018. The first two (2) cycles target 1,459 household beneficiaries.

The spirit of volunteerism was uplifted in the Municipality of Calatrava as 683 community volunteers were mobilized to conduct various activities under KC Being chosen by the community as the main project implementers of the program, the community volunteers were expected to showcase their passion and their unwavering service to their community. Many volunteers have gone beyond what is expected of them and therefore they serve as a pool of potential future leaders in Calatrava. Being said, twenty (20) community volunteers have been barangay councilors in Calatrava. Also, many of them were employed by their barangays as barangay treasurers, barangay health workers, or barangay secretaries because the BLGU recognized their leadership potential and capabilities.

The formation of the operation and maintenance groups with the guidance and supervision of the LGUs have helped the community to effectively organize and mobilize the community in participation and bayanihan. Bayanihan is a Filipino culture that has been practiced less and less in the communities. As Kalahi CIDSS revived the spirit of bayanihan through a day non-paid labor, the LGU of Calatrava has shown to their constituents that the practice should be revived and strengthened in their town. One notable instance of this is when the LGU started clearing the lot where the project will be placed and soon afterwards the people followed.

Presently, the LGU has adopted the process of participatory situational analysis of the Kalahi CIDSS process during their crafting of the annual comprehensive development plan. Ensuring that all the sectors, emphasizing the presence of the marginalized ones, are being well-represented.

As one of the advocates and champion of community-driven development, Mayor Marieta Babera envisions the town of Calatrava to continually progress together with its empowered citizens who steer the town towards their desired development. She also influences the other Local Chief Executives of MIMAROPA to provide their utmost support to the Kalahi CIDSS program by exemplifying how the people in the town of Calatrava have became active agents of development during the Local Chief Executives Fora and during Regional Program Review and Evaluation Workshops.

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The Town That Made CDD Institutionalization a Reality– Sablayan

Nature enthusiasts and adventurers at heart may know this town in Southern Luzon as home to the prestigious Apo Reef, the second largest contiguous reef collection next to Australia’s the Great Barrier Reef. Lies between the Mountain Rages of Iglit and the West Philippine Sea, the wonder-filled town of Sablayan is not only known for its natural resources, but it is also known to be the first in MIMAROPA to adopt the process of Community-Driven Development (CDD) in their local governance strategy.

Sablayan is home to various ethnic and indigenous groups in the country which includes migrant Ilocanos, Cebuanos, and Visayans and the native Alangan Mangyans of Mindoro. Agriculture is the primary source of income of the people. The waters of Sablayan is home to massive schools of tuna fish and now it is competing with General Santos City as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

Despite being a first-class municipality, Sablayan has a high poverty incidence compared to its neighboring towns. This was the reason why it was selected to implement the first leg of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS under KKB: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KKB) in 2003. The communities in the town built a total of ten projects in the span of seven (7) years.

Later in 2011, the town also received funding from DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS under the Millennium Challenge Corporation Makamasang Tugon. It was a bonus one-year modality for municipalities that implemented the KKB.

The participation rate of the community volunteers from the two mentioned modalities of Kalahi CIDSS averaged 70-80% per cycle. Nevertheless, Dionisio Recente, one of the first community volunteers from Brgy Batong Buhay admitted that it was never easy to build the trust and encourage the people to attend the community assemblies. “Nagpapa raffle ang barangay noon para lang mahikayat ang mga tao na dumalo kasi kung walang mga ganoong pakulo ay nako, paniguradong kami kaming mga volunteer lang rin ang andun sa BA [The barangay would had raffle draws to encourage the attendance of the people because without those strategies, only the community volunteers will attend the BA.]”  enthused Dionisio.

These strategies, nevertheless, was effective as there has been a growth on people’s participation in the Kalahi CIDSS program. Soon, there are no more raffle draws to entice the people and yet they continually attended the Barangay Assemblies.  Salvador Quinio, a resident of Barangay San Agustin said “Nakita namin yung kagandahan ng pag punta sa mga patawag ng barangay na pulong kasi napapakinggan yung mga pangangailangan namin at pag sinuswerte ay nakakakuha ng project para sa aming barangay.”

The LGU found the acceptance of the community to participatory development process as noteworthy. Municipal Councilor of Sablayan Hon. Walter B. Marquez saw how the LGU realized the true meaning of participative governance when they witnessed how the community worked hand-in-hand with the LGU in implementing the Kalahi-CIDSS project.

Being a Community Volunteer himself before venturing politics, he saw how the CDD strategy unites the people to improve their community by addressing their basic needs.  “Ang LGU ay katuwang ng mga tao sa pag-unlad. Mas mapapaganda ang pag hahatid ng serbisyo sa mga tao kung aktibo silang nakikilahok para masabi kung ano ang pangangailangan talga ng kanilang barangay, at ganoon na nga ang nangyari sa Sablayan.” [LGU is partner of the people in development. The delivery of the service to the people will be better if they will actively participate and voice out the needs in their barangay, and that is what happened in Sablayan.] Said Hon. Marquez.

The LGU of Sablayan broadened their experiences and learning on participative governance from their implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS. In order to sustain these gains, Sablayan issued series of executive orders and legislations anchored in the principle of PTAS (participation, transparency, accountability, and sustainability) principle such as the following:

  • SPECIAL ORDINANCE 2014-006: “ An ordinance institutionalizing strategy for rural development, strengthening volunteerism and for other purposes in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.”

 

  • General Ordinance 2015 GO007: “Ordinance mandating all contractors that will undertake any government projects within the territorial jurisdiction of Sablayan, should hire 40% of their labor requirements from Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 2014-002

“Amending Municipal Development Council (MDC) composition” Community Volunteers represented in Local Special Bodies, BDC and MDC.

 

  • ANNUAL BUDGET ORDINANCE

“Institutionalizing the 50% of 20 % MDF to Municipal Community Driven-Development Project since 2011 up to present.”

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2015- 004

“Creating and organizing the Local Project Monitoring Committee (LPMC) in the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.” Includes membership of the Community Volunteers

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2011- 02

“An order mandating the establishment of a Citizens’ Charter for the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro and creating the steering committee and task force for the purpose.”

 

More so, the municipality enacted supportive policies to prioritize the empowerment of the marginalized groups to ensure the inclusion and protection of the marginalized groups. Sablayan also institutionalized IP representation in local legislative councils (Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Barangay, Local Special Bodies).

They also recognized transparency and accountability as salient points to development effectiveness. It has established accountability mechanisms within the systems of the MLGU such as the implementation of Full Disclosure Policy and establishment of a Citizens’ Charter for the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro and creating the steering committee and task force for the purpose (Executive Order No. 2011- 02 and Ordinance Approving the Citizens’ Charter of the Municipality of Sablayan).

To further show transparency and accountability in the local governance, they created the Publication Unit under the Office of the Municipal Mayor (Executive Order No. 2011- 008). The MLGU is now operating the Tinig ng Bayan Radio Program (DWME 103.3 Radyo Natin) and publishes a Quarterly Newsletter. Sablayan has also implemented Seal of Good Barangay Governance (SGBG) 2015 through Executive Order No. 2015- 003.

“Arbor Day” is also institutionalized wherein Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries planted 36,000 coconut seedlings /trees and 60,000 malunggay branches for 3 years. The beneficiaries planted the seedlings in order to have livelihood opportunities aside from the aid they acquire from the government. Renan Bergornia, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary and Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer said that the Arbor Day will not only help them at present but will also benefit the future generations to come.

Through all these initiatives, the Municipality of Sablayan has raised the standards in improved local governance high for the other municipalities in Occidental Mindoro. They were granted various recognition and awards: Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, Seal of Good Housekeeping, Seal of Disaster Preparedness, Excellent Anti-Red Tape Act – Report Card Survey, Most Supportive LGU (DSWD), Kahanga-Hangang Bayan, Top 7 Government Efficiency Award, and Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping.

 

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Pagsaulog 2018: A Fusion of Culture, Volunteerism and Collective Action

Malate, Manila—The 2nd National Community Volunteers’ Congress and 4th National Bayani Ka Awards was successfully conducted last October 2-4, 2018 in Cebu City. It was attended by at least 260 community volunteers of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS and Local Government Unit (LGU) officials from across the country. The event’s theme is “Pagsaulog” a Visayan word which means festivity or celebration. This occasion celebrated the the noteworthy contribution of the Community Volunteers towards the success of the Kalahi-CIDSS program. More so, the occasion hailed the exemplary Kalahi-CIDSS Operation and Maintenance (O&M) groups that were awarded as “Bayani” during each region’s Regional Bayani Ka! Awards. These groups were awarded the prestigious Bayani Ka Award because of their remarkable ways of mobilizing their communities towards a collective community action.

The participants were welcomed by DSWD Field Office 7 Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO) Shalaine Lucero. ARDO Lucero mentioned in her speech the importance of the Community Volunteers in Kalahi-CIDSS. “Walang Kalahi-CIDSS kung wala ang mga masisipag na community volunteers” [There is no Kalahi-CIDSS without the industrious Community Volunteers]. ARDO Shalaine’s speech was followed by the presentation of the current state of the Kalahi-CIDSS program by the National Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Miss Abegail dela Cruz. This presentation was proceeded with the Communication Specialist Miss Maria Rosario Lagman’s presentation of the current status of Volunteerism in the Philippines. To conclude the first day of the activity, the participants were pampered with free massage and free nail care services courtesy of DSWD Field Office 7.

On the second day, the delegates were divided into three groups to visit the municipalities of Moalboal, Pinamungajan, and Dalaguete in Cebu. The field visit was conducted to serve as an avenue of exchange of knowledge between the community volunteers from the three visited Kalahi-CIDSS municipalities and the delegates of the National Community Volunteers’ Congress.

While the volunteers were on immersion, the LGU officials had an executive meeting with the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee of their visited municipalities. They shared their ideas and strategies on how Community-Driven Development (CDD) could be institutionalized in their respective municipalities.

The volunteers had sessions where they shared their knowledge on their project implementation techniques. They also had discussions about the opportunities given to them because of their involvement with the Kalahi-CIDSS program. Before returning to Cebu City to complete their field visit, the participants went to different sub-project sites in their visited municipalities.

On the last day of the activity, the participants had an open forum on their field immersion with the Community Volunteers from Cebu. The participants shared their learning and their insights. They also committed to share these learning and insights to their co-volunteers once they return to their communities.

In the evening of the last day of Pagsaulog2018, the notable volunteer groups were hailed and honored on the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards. Almost 106 volunteer groups from nine award categories were honored. ###

 

 

The SAMAMAKAY Organization from Torrijos Marinduque accepts their development incentive prize as one of the winners under the Gender and Development category during the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards

 

The Sitio Calusa Community Water Tank Sanitation Association from Cagayancillo, Palawan (as represented by their mayor Hon. Lourde Lanoy) receives their award as one of the winners under the Indegenous People’s Welfare category during the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards

 

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DSWD MIMAROPA hosts Basic DRRM-CCA Concepts and Legal Frameworks and Mainstreaming DRR-CCA in the CEAC Process Training of Trainers

Puerto Princesa City Palawan— The regional technical specialists from Regions MIMAROPA, V, VI, and VII gathered for a five-day training seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management – CCA last September 9-15, 2018 at Citystate Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa City Palawan.

The said training was hosted by DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS MIMAROPA and was attended by each of the region’s technical specialist starting from the regional community development specialist (RCDS), regional community infrastructure specialist (RCIS), regional financial analyst (RFA), regional capability building specialist (RCBS), and regional monitoring and evaluation specialist (RMES).

The first day of the training focused on the discussion on basic DRR-CCA concepts and topics on climate change. On the next day, the participants were introduced to the laws governing the DRR in the Philippines and further discussion on impact of climate change in the country on topics about Climate Change and impact to the environment and the communities. In the afternoon, the participants were taught how to create community basemap using the software QGIS.

On the third day, the participants were taught to use the InaSAFE feature of the QGIS software. This feature allowed the translation of data into a report. It was followed by the discussion of Dr. Jake Tio on Mainstreaming DRR in the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) and the discussion of Ms. Fatima Marifosque on incorporating the DRR in Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA).

The participants went on an educational tour within the Puerto Princesa City wherein they conducted a teaching demonstration on all the concepts they were taught on the duration of the training. To conclude the training, the participants shared their thoughts on how to better incorporate DRR-CCA in the CEAC Cycle.

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Building Hope One Library at a Time

Paluan, Oriental Mindoro – Located in the northern part of the Mindoro region, this municipality is home to over 3,500 people of diverse ethnoliguistic tribes dominantly of Hanonoo Mangyan origin.

Despite its peaceful terrain, the municipality experienced gun violence in this once peaceful town due to political turmoil.

However, efforts poured in the recent years by the government and civic organizations contributed much to its gradual decline in the recent years.

With a violent past shadowing this fifth class municipality, people here are slowly turning their focus on education with high hopes on the younger generation to shed brighter light and eventually lift them from poverty.

“The children of Paluan have all the equal potentials of becoming great leaders and excellent professionals,” Rolando Blanes said. A native son of Paluan, he chose to serve his own people at his residence in barangay Toon as a teacher for over two decades before promoted to principal in adjacent barangay Harrison in 2011.

 

Library of hope

Having spent nearly half of his life in Paluan public schools, Blanes was a witness to the plight of children especially in the town’s outskirts.

Harrison Elementary School where he is head, is the second largest school in Paluan with close to 200 students. It caters to children not only from Harrison but from the neighboring barangays of Poblacion and sitio Tumawan as well.

Despite having more than half of its students as recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Harrision Elementary School has turned into one of Paluan’s top performing schools- even representing the province in many competitions.

It has, however, one problem – children in the said school never saw a library.

“We know what a library is but we never get to experience having one,” Grade 5 student Jeremiah Bulda said in vernacular.

The establishment of a two-unit building intended for a library and a clinic was almost close to realization last 2013.

Under the Kapit-bisig Laban sa  Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), Paluan was granted  a total of over P2 million to implement infrastructure projects from 2015 to this year.

 

However, the building proposal did not reach the priority cut-off point and was shelved.

The Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which anchors on community empowerment and grassroots approach in implementing its projects.

“We were a little saddened because the community was pushing for it,” Blanes said. In a series of consultation, the community even agreed on the site and vowed to help in its construction, he added.

However, Paluan was able to receive a blessing early this year as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will be funding proposals to build educational institutions.

Two projects in Paluan were given grants: one is the two-unit building in Harrision Elementary School and a Day Care Center in Brgy. Toon.

“With the library, we can truly open more doors of learning through books and equip our children the knowledge they can use in the future. After all, our hopes of a better Paluan lies in our children,” Grade 4 teacher Archie Pre stated.

Once fully furnished, the clinic and library will be open not only to Harrison Elementary School students but to nearby schools and the community as well, according to Blanes.

 

Basic necessity

In nearby Brgy.Toon, similar feelings of euphoria swept a small community on learning they will no longer use a dilapidated stage as a classroom soon. They, too, have proposed this project under the Millennium Challenge Coorporation funding of  Kalahi-CIDSS but did not also make the cut.

Day Care teacher Leonora Anting, 26, described it as a “very big blessing” to the community she has served for quite a few years.

Like Blanes, Anting opted to serve her own community despite a meagre salary of P3,000 a month. She sewed basic education in Toon as a kindergarten teacher for three years before becoming a day care teacher, now on her second year.

Typically, a Day Care classroom consists of a lot of visual materials posted across the four walls such as color charts, animated alphabets and animals, or attendance charts. But this is not the picture in this barangay.

Anting said classes were once held in a condemned building before it was moved in a narrow classroom shared with the kindergarten. This year, they transferred to the small stage of Toon Elementary School with only a roof and a wall on one side of the building separating the users from the elements, but it is the only space available.

Without the 2-by-3 foot plain chalk board, it looked like a scene from a children’s mini play tea party.

Carmencita de Lara, 64, knew very well the hardship of getting basic education here.

“Classes are cancelled even if it only drizzles a little because the wind sprays rain on the children,” de Lara lamented.

On school days, she checks on the weather before accompanying her granddaughter Kristel, 4, walking 500 meters to school as she has done for the past six years. Kristel is her sixth grandchild to escort going to the very same Day Care institution.

De Lara said she made it a commitment to see her grandchildren attend and finish school.

“Right now, it is a basic necessity. If they will do well in school, they have better chances of staying out of poverty like where we are,” she said.

Anting said the construction of the Day Care Centre would not only provide a conducive environment for learning but will entice more children to enroll. As of this writing, Toon Day Care Centre has 23 enrollees.

The two projects in Paluan were selected based on the local government unit’s willingness to provide a financial counterpart. These will be implemented using the process of the Kalahi-CIDSS Project whereas the local government unit and the community members will provide their counterpart through finance or labor. The community members will also lead in its implementation including the preparation of program of works, procurement of materials, disbursement of funds, monitoring and evaluation, among others.

The DFAT has allotted P1.088 million for the two-unit clinic and library building in Harrision and over P586,000 for Toon.

Like Anting, Blanes banks his hopes on the younger generation to get the most of education as he says could be people’s key to unshackle themselves from ignorance and poverty.

“As they say knowledge is power and one thing is for sure, knowledge from education can never be stolen,” Blanes said with a smile.

 

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Pangarap ng Mahirap- isang tula mula sa CV ng DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Pangarap ng Mahirap

 

Pusong palaban, grupong maaasahan

Tayo’y malalapitan ng ating kababayan

Ang mahihirap ay ating prayoridad

Sila ay i-aahon at bibigyan ng seguridad

 

Kalahi CIDSS ano ng aba io

Tanong ng mamamayang tila nalilito

Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan

Ito ang kailangan ng ating kababayan

 

Kapatid nating mahihirap, layunin nating iangat

Alam nating lahat ito’y kanilang pangarap

Tayo’y maging tulay upang ito ay maabot

Ng ating kapatid na kapos at lugmok

 

Lugmok sa Kahirapan, kay hirap takas an

Ngunit kung ang mamamayan ay magtutulungan

Ang nasabing pagdarahop ay madaling maibsan

Palakasin, paunalrin, payamanin ang kanilang kakayahan

###

Ito ay isa sa mga tulang isinulat ng mga Community Volunteer ng DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS noong nakaraang Community Volunteer’s Congress taong 2017. Ang mga Community Volunteer ng DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS ay hinihikayat na ipahayag ang kanilang mga karanasan at mga natutuhang aral sa malikhaing pamamaraan gaya ng pag sulat ng mga tula.

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